When I walked into the IEP meeting, the first thing I noticed was that there were some new people in attendance. One identified herself as the Special Education Director who was there representing the school board. (http://nichcy.org/schoolage/iep/team/representative) There seemed to be a feeling of tension in the room and my son’s teachers were acting a bit differently. There was such an air of seriousness as we sat down to begin the meeting.
The meeting started with each teacher reporting that my son was struggling with his language based instruction reflected in their data collection. (http://nichcy.org/schoolage/iep/iepcontents/progress) They stated that he would need an increase in the amount of time with a teacher of the hearing impaired and that he would need to go to a special class outside of the regular education class to get it.(http://nichcy.org/schoolage/placement/placement-lre#settings) Everyone at the table agreed that this was a service my son needed to succeed. I was then reminded of the policy regarding any student needing more service than he was currently getting having to attend the center school in the next county and that he would also have to go there and there was nothing else they could do. It was school board policy and had to be followed.
A bus would be provided and he would no longer be going to his neighborhood school. I was in shock. Totally devastated that my son would once again have to suffer an ordeal because of his disability. He would be ripped from the loving nurturing environment in our community and sent to the next county to the special school for the deaf. I had no idea what to do. Other parents had to send their children so I assumed I had to as well but something just didn’t seem right. He was put on a bus each morning in the dark and didn’t return until it was dark. I felt helpless betrayed and alone.
I had no idea what to do or even where to start. One of his teachers slipped me information on something called section 504, (http://nichcy.org/laws/section504) and called some of the parents suggesting we meet. We did meet for the first time as parents and decided we wanted things to change for our children. There were about a dozen of us total and for the first time there were also two other fathers, one of which was another stay at home dad. I was elected as spokesperson for the group and was officially baptized into the world of grassroots parent advocacy.(http://www.ct.gov/opapd/lib/opapd/documents/adobe/organizing_parents.pdf).