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Readers Respond: What's the Most Outrageous Thing That's Happened to You at an IEP Meeting?

Responses: 45


From the article: IEP Meeting Alert Levels
If you've had a child in special education for very long -- and even if the experience has been mostly good -- chances are you've had a moment at an IEP meeting that has made your jaw drop. Tell your tale of IEP woe.

IEP Speech Therapist

My son was diagnosed with verbal dyspraxia by a neuropsychiatrist. At my son's IEP the speech therapist said she was struggling to understand his diagnosis. I should've walked out then. It took her six months to research and figure it out. How did she become a therapist?
—Guest Shelby

completely disgusted

My daughter has had an IEP since she started preschool. She is in 9th grade now. When she entered 6th grade is when the battles began. They say they will do a lot of things, they tell you what you want to hear, but i have never had teachers or admin actually follow an IEP. They do not catch her up on the things she is behind in. They do not send home homework. They do not send home incomplete assignments. They have lost my daughter at school several times. But worst of all, at the end of her 8th grade year IEP, one of her teachers stated she pictured my daughter working at McDonalds for a living. Wow! What high expectations they have for her! Her freshman year has been a nightmare. I need to find a good lawyer...i requested in her meetings for them not to allow her to use a calculator, they told me that all the kids use them, that not even the general ed kids know their times tables, so they will not teach her the times tables.
—Guest Sarah

IEP Horror Story

My adopted child was in 1st grade (diagnosed with FASD). In the IEP meeting the school nurse said "We shouldn't give him any special help, after all he is going to end up in jail anyway"! I immediately said that she should leave the room and challenged anyone at the table to say "no." She left and I sent a stern warning to the school district about her behavior and wrote to her supervisor as well. This led to sensitivity training on children with FASD for all school nurses in our county.
—Guest AngMaglio

IEP Meeting

I was told that I wasn't aloud to speak, if I went and it would be better if I didn't because the teachers hold back on what they say if the parents are there! This was my first IEP Meeting in this country. You can imagine what I thought of this country's system !
—Guest New to this country

teacher with mental health issues

Teacher had to be asked twice by the principal if she was paying attention while she typed on her laptop. Said she had to type her notes because her pen ran out of ink - in a school - where I'm positive they had a spare pen laying around. Same teacher got up and left in the middle of a meeting because she was offended by the fact that we said she was not following the plan that she agreed to. It has to be noted that the same teacher stood up in another meeting, for another child, screamed at the top of her lungs that she had had enough sh*t from everyone and she stomped out of the room. I've been doing this for 9 years so I have tons of stories - this teacher provided the best entertainment...all year long. The board offered us a transfer to another school or the opportunity to stay and help them collect enough evidence to get the teacher removed. Union didn't even bother fighting it - apparently they couldn't stand her either. She was fired and I was proud to be part of it!
—Guest Liz


Well, many stories come to mind, but one meeting was when two Speds -- one woman and one man -- got aruging on which one was right, and the current school did everything to discourage my child to stay at their school only after a few months of beginning there and set up a placement meeting with the other school without advising us that my child was able to stay. The whole staff at current school said they are a mission school and my son doesn't belong there in subtle terms then argued how there school is not the place for him and I said I here you say this is a mission school well it sounds like discrimination to me and how can YOU decide that my child won't go to college and wouldn't you as teachers even encourage and want to help my child more so to succeed and isn't that the whole point of being a school? Then the speds argued more and on how the current school is reasonable and is required to have a program for him the day after SPEDS both called each other the same name. Morally reprehensible.
—Guest Parent3

No Definition of an IEP Meeting

Just came from my son's meeting. Teacher's did not sit in the same room and I never saw them. The CST head sat in another room and my advocate (who cost $1,800 for the day) went between the rooms for him to deny ESY. Then the teachers signed that they attended an IEP meeting! What meeting-we were never in the same room! When I was asked to sign I refused because no meeting was held, and the CST head said there is no real definition of an IEP meeting. HaHaHa! Has he ever heard of a little thing called THE LAW!
—Guest Mom to a Special Kid

Be Your Child's Advocate

The best way to get services for your child is to get yourself educated. Go online to Wrightslaw.com and soak in the knowledge. As a parent, you are an equal member of the IEP team. But without knowledge, you can't possibly have the same amount of power. The bottom line is having the ability to know the strategies in obtaining services for your child: proper diagnosis (from doctor and from educational testing), proper goals (that are measurable), and resulting services. Always put every request in writing, and by educating yourself, you will become your child's most powerful advocate. My boys are now 19 and 21. I had to sue the school district twice, once for each boy. I won both lawsuits. In the end, I turned my knowledge into becoming an advocate for my boys, and for other families with special needs kids. I advocate for their children at IEPs, but I also help educate the parents so that they can be their child's advocate.
—Guest Advocate Annie


I'm a service provider and attend my client's IEP every year since part of my job is tutoring her. Despite having it written into her IEP that her teachers CONTACT ME DIRECTLY with her homework assignments and current topics..they never have...nor do they send homework with her. She's in the 7th grade, doing 3rd grade math. I simply cannot keep up. The school system is atrocious!
—Guest Elisa

iep that made me sick to my stomache

i was at my son 's annual iep meeting and he had already been classified as having autism, but the district said otherwise and looked at me with disgust and told me i should be happy that they think my son is not autistic !!
—Guest miryam


Our latest IEP - going through mental health also - has decided that our child is a hypochondriac. County shrink needs a shrink.
—Guest Gayle

IEP "Team" in High School

My daughter is now in high school and at our IEP meetings the councelor and our family are the only ones present. No teachers, no administrators. The councelor says that she has contacted the teachers by email for their input. When I asked for the emailed input, I am told sorry, we don't have a copy. How are we as a "team" supposed to help my child and come up with new ideas for the plan with no teachers present? In middle school the teachers would all get together and discuss things each of them had tried and what works best with my child's learning. It was a learning experience for all involved and we were able to create a real plan as a team for in class mofications. How am I expected to sign an IEP that was typed up before we even arrived by input from teacher emails that I dont even know exist???

Case Manager "fudged" the IEP notes!

Our case manager left out an entire part of an IEP meeting where the entire room discussed Executive Functioning Deficit. When I asked her to include it, she said we can only do that 10 days after the meeting. I had to quote the law back to her, and she finally included it. But then she apparently got mad and felt we were challenging her so she is involving our district's director of special services. We are asking for teacher instructions on what Executive Functioning Deficit is and how to handle it- you'd think we hired a lawyer for out of district placement! At every meeting she suggests we look into our son's medication regimen again. Enough already with the med talk and leave that to the parents and the Dr. Getting very frustrated.
—Guest Susan

IEP meeting nightmare

My Foster daughter of two months casually mentions to me she has an IEP meeting coming up. I was awaiting the notification via mail of some sort. She (a senior) calls me on her cell phone from school and asks if I am coming..."it's today at 10:00". I fly down to the school and think maybe notification went to the wrong place (I have only done this for two months) although I had given the special education director my personal contact information in person at the beginning of the school year. So I go in looking for the meeting, to say the school staff was surprised to see me would be an understatement. I was lead to an office where two of her current teachers reviewed her current performance, and one dismissed herself to return to her class. No administrator, no team at all. Now it is just me and her math teacher (and I hadn't even been invited), and he starts pressuring me to sign the IEP. I ask to look at it and he reluctantly hands it over. It is blank!!!
—Guest Foster mom

Teacher Learns Special Ed by Osmosis

My daughter had a 10th-grade teacher who, when asked if he believed in reading disorders, learning disabilities, etc. -- after myself and several other parents had complained that our kids were being ridiculed when they would leave and come back from content mastery -- he said "oh yeah, in fact my ex-wife is a special-education teacher and I thought I could help these kids better." My husband is a computer programmer so I guess that means I can write my own software now! To be fair, the principal did just about fall off his chair when he heard that, and the problem was fixed right away and the teacher did not return the next year (don't know if it was his idea or the school's).
—Guest Linda

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