We Don’t Need No…

I just read a post by a mom who hopes to stop using an IEP for her special needs son.

Read her article (here) and then add your thoughts below.

Here’s my response:

I see your point, but I think I’d have to side with your hubby IF your boy is like ours (and the description is all too familiar). Here’s my reasoning: I’m not looking for legal protection against bad behavior; you’re absolutely right about consequences. Kids need to experience cause and effect.

However, the IEP forces people around him to consider his differences and be more understanding. I’ll give you an example.

At a theme park, I waited in line with everyone else to get my food. A young man (late teens) walked up, pushed past me, grabbed the food he wanted and pushed me out of his way again on his way back. He didn’t apologize; instead, he called happily to his mother, “I got the last one before anyone could take it!”

His mother, looking mortified and frazzled, told him to apologize. When he just stood there staring at the plate, she said, “I’m really sorry. He doesn’t realize.”

Having personal experience with Autism, I was fairly certain of the situation. Without that experience, I would have seen an incredibly rude young man whose mother obviously did not rear him with manners.

BUT his mother’s reaction confirmed what I suspected. Instead of being annoyed, I felt very happy for her that she could bring her son to a place like amusement park. So many kids on the Spectrum would be too overwhelmed to function in the chaos.

Of course, an IEP won’t help in public, but it will release some of the pressure in other settings. Asking people to treat a kid with differences as Neurotypical is unfair to all parties. He needs at least one safe place where people will attempt to understand.

My boy has made great strides but any teacher who expects a model student will be disappointed.

Unmet expectations = frustration.

The IEP allows reasonable expectations.

I don’t excuse inappropriate behavior and our school staff members know that. But there’s a difference in motive to be considered: a belligerent kid snapping pencils in half vs. the overwhelmed kid trying to deal with too much sensory input. Both look the same on the outside.

An IEP gives the teacher extra insight regarding whether this kid who refuses to stop snapping pencils should be sent to the principal or given a few minutes in a quiet corner away from chaos.

So anyway…that’s my two cents.

What do YOU think?


About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at - we're in this together.

Posted on August 30, 2016, in Adoption, Parent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I hate to say this but sometimes an IEP is a way of forcing teachers (mainly substitute teachers in my experience) to treat your child in a way that would benefit other children. For example the substitute teacher who told my autistic, dyslexic,ADD and depressed 12 yr old daughter that she refused to even look at her work until she learned to spell. I believe IEPs should be extended beyond disabled kids to acknowledge many kids have different learning and emotional needs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that’s unbelievable. The teacher should have left instructions for the sub (at least, that’s what my son’s teacher did) to let her know about any kids with special needs. And of course, substitutes can use common sense…that’s always helpful. No one should talk to ANY kid like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, some people really shouldn’t teach, unfortunately some subs won’t read the notes because they don’t need any help they are so good. Another work in progress. The regular teacher & deputy noticed I had made a fake business card for her and so in the same style & pictures we made an information card about her needs for new & sub teachers.


  2. Not seeing what the actual IEP says, and the accommodations given, I think the IEP is helpful for the teacher when interacting with her son. No those accommodation don’t come into play as an adult, but as the child gets older you get to have the conversations about how to work around the need when there are no accommodations. I’m glad he’s improving though!


  3. The IEP’s purpose is to help children with challenges succeed. IEPs are varied in what they do for the child; it can be as little as extra test time to having an aide in the classroom. I think anyone with a special need’s child (I use this term loosely) should take advantage of an IEP. If nothing else, it leaves a paper trail for future needs. But that’s just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I see her point, but I agree with you. It’s more about the teachers than other people not suing them if their son knocks their child out. It allows the teachers to realize that the child learns differently.

    Liked by 1 person

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