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Sharing a story of self advocacy in a flawed system


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I just wanted to share that for the last year or so my son has attended his IEP meetings.

yesterday my son (14, 8th grade) had an encounter with a new para who watched him take out his cell phone (essentially a iPod because it is my old phone and no cell number).We have it spelled out in the IEP that he uses music to self regulate. At one point when the school decided to ban phones they offered that he could use a school laptop to listen to music - which was cumbersome and not useful in all situations. With some push back from us He was able to keep the device.

He knew the para was watching him, which is something that makes him uncomfortable and frustrated because he rightly worries that he is getting singled out for being in trouble.

The para confronted him about not putting it in the “ cell phone box” as kids are supposed to. As if he was sneakily breaking rules.

 He said,” Have you read my IEP?”

by his account, the para looked surprised and walked away.

so much is wrong with what happened by my son did the right thing and I’m proud of him

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I don't find this surprising - what the para did - your son is a great self-advocate.  Paras don't have access to read the IEP.  They only know what the teachers tell them.  If the teacher doesn't tell them or the para forgets what's in it, you'll have an IEP that's not being followed.  (In my district, they rotate paras and I'm not sure how the paras keep all the IEPs straight.)

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