IEP Meeting

On Monday we had the IEP meeting with the school district and Nathan’s education team. It was an interesting meeting. I left feeling exuberant…until shortly after I realized that we were still pretty much in the same boat.

In the meeting I expressed my concerns about having an experienced AAC expert working with Nathan, as well as my lack of understanding about why they were doubting Nathan’s cognitive abilities. The team explained that nobody had been able to get a consistent yes/no response, which made it difficult to determine how much he does/doesn’t know.

There was a lot of talk and brain storming and strategizing. The advocate was a wonderful mediator.

What it came down was this: Nathan was labeled incorrectly when he started the program. Apparently he needed to be labelled as “OI” – Orthopedically Impaired. Instead he was labeled as “MD” – Multiple Disabilities. By having the MD label, he did not qualify for OI services, including an Adaptive Technology assesment or services.

Here’s where it gets really fussy for me. The school claims that someone, somewhere, sent them the referral as MD. However I remember his Early Intervention team wanted him in the OI class, not the MD class. In fact the school had already decided placement for Nathan before Nathan’s first IEP – they sent me a letter well before the first IEP meeting announcing that Nathan would be in the MD class, which I think might’ve been illegal. The school administrator said that she didn’t know who sent the incorrect referral. So they took the referral and immediately placed him in that class and kept the “MD” label.

Of course I didn’t think of asking this during the IEP but my question as soon as I got home was – why didn’t they do their OWN assessment to determine what the correct label was?

The school agreed to do a new assessment with the school psychologist and an AT assessment. Once these assessments were made, then we could see about changing the MD label to OI, which would then include the AT expert in his team and it would give him access to new services.

It is SOOO frustrating to me that none of this was done before. I guess it took having an advocate involved. I am glad we are taking steps in the right direction now.

Other than the administrative issues, the team as always was fantastic. His teachers shared their ideas for helping and teaching Nathan. Everyone brainstormed ways to help him. We talked about the Dynavox and how to incorporate it into Nathan’s routine.

The most exciting part was that we incorporated new goals into Nathan’s IEP. There are now 4 new goals – all requiring use of the Dynavox. Once I get a copy, I will list the new goals here. His teacher worked really hard on setting up the goals correctly and I was super excited to know that she’s committed to helping him with the dynavox.

The moral of the story: Ask your school district about how your child is labeled and find out how the label will affect his services. This could make a huge difference. Find out if there is a lawyer or advocate near you to make sure everything is taken care of appropriately from day one, so you don’t waste unnecessary time.


  1. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but glad you got that take-away and shared it with us. Charlie is labeled “Orthopedically Impaired,” but I never thought to question how that would affect his services.

  2. What I want to know is…. regardless of a “label”, why would any non verbal child be denied access to assistive tech? That blows my mind.

    However, I feel your pain… school has not been easier for us either this year! Same kind of issues! I am so sorry!

    Tons of hugs and prayers!

  3. By having the MD label, he did not qualify for OI services, including an Adaptive Technology assessment or services. \ IF this is true, it is an arbitrary rule set-up within some jurisdiction that you live-in -either the school district or your state. Or, whoever said that at the meeting was incorrect. Whatever label the child has should not limit any of the special education services. Commonly, AT services are held back – few professionals can provide them and they are (considered) expensive. Inquire about a philosophy called: Every Move Counts. This is often helpful for teachers to see when a child is communicating.

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