Silly Bureaucracy

I thought I was finished with silly bureaucracy for a while, given that Sam’s IEP is settled for the next 18 months or so, and Theo’s IEP is really minimal. But alas, I was wrong.

I got a call on Thursday morning from Theo’s school resource specialist, saying that they were scheduling the “push-in services” for Theo. In this case, the push-in service was an aide who would be in the classroom an hour a month to observe and help Theo. The problem, the specialist said, was that Theo’s teacher had said she was pretty sure I didn’t want that service.

“Oh,” I said. “Well, it was actually the speech therapy and counseling that I didn’t want, but we already settled that. I don’t remember a push-in aide even being part of the IEP. But I signed it, so I guess I must’ve known at some point….”

Yes, she assured me, it was in the IEP. So did I want it?

“Well, I don’t think he really needs it,” I said. “His teacher hasn’t said a word to me about any behavior issues in the classroom, and he seems quite happy and has made several friends. So I think everything is going well—I’m sure his teacher would’ve told me if there were any issues. We can see what his teacher thinks, but I’m comfortable with removing the push-in services from the IEP.”

Easy, right? And one less area where we’re a resource-drain on a struggling system, right?

Wrong. Apparently, if I turn down the push-in aide, I then forfeit Theo’s IEP. And if I forfeit his IEP, he no longer receives occupational therapy.

“But he needs OT,” I said. “That’s the one area where he still struggles, as I’m sure his teacher will tell you—he struggles with handwriting and fine-motor tasks. So I want to keep the OT, but I don’t think he needs any of the other services.”

No can do. If I turn down the aide, I give up the OT.

At this point I laughed and said, “Well, okay…I was trying to save you wasting school resources on something he doesn’t need, but I’m not going to give up the OT, so I guess you can go ahead and send an aide!” And so they did.

And the next morning, I had to stop by Theo’s classroom to sign a paper, and his teacher and I talked briefly about the aide. “She was here, and he was fine,” Mrs. B told me. “She ended up helping one of my other students who was struggling, because Theo did just fine!”

I told her about the dilemma with losing OT if I gave up the aide, and she rolled her eyes. “I know it, I know it,” she said. “My daughter had IEPs for her whole school career. I could wallpaper a bathroom with all the paperwork I have from those. But don’t give up the IEP. He may need more services someday, and you don’t want to start back at square one.” My sentiments exactly…

So now there’s an aide who will show up once a month and probably do nothing with Theo. But we’ll still get OT. Whoop, whoop!

I find it unbelievably silly that every time I try to help the district, they insist on doing things the hard way. The same general thing happened with Sam’s IEP, although in that case I was trying to save them thousands of dollars by saying, “I know what his legal rights are and what placement I want for him. If I have to get an attorney to do this, it will cost you money, so let’s settle it ourselves and save the district money!” No go. They called my bluff (which wasn’t a bluff) and ended up having to pay our attorney’s fees.

I will never understand this silly bureaucracy. Maybe I should just stop trying….

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