The Melt-in-Your-Hand IEP

posted Friday April 16th, 2010

Sophie’s IEP meeting was last week, and we’re still in the throes of finalizing/reviewing/sign-seal-and-delivering, but things seem to be falling into place.

It’s such a detailed process, designed to address every possible angle of your kid and her needs, but really what I find is that it lulls you (or me, anyway) into a false sense of security.

Consider the following.

The meeting was Friday. Monday (ok, it might have been Tuesday) evening we were winding down, discussing the day’s highlights, and Sophie informed me that she had eaten some M&Ms.

“Yum yum!” she announced, pantomiming the act of the gobble. I was curious.

“Where’d you get those?”

She mentioned the name of the special ed teacher at school. Upon further discussion, it became clear that Sophie had behaved well during a session, and was rewarded with what I’m guessing was one or two M&Ms.

Really, no big deal. Except that we spent a long time in that IEP meeting just days before talking about various reward systems — that the Elmo chart (which became a Christmas chart, then a Foofa from Yo Gabba Gabba chart) had fallen by the wayside, that sometimes it worked to hold onto Sophie’s favorite self-soothing paintbrush during a session and give it to her at the end in honor of a job well done.

No one mentioned M&Ms. I’m sure that’s because there are all sorts of food rules at school these days. I’m all in favor of that. If I’m going to let my kid have junk food, I want to be in control of it. That said, I really don’t care about occasional treats. (This is a whole other discussion for another day, but I think it’s a bad idea to never let your kid have treats; it only makes her obsessed with getting them. I should know.)

But not as a reward for good behavior. Not from the special ed teacher, who of all people has been trained (I thought) to come up with better methods to ensure good behavior.

And not, for crying out loud, for a kid with Down syndrome. Sophie’s pretty lithe at the moment, but I’d like to keep it that way, and sadly, she’s genetically programmed for plumpness.

Most of all, I was annoyed at the timing — that Sophie mentioned the M&M thing just days after the IEP meeting. A good reminder, I suppose, that an IEP is pretty much worth the paper it’s printed on.

I do love Sophie’s teacher, Ms. Y; she  has quite a way with words. When I mentioned the M&M thing in an email, she responded that “non-culinary” reward options would immediately be explored.

In fact, the special ed teacher reported yesterday, that will be written into the IEP.


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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome, public school by Amysilverman

2 Responses to “The Melt-in-Your-Hand IEP”

  1. Argh. and somehow you’re supposed to anticipate this stuff so you can head it off?

    The soothing paintbrush, I like that.

  2. Oh geez. How frustrating.

    I’m paranoid about the weight thing. And very conscious of the snacking, way more so than with the 46er.

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