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IEP meeting -felt my opinions not wanted.

(38 Posts)
Szyslak Tue 16-Sep-08 16:39:00

My DS2 (5yrs) was just given an IEP at the end of last term. It was sent home for consultation and to be signed. I had some views about some of the targets so wrote a letter to the SENCo with my opinions of the targets and their suitability (I am an EP), for discussion.

We had a meeting today where the SENCo told me that 'I was in a parent role now' and that my comments made her feel that |i was questioning her professionalism.

I explained that I had every confidence in her (I do,) but that I thought that comments and consultation were welcomed from parents.

She kept repeating 'you are the parent here', I sadi I was, but that I couldn't pretend not to have thr knowledge that I do have, I am a parent with some some expertise.

I now feel crap, I feel I should have just played ignorant, kept my opnion to myself, signed the IEP without question like most parents do.

Now they think I'm up my own arse, and I'm going to be a royal pain in the neck.(being up your arse would give you a a pain in the neck).

If I'm honest I'm also upset as they now don't like me.

Should- I have just kept quiet?
Should you just play along and be grateful?

Parent consultaion, parent partnership, my arse.

southeastastra Tue 16-Sep-08 16:41:32

my son has an iep and i certainly don't ever 'just sign the form without question'.

they always seems happy to answer all my questions though.

so no don't keep quiet do what you feel is best

welshdeb Tue 16-Sep-08 16:43:04

What a crap response.
So if your dc had an accident or ilness and you were a medical practitioner she would expect you not to try to diagnose/ help your child because " you are the parent" not a professional.

Hassled Tue 16-Sep-08 16:48:22

I agree that of course you should make your views re the IEP known, but can also understand why the SENCo felt a bit defensive; you're going to have to be very careful not to be seen to be telling her how to do her job (not that I'm implying that's what you were doing) if you're to maintain a good relationship.

Szyslak Tue 16-Sep-08 16:52:32

I did write quite a long letter of commentsblush.

But I am not demanding (did not request extra help, quite happy witt amount of help offerd) I am not aggressive, I am not at school all the time ( I think the SENco thought I was going to be, I had to assure her that a Dec reveiew was fine.)

I feel like I've been silenced. But I object to the idea that 'being a parent' means ignorance, and an unquestioning attitude to what they do.

Why am I so botherd about them liking me? I need to get over that, quick.

Szyslak Tue 16-Sep-08 16:56:09

That proably is how she felt Hassled.

This is going to be a tricky one for me to negotaite, I need to find a balance between being able to express my views without having to pretend I have less knowledge than I do, whilst not looking like I'm telling her how to do her job.

God, is that going to be possible? I'm going to need the tact of....something really tactful.

dustystar Tue 16-Sep-08 17:03:12

You may be in the parent role but you have every right to comment on the targets in the IEP. You may have to be careful how you phrase things but I think it sounds as though she has an issue with you being a professional and your knowledge makes her uneasy.

hecate Tue 16-Sep-08 17:05:49

That is wrong. The SEN Code of Practice actually has a huge section about the importance of the parental input and how seriously it should be taken. I suggest you quote that at her!

Hassled Tue 16-Sep-08 17:06:57

Maybe a full and frank discussion is needed? If your DD is only 5 I'm assuming that this woman will be her SENCo for at least another couple of years, so it might be worth another meeting where you talk about how you understand the relationship might be awkward given your expertise but that you really value her input etc.

Szyslak Tue 16-Sep-08 17:12:31

Hmmm, I think quoting the code of practice at her may just exacerbate the situation.

But that is what I wanted to say!!!!

She does seem a good SENCo, it's a good school. I think she was just very defensive, which I can understand, but the phrease 'you are the parent' was missing the just she really wanted to put in there.

She wants me to leave all my knowledge at the door and be passive like many parents are.

She also said 'I didn't know whether to work with DS2 this week as you had not signed the IEP' and 'if I have to keep meeting with you it will take time away from DS2' I did feel vaguely threatened that my 'uncooperativness' would jepordise DS's support.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 16-Sep-08 17:14:43

I have always written detailed comments.

Mainstream school was always very defensive (totally did my head in). Special school has been far more open to parent input (indeed values it).

Sounds as if the issues are hers. Just continue to give your opinion. She'll have to deal with her insecurities.

hecate Tue 16-Sep-08 17:14:52

Bugger her. If there's one thing I have learned it is that you can't be concerned with whether they like you or not, only that they do what you want them to do. Anything else is a bonus.

Tell it to her straight.

Passive parents get screwed. ime.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 16-Sep-08 17:16:00

You don't need to sign the EP for her to work with your ds2.

IME parents aren't particularly passive, far from it.

Szyslak Tue 16-Sep-08 17:28:12

They are passive and grateful at our school jimjam.

Grateful to get into the school in the first place and then grateful for all the wonderful work they do. Parents seem to fall over themselves to be popular with the teachers.

We have the most active PFA ever.

I knwo I shouldn't be botherd about being liked, I didn't think I was, but obviously I am.

You're right I need to get over it. Dh will be home soon and will talk me out of my 'nobody likes me' wallowing, with his no nonsense 'bugger them. we'll question waht we like/need to mentality.'

This 'being liked' curse, seems to affect women much more.

coppertop Tue 16-Sep-08 17:38:30

IEPs here are always sent home to parents with a letter inviting parents to come in and talk about them with the SENCO if they want to.

If you had a problem with any of the targets then you absolutely did the right thing in bringing it to the attention of the SENCO.

Sod the lot of them.

Romy7 Tue 16-Sep-08 17:40:45

just keep smiling. i find it works really well to discuss face to face - there's something about a letter that smacks 'i'm putting this in writing so that you can't ignore it' <even if that is what you're doing lol>
i always make sure i flatter them hugely on the good bits, and then just ask questions around the bits i don't like - and perhaps say 'the physio was wondering if...' or 'we're working really hard on this at home and i was wondering if you thought it was worthwhile to include something in that area as a target' or 'on a personal level i'm worried about... is this an issue at school, could we target this perhaps...'
at all times flatter both their professional stature and any insecurities they may have, reassuring them that you know they are absolutely doing the best job possible, but as a mother you obviously can't help but worry, so please tell me if you think i'm over-reacting' etc etc etc.
yup it's exhausting, and yup, you're going to have to milk this role for all it's worth as she knows who you are grin
i bet you recognise this approach from your own professional life though - you have to admit it makes it easier to validate what the parent is saying grin
psst, are you our EP? (gulp) now i've let out the secret to getting everything i've ever asked for... my days as NHS/LEA fag are numbered...
and it's bugger all to do with being liked btw. it's about control. grin

Romy7 Tue 16-Sep-08 17:43:38

oh, and i do write letters if all else fails grin quite snippy ones...
but as a mother, they generally assume you can't write anyway, so it's best not to needle them unless absolutely necessary...

hecate Tue 16-Sep-08 17:52:20

Yes, I remember writing a letter to the head in the middle of some quite awful problems at my kids old school - including demanding that ds did a half day so that the lea funding would cover everything and the school didn't have to put any money into his lsa hours!!! shock and regularly having ds1 babysat in the school office while his LSA - paid for by the lea! was photocopying for the teacher, or doing some work with a small group of kids shock

I think the most complimentary thing I said was that she was dictatorial grin

FossilSister Tue 16-Sep-08 17:54:49

Maybe you did make her feel under pressure. I work with a couple of kids whose parents are head teachers and it is intimidating. If it's the first IEP everyone needs to build a good working relationship and get to know each other. It all takes time. You know your child, but she does not know him that well yet.

Szyslak Tue 16-Sep-08 18:33:42

Yes, I probably should have handled it better, in retrospect a lengthy letter was bound to get her back up.

I think you're approach sounds like very good advice Romy, it does sound exhausting though and I know I will get all uppity at some point and think, sod this, I'm going to say what I like I'm his mother.

But I know not the best appraoch.

God this is hard.

jellyhead Tue 16-Sep-08 18:49:29

The SENCO probably feels a bit intimadated .
If I was a SENCO I would dread doing an IEP for a child of an EP.
You have alot of knowledge as a parent and a professional so your input is very important and can only help your ds.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 16-Sep-08 18:53:40

Sorry - she's a professional. She should be able to cope with a letter from a mother - even if the EP is an ed psych. you should not have to worry about her insecurities.

Be polite, but continue to communicate in a way that suits you. I think for an EP reveiw type thing written is a much better form of expression. Then everyone has an accurate record.

FWIW I work in autism research and my son is autistic. I don't expect people to be unable to deal with me because of my day job.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 16-Sep-08 18:54:06

sorry- even if the mother is an ed psych

hecate Tue 16-Sep-08 19:07:13

I think that IF she was a professional, she would not be intimidated, she'd welcome and value the input. The fact that it's made her feel threatened tells me she obviously doesn't feel competent herself. She's 'projecting'

Szyslak Tue 16-Sep-08 19:17:12

I think you're right, if she were entirely professional she would not have been defensive, but even profesinal poeple have insecurities and can feel intimidated.

It's the 'you are a parent line' that really got me, meaning really, 'you are only a parent', let us do our job.

I don't think any parent had never signed an IEP before.

It's not just being an EP, I got the impression any parent with knowledge would not be welcomed 'meddling'.

My knowledge of IEP's is not super secret EP only knowledge, any parent can educate themselves, by reading CoP, Good practise guidance and books and have the same knowlege that an EP and SENCo have.

I think a parent who did this would be viewd very suspiciously too.

Everyone is out to protect thier 'professional knowledge' and becomes very twitchy if others claim to also have the same knowldege.

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