Monday, 18 April 2011

The IEP Meeting

I had blogged about Autism Winnipeg a couple of weeks ago, and how the creator of the Autism Winnipeg Facebook page met up with me to talk about Autism Winnipeg.  Instead of discussing it, she insisted on talking to me about Dayton, and wanted to prepare me for Dayton's upcoming IEP meeting which would be taking place a few days after our talk.  Her pep talk helped immensely, and I took her advice literally:  "I am Teflon!"  Acknowledge the school's remarks and deflect right back at them.  Teflon.

Armed with Marni's pep talk and her image of Teflon, off I went to the Dayton's IEP meeting along with our CFS social worker, Brenda, who has been involved in our family strictly to advocate for Dayton's rights and education in the St. James School Division.  Brenda's like a fire cracker, and I felt confident walking in with her along with Diana, Dayton's social worker for Children With Special Needs And Disabilities.

When we enter the board room, we are met by the school division's special needs co-ordinator.  This will be the first time she'd sit it on any of Dayton's IEP meetings, thanks to to fire cracker social worker from CFS.  Somehow, her word carries more weight than mine.  There's also the school division's child psychologist, again, her first time involved in Dayton's IEP meeting as well.  The Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist are not available for the meeting.  Surprise, surprise!  The Occupational Therapist has only observed Dayton's classroom once, and the Speech Therapist has not yet seen Dayton, as far as I know.  The principal, guidance counselor, Dayton's classroom teacher, his aid, and the resource teacher were also present.

The guidance counselor, a real piece of work, sits there with a fake smile on her face.  Her and I do not get along.  She seems to think I'm some how beneath her, and she thinks the same of my husband.  She's the one who's called CFS on myself and my husband claiming that Dayton has access to Glen's hunting rifle, and that Dayton was going to come to school and shoot them all on the first call (the principal had also called the police), and the second time she called CFS because Dayton had cut a picture of a man bent over and another man with a paddle tapping his tushy.  Apparently Dayton told them that "daddy paddles my butt" and they took him literally (who's autistic now?!).  This guidance counselor is also the one that sent me the email I had posted on the blog asking me whether or not I feed Dayton breakfast...  She thinks that Glen and I have created (and I quote) "a hostile environment" for Dayton at home by allowing him to play with water guns in the summer, Nerf guns all through the year and of course because Glen has played the "Call of Duty" video game with Dayton.  While I am not a big fan of guns, and may not agree with Dayton playing "Call of Duty" with his dad, it doesn't seem to matter where we go:  the play ground, the swimming pool, or his 6 year old buddy's house, we run into the same problem.  The boys and girls at the swimming pool are playing with water guns, the boys on the playground have brought out their toy guns and his 6 year old buddy plays "Call of Duty" all the time. 

Anyways, back to the IEP meeting...
That woman (the guidance counselor)!!!  Unbelievable!!!  Grrrrrrrr...  I guess there's just no pleasing me I suppose, but that woman!!!  Pardon the expression, but I hate it when people try to blow smoke up my butt!!!

Remember the email I had posted on the blog titled "Email to Ms. Cruella Deville, aka Dayton's Principal?"  The one where I said "I walked away from the meeting feeling as though no matter what I say, there will always be that unspoken insinuation that at the core of of Dayton's behavior problem is my parenting.  It has become exhausting to prove to your staff that I am a loving and caring parent, who is trying to instill values and morals in my child."  Well, I think the principal had a little talk with her staff perhaps, because the guidance counselor started the meeting by telling me that she wanted me to know that the entire staff of the school had the utmost respect for me as a parent.  That they were impressed with how I am always advocating for Dayton and that I refuse to give up on him.  I sat there stunned, first at her claim of respect, second at the thought of giving up on my son?!  How dare she voice that out loud? I'm not going to get into the profanities that had run through my head.  This woman sat across the table from me, with this big fake smile on her face, putting on a show for whom?  Certainly not me, she's made it abundantly clear that I am the scum at the bottom of her shoe by her past actions...  Actions speak louder than words she was uttering now.  I'm thinking she wanted to impress Brenda or the her boss from the school division?  Or had the principal forced her to complement me?  Either way, it was not genuine, and definitely not appreciated.  If you respect me, then you will treat me and my child with respect at all times, not just in front of your employers!!!  It took every ounce of strength not to reach across the table and wipe the smug grin off her face.

The show continued on with the guidance counselor telling us all how she thought about Dayton and I during her holidays...  While cleaning out her basement, she had come across a book she used to read to her children, and this children's book reminded her of Dayton and I, then proceeded to read it to us all.  Yes...  she read us all a children's book during the IEP meeting.  Every other IEP meeting we've had took half an hour, this IEP meeting took well over an hour and a half because the first half hour was spent on telling me how much the school staff respects me and reading a children's story...  I had to leave an hour into the meeting to meet Dayton's bus.  None of my questions about his IEP had been answered and the meeting turned into a non meeting as usual.  Again, nothing is accomplished.

Turns out after I left the meeting to pick up Dayton, the guidance counselor showed her true colors to everyone present when Diana had asked for a meeting of all professionals involved in Dayton's education.  The woman LOST it!  Brenda had called me later to let me know that she refused to attend this meeting, and that her face turned red and her lips turned white in anger.  Had it not been for the school child psychologist agreeing with Diana that this meeting is a good idea, the school would never had agreed to it.  Their meeting is next Thursday, and I'm a little stressed over it.  It's a meeting for professionals only, which means I am not to attend the meeting.  If I could be a fly on the wall for this meeting...  Brenda promised to put the guidance counselor in her place during this meeting if she is to exhibit the same type of behavior she had during the IEP meeting...

The guidance counselor also practically "sneered" at Brenda, telling her she knows I've been looking at other schools for Dayton.  Brenda  calmly gave the group an analogy of going to the same grocery store wanting to buy apples, but the store never carried apples.  The store than should not be upset with you for visiting the grocery store next door to purchase your apples, should it?  The St. James School Division only has one Occupational Therapist, and this therapist works for the whole division and works only part time, which is why Dayton has not received any therapy.  Same goes for the speech and the physical therapist.  If the school can not meet Dayton's needs, then we need to explore other schools, right?

Please consider a prayer for us. 
Consider yourselves hugged!!!



  1. Hi Lou,

    I read an article the other day about an autistic child receiving excellent support at Grant Park High school; I know Dayton isn't in high school yet, but I thought I'd mention it to you if you hadn't heard of it already.



  2. Hi Trish,

    Yes, I've heard the same thing about Grant Park High school. Unfortunately, Dayton's only in grade 3, so we've got a long way to go before we can go to Grant Park. Glenwood school I hear is the only interdivisional school in Winnipeg, and even then, Dayton has to be 12 to be eligible for the program. We've got another 4 loooong years to go :( I wish we had more autism programs accessible to our kiddos that were "interdivisional." It's the division borders that are killing our chances of a good education.