by Lori Miller Fox

Like for many of you, now that my son's IEP is over I can finally breathe--even if only to hyperventilate.

The incredible stress that often leads up to and occurs during an IEP (or Infliction of Excruciating Pain as I've come to call it), can only be "outpained" by the post traumatic stress that usually follows.

There are the insensitive comments that linger in our hearts, the raised eyebrows that are burned into our memories, and the skepticism that sneaks into our unguarded souls.

Please don't get me wrong, we have had good, affable and sometimes even surprisingly pleasant meetings.

And of course, there are also those individuals including many school people, who have made a very positive difference in our son's future.

And for those experiences and people, I am extremely grateful.

But for those negative, blind-siding, gut-wrenching meetings, I offer some humor.

Because sometimes all we can do to save our sanities, is take a chill pill, maybe along with a mild sedative, and laugh.

So here's a new twist on an old favorite to help get us all through the aftermath of those difficult days. [Feel free to comment with a few of your own].

If team members were asked "How many IEP meetings does it take to change a light bulb," this is what I imagine they might say:

Parent - "The light bulb is not the only thing that's burnt out."

General Education Teacher - "No one said I was going to have to teach changing light bulbs."

Case Manager - "If you hadn't wanted so many hours of service in that room, maybe the light bulb wouldn't have burned out."

Transition Coordinator - "I think they cover that in life skills."

Special Education Teacher - "We don't need a light bulb, it's not like they're reading or writing."

Special Education Director - "We'll have to just keep changing his placement until we find a room that has a light bulb."

Resource Teacher - "The side benefit is that we'll have to bring them up from the basement."

Teaching Assistant - "We don't really need a new light bulb, there's enough light coming off the television."

School District Attorney - "The regulations don't require light in the timeout room."

Dean of Discipline- "Is there supposed to be a light in the time-out room?"

Assistive Technology Team - "First, we have to determine that the light bulb's really burnt out and then we can trial a flashlight."

School Nurse - "I don't know how many it will take to change the light bulb, but all the special ed children will have to go home until we do."

Secretary at the meeting - "O.K. then, how many minutes of light are we allotting in the IEP?"

Special Education Director - "We are willing to provide nightlights and maybe open the door a crack; we feel this is more than educationally appropriate and all Rowley requires."

Teacher - (Sobbing) "What do you people expect from us anyway!"

Parent - "I don't understand why you're being so difficult, it's not like we're asking for a chandelier."

School Psychologist - "The children are just lazy. If they really wanted to learn they'd study by candle light like Abraham Lincoln."

Janitorial Custodian - "I'd like to help you, but I'm not a part of the IEP team."

Dean of Discipline - "I'm just here to make sure we write it as 'change the light bulb.' The minute anyone uses the word, 'screw' this meeting is over."

Special Education Attorney - "The light bulb is the least important thing that needs to be changed in that classroom."

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 5:24 PM lol...very well said!

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 5:35 PM As the parent of a very special child, I have attended my fair share of IEP meetings in the past 9 years.  This about covers it!  Thanks for the laugh!!

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 7:17 PM

OMGosh Jacks!!  ROFLOL!!  That about covers it, doesn't it??  Thanks, I needed that today



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Jun. 1, 2008 at 7:22 PM I'm printing this and taking it to the next IEP we do...LOL

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 9:56 PM

As a special education teacher I say - well done! :o)

Even when you are sitting on the other side of the fence, it sometimes sounds as equally as frustrating! Good humor and persistance still go a long way.

I hope your voice was heard and the services agreed are appropriate.

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 11:10 PM hilarious, sad and oh so true!

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Jun. 1, 2008 at 11:45 PM I've been to that very IEP meeting.  Several times. 

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 9:22 AM Sad, but true. My son, who's main issue is speech and language, has had an IEP for two years now... and they are FINALLY agreeing to add speech (now that this school year is over)! Grrrrr!

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 11:47 AM I agree, I still haven't gotten the IEP for my son and I have been trying for 3 years. I am going to go on the last workday and request one for my son for next year and if I cannot get what I need then myself and my mom ( who has worked in Special ed and still is as a shadow) are going to the school board and getting to the bottom of it.  The school feels that he doesn't need one cause he is smart. It is for mental disability not learning disability.  Yet when he stars misbehaving and acting out they want "conferences and putting him in ISS or whatever". Have a great day!!

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 11:48 AM Oh my god too funny.  As a teacher they made me want to bang my head against the wall because of all the red tape...I swear those things are less about really helping the kids anymore than they are about creating more positions to "help" create IEP's.

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