“I don’t get it…I did everything you said, the school still said no.”
I get this one often. Despite your best efforts and taking recommendations from other parents or advocates, you’re still being told no.
It’s going to happen, sooner or later you will be at an impasse in the IEP process.
Here’s the thing–the good guys don’t always win. Justice doesn’t always prevail. Life isn’t always fair. (I’m such a ray of sunshine today, no?)
I’ve always said–the IEP is not one document or one meeting, it’s a process. All that an advocate does for you is help you better understand how to navigate the process, how to translate your concerns into language that the district is more likely to respond to and ultimately achieve getting what your child needs.
Still, at every step in the process, you have a decision to make.
- “They still won’t put my parental concerns in full in the IEP.”
- “They still won’t agree to a 1:1.”
- “They still said no to ESY.”
You submitted your data, you have your ducks in a row…still they said no.
Yes, it happens and will happen. That’s just how it is. I don’t know why, I don’t ask why. I don’t feel that pondering the why of the situation helps me reach the ultimate goal of having the child’s needs met, so I don’t waste time on it.
The special education system is not fair. Not only is it not fair, I’d argue that the IEP process is stacked against parents.
But, it is what it is. This is the system we were given and the one we have to use. The best we can do is become the best we can at it, and work to change the system.
So what do you do? Well, you have choices to make. Hopefully you asked for it all on a PWN. Now it’s decision time…do you press on or walk away. You have options on your PWN/NOREP form–ask for another meeting, agree with it, file for mediation or due process.
Which are you going to choose? This is the part that really sucks….because no, life is not fair. Due Process cases, on the national level, are at about an even 50/50 split as far as parents prevailing half the time and districts prevailing half the time. Statistically if you file for Due Process, which is brutal, you have a 50/50 chance of winning. If you do prevail, chances are that your district will appeal.
Other options include moving or homeschooling or paying private tuition yourself. None of which are easy options. I know one Mom who appealed to a rich uncle and he helped her out. Lucky for her and the child. But not all of us has a rich uncle.
Take a break. De-stress. Work out. Go out with friends. Get lost in a book. Take a needed nap. Binge watch a fun series. This is a stressful process…and it doesn’t always turn out the way we want. Know that you are not alone.
Regroup. Meet with other moms or an advocate and brainstorm on ideas and strategies. Weigh all your options and decide what is best for your family. Be easy on yourself, knowing that you did the best you could.
My favorite quote that I recite often:
We cannot change the cards we were dealt, only how we play the hand. ~Randy Pausch
But, we don’t win every hand either. What is important is that we walk away from the table before we’ve lost everything and then some.