1st IEP Meeting

1st IEP Meeting

Prior to this first IEP meeting, we had put together our own list of possible goals for Lyra.  They were in a very rough draft form and I wasn’t exactly sure what the best way to word them would be.  My plan for writing them was to follow the Smart IEP guidelines, but because I was in a hurry, I never got that far.  Click on the following link to read what we had come up with for the goals:  Goals

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This meeting did not go well overall.  We spent a lot of time arguing and I did way too much talking.  I was not organized, I had papers and notes all over the place and I could rarely find the questions I had written down when I needed them.  There were a total of 14 people at this meeting which included 1 person via Skype and 1 person via conference call.  The following is the meeting summary/transcript from that first meeting.  For privacy, I have removed most of the names.

Eligiblity and IEP meeting April 27, 2009

XXXXX opened the meeting and introductions were made.   XXXXX explained that we would go over the evaluation results first. In response to my question as to whether I should state my concerns and questions while they were reviewing the information in the evaluation results or when they were going over the PLP,   XXXXX said I should wait until they were going over the PLP.

In response to my noting that the report is incorrect for stating Lyra has “ocular” albinism - which was also incorrect noted in the FVA report based upon the eye report provided by Dr. XXXXX and that the same incorrect wording was also written in the FVA,  XXXXX advised it wasn’t necessary for me to receive a correction from Dr. XXXXX and they had already noted the mistake on their copy of the draft IEP.

XXXXX reviewed the Health/Physical status section of the evaluation results.  XXXXX , reviewed the results of her evaluation of Lyra’s motor skills. I informed the team that Troy and I have not seen Lyra demonstrate unbuttoning and buttoning a button, catching a ball or attempt steps on a balance beam which   XXXXX states Lyra can do.

XXXXX  reviewed the results of her evaluation of Lyra’s communication skills. She stated that Lyra’s expressive language skills are above average for her age and her receptive language skills are within the high average for her age.

XXXXX reviewed Lyra’s Functional Vision Assessment and the O&M report for XXXXX  who was at the meeting via conference call.    XXXXX then added that Lyra has trouble scanning a whole picture because of her low vision.  She focuses on a small area, a piece of the puzzle, but has trouble scanning the whole picture.

XXXXX reviewed the results of the Learning Media Assessment.  She stated that based on her evaluation, Lyra has adequate vision and would not need Braille now because her vision is stable and successful.”

As to the “Determination of Functional Blindness.” I asked for clarity as to what it meant by the statement that a child had to be functionally blind to receive Braille.   XXXXX stated from her evaluation she concluded that Lyra was primarily a visual learner, which means she isn’t functionally blind.   XXXXX further stated said that based on her evaluation of Lyra’s current needs and what she saw Lyra doing, that Lyra is very much a visual learner and does not currently need Braille.   XXXXX added that they would continue to monitor her literacy media needs.

I explained that my understanding of the law is that LMA must include an evaluation as to not only her current needs, but also her future needs for Braille and I inquired how  XXXXX determined whether Lyra will need Braille in the future.  XXXXX stated that Lyra is only 3 and she is not a reader or a writer.    XXXXX stated that this was why they were going to leave the possibility of needing Braille “open.”

In response to my question of whether  XXXXX thinks Lyra will need Braille in the future, I was told “maybe.” I was further advised by XXXXX team members that the IEP is only for this year and it doesn’t  mean that in the future Lyra won’t need Braille and that checking the box “No” on the IEP only meant that she didn’t need Braille this year.  XXXXX further informed me that that because Lyra didn’t “require” Braille this year, that they couldn’t check the box “Yes.”   XXXXX confirmed that she felt that Lyra would not benefit from Braille at this age, and that is why she included that the LMA would be ongoing.

XXXXX, parent of two children with albinism, gave examples of her own two children (ages 12 and 9) who are primary print readers, but also use Braille as another form of literacy.  She explained to the team that eye fatigue plays a huge factor in how XXXXX her children can read enlarged or magnified print for XXXXX periods of time. XXXXX made reference to the FVA which states that Lyra’s vision is characterized by decreased visual acuity and visual fatigue and that the parents  also noted that Lyra shows signs of eye fatigue at home.  I asked if most three year olds have eye fatigue,    XXXXX, replied that most preschoolers want a nap.

XXXXX, an adult with albinism, shared with the team that she was not given Braille instruction as a child which she regrets as it  is a tool she needs as an adult.  She also reiterated what   XXXXX explained regarding fatigue plays a major factor with literacy and stressed that  it is sometimes a “chore” to read print.

I explained that we do not agree with the portion of the Instructional Presentation section wherein  XXXXX states that the teacher should use gestures, pointing and facial expressions. I further explained that Lyra doesn’t have fine vision and would be unable to gain any information visually from gestures, pointing or facial expressions. I referred to the classroom teacher putting her first finger up to her lips, as in “shhhhh” but with out the sound, in order to instruct her students to be quiet. I also stated that even sitting in front during circle time, that Lyra wouldn’t know what her teacher was doing. Finally, I advised that if I am standing in a room next to a person who is wearing a similar colored shirt and has a similar hairstyle, Lyra does not know who is who.  In response,   XXXXX stated that Lyra saw her smile and responded by smiling back.   XXXXX also gave some examples of her pointing to things and Lyra looking at them.

Troy passed out a writing sample. It was printed in 8 pt. font and the color was approximately 60% gray.  He stated that was a sample essay from the SAT test.  He explained that, yes, they can read it but it requires much more work visually and if they continued to read it for a longer period of time, it would result in extreme visual and mental fatigue.  Troy explained that this is what reading will be like for Lyra.    XXXXX responded by saying, “They don’t read this in preschool.”

In response to XXXXX’s request that the team move from discussing the evaluation reports and eligibility to the writing of the IEP, I stated that I was comfortable with doing so as long as  XXXXX understood that the issue of Braille would need to be discussed as we believe Braille is appropriate for Lyra and that it should be a part of her IEP.

I was asked to sign a Determination of Eligibility document. I asked for clarification on what I was signing and asked confirmation that what I was signing was that I was in agreement that Lyra is eligible for special education and related services but not that I was in agreement of the results of the Evaluation. I was advised that my understanding was correct and I signed said document.

At this point the OT, speech therapist, and classroom teacher left the meeting. I provided a written list of our parent concerns to be added to Lyra’s IEP.   Although some expressed reservations that not all of our parent concerns were necessary to be included but  XXXXX agreed to attach our concerns to the IEP.

XXXXX  read through the following sections of the draft IEP: ‘Strengths and Preferred Learning Modality/Style’ and ‘Health and Physical’. An incorrect name was mistakenly used (Gabriel), but this was noted and corrected.

In response to my question as to whether a Health Care Plan is  needed for Lyra’s classroom teachers to apply her sunscreen every day, XXXXX  responded by stating yes.     XXXXX asked if it would be okay if we, her parents, applied sunscreen to her face before school and then they would just apply it to her hands and feet and legs and knees. She explained that they were concerned about accidently getting it in her eyes.

I explained that this wasn’t acceptable because the sunscreen must be reapplied every two hours and if we apply the sunscreen at noon and Lyra doesn’t go outside for recess  until 2:45 she will not have protection from the sun.  I further noted that the American Academy of Dermatology says that sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours.    XXXXX asked,  what would happen to Lyra if they “missed a spot.”   Troy explained that Lyra will sunburn and that the applying of sunscreen is a medical necessity.  I expressed my concern that although Lyra’s requirement of sunscreen, hat and sunglasses is a medical necessity the IEP simply notes that the aforementioned would only “benefit” her which would give the reader the false impression that these items are not medically required.

The mistake in the use of the word “ocular” albinism was again noted. It was unclear at this point if  XXXXX was willing to change the wording since this was  the eye doctor’s diagnosis.   I required that Lyra’s near visual acuity of 20/400 be included and  XXXXX  noted the change on the IEP.

In reference to the Orientation and Mobility Information on the draft IEP, I stated that the line which reads, “Lyra walks and runs across environments, and has sufficient vision to avoid contact with objects/people.” was taken out of context from the O&M report.  I explained that in the actual O&M report, that statement is made only in reference to Lyra’s INDOOR travel.  I asked them to add the word “inside” after the sentence on the draft IEP.   XXXXX agreed to the change and noted it on the draft.

In reference to the Braille question on page four of the draft IEP,  I explained that it is our understanding of federal and state law that since no evaluation has been done to ascertain Lyra’s future need of Braille that the team could not come to the conclusion that Braille isn’t appropriate and thus the “Braille Required” box should be marked “yes.”    XXXXX disagreed and  said no and stated that  XXXXX did address Lyra’s future needs for Braille in the LMA. She said they did that with the statement on the last page of the LMA which states, “Due to her age, literacy media assessment will be on-going.”

I stated that it was important that if Lyra was going to need Braille, she begin learning it now, just as her sighted peers are beginning to learn print.  I added that since young children are able to learn things much more easily quickly, waiting to begin her Braille instruction did not make sense.   XXXXX responded by stating that they don’t learn how to read in preschool.  I disagreed and stated that preschool children do emergent literacy and pre-reading activities.  I also stated that the students have exposure to print all over their classroom which is also emergent literacy.  I suggested compromises with regards to the Braille requirement box being checked yes or no.  I asked if we checked the box “no” could we still write Braille goals, using the words Braille or prebraille.   XXXXX team members refused to agree to my proposal.

I provided to the team member a copy of the draft goals we had prepared.    XXXXX stated that the goal and benchmarks she wrote were very similar to the Braille goals I wrote.  We noted that the goal and benchmarks written by   XXXXX did not include the words Braille or pre-Braille.   XXXXX team members would not agree to include the words Braille or pre-Braille in Lyra’s IEP.  In response to Troy’s inquiry as to what the impact would be if the ‘Requires Braille’ answer was checked yes.  XXXXX stated Lyra would learn Braille.

XXXXX refused to state on the IEP that Lyra requires Braille but put into the comments to the effect that  while Lyra doesn’t require Braille, the team recognizes that Lyra will benefit from learning Braille.   Near the end of the meeting, during discussion of goals, a tentative agreement was reached to include textual learning as a measurable goal, however,  XXXXX  team members weren’t comfortable with the word ‘Braille’ being included in the goal.  XXXXX stated that while Braille is not required, the team believes it is important to introduce pre-Braille activities.

XXXXX stated that it was her understanding that   XXXXX felt that Lyra would not benefit from Braille at this age, however, there is no evaluation which shows the Lyra’s future needs for instruction or use of Braille.   XXXXX read the federal law regarding Braille literacy which states an evaluation for future needs must be performed.   In response to   XXXXX’s question as to whether there was  anyone on the team feel that Lyra could benefit from the instruction or use of Braille in the future,   XXXXX replied that  it is impossible to see the future and that’s why the LMA will be ongoing. XXXXX expressed that she felt Lyra could benefit from Braille and that she was doing Pre-Braille skills with Lyra during early intervention.  She added that if she was making the decision, she thought the box should be checked “yes” that Lyra does require Braille.

The meeting was adjourned and it was decided that the IEP team would reconvene on Monday, May 4th at 2:00PM.    XXXXX asked if it was okay with us if XXXXX,  the lead XXXXX for  XXXXX attended the next IEP meeting.  I stated yes, that would be fine.