“…engages in inappropriate behavior. Disrupting lessons and distracting other students…”
The rest of her tirade began to sound like the teacher in the Snoopy cartoons… wha, wha, whawha…
I’m so tired of attending IEP sessions only to hear a litany of offenses and no constructive plan to actually help him. Just once, tell me something positive.
“wha, wha… lacking fine motor skills…”
That got my attention. A coloring page, a maelstrom of crayon scribbles, was pushed across the table at me.
I turned it over to see my first-grader’s detailed drawing of a car. Fine motor skills my ass.
The 100 Word Challenge, a writing prompt created by Velvet Verbosity, takes a single theme to tell a story in only 100 words ~ no more, no less. This week’s theme is ‘Engages.’
When our son was younger, and attending public elementary and secondary school, we attended obligatory IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings with his teachers and school administrators.
Initially, I believed these sessions were to confer about issues he had in the classroom environment, and how to improve both that, and his participation in the way of homework and joining in classroom discussions. Outlining what each of us – we, our son, and his teachers – could do to make his school experience successful for him.
Instead they became bitch sessions, with teachers listing offense after offense, from the most mundane to ridiculous. They became so virulent, that we eventually refused to allow our son to sit in on the meetings. None of his offenses were terrible – he was not violent, or anti-social, or out-of-control, or intentionally disruptive. He was a kid with focus issues, and undiagnosed (his diagnosis was confirmed and documented when he was about 12) anxiety disorder and OCD.
During a particularly frustrating session with his first-grade teacher, she presented us with a piece of paper that was meant to be a coloring exercise. It appeared that our son had held every crayon he could in his little fist, and filled the page with multi-colored swirls.
This was her evidence that he was deficient in fine motor skills.
Turning the paper over, you could see where he had drawn, in great detail (especially for a 1st-grader), a car. Complete with windows, door handles, spoked wheels, headlamps, and a front grill. His dad looked over at him and asked him why he had scribbled on the front and not colored it in properly.
His answer was classic. He had gotten in trouble before for drawing cars and airplanes during class. His teacher told him that he could only draw on his own once he completed his assigned work. By scribbling, he finished his paper quickly and thought he could then do what he wanted… draw cars. She told him he only had to finish the coloring, not that he had to do it well. He was then, and still is, very literal.
Instead of working with him, somehow incorporating what she wanted from him, with what he wanted to do, or at the very least being very specific with her expectations, (which is what I thought was possible during IEP conferences) she convinced herself that he was physically, and mentally, deficient.