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Letter from Karen of Georgia
Thank you for the valuable information on IEP's and how to prepare for the meetings. My daughter (Jennie age 8) had encephalitis in Jan. 1996. Since that time she has acquired brain injury and seizures and is classified OHI. Her IEP's have been poorly written. We have experienced ALL of the nightmares you describe. They say "Jennie is progressing nicely" when in fact she will be in 3rd grade next year and is testing at the 1st grade level. She made 4 (four) months of progress in 2 (two) school years.
I thought I was crazy (or at least paranoid) until I used the techniques in your article "Understanding Tests and Measurements" to graph out Jennie's progress (or rather lack of it). One thing I have in my favor when I go to her IEP meeting next week is that I have not fired off the angry letters which I have often wanted to write.
The special ed. administrator of my daughter's program has used every technique you describe to keep us on the defensive, to make us feel as if we are doing something wrong. I have a taped conversation with her where she states "Karen you have been difficult from the beginning and you know it". I thought I had been cooperative! When I asked her to explain she would not/did not/could not.
My child's IEP is written subjectively, Jennie will do ____ task ___ % of the time based on teacher observation! NO MORE. This IEP will be written to meet the needs of my child.
Well, I have rambled on. I just wanted to let you know that when I found your website last night I felt as if I had hit the lottery. BINGO - the information I needed to make an informed decision about my daughter's education and not just continue to sit at the IEP table, nod and sign.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.