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Monday, August 25, 2008

Joey's IEP

Well, it's only taken the better part of a year, but this afternoon Joey's mom told me she had gone to Chavez today and then produced a copy of his IEP.

It's a rather faint copy and not always easy to read the handwriting. Worse, it really doesn't tell me a whole lot I didn't already know. They gave him reading and math tests in English and a reading test in Spanish. On the English-language reading tests he scored on a beginning first grade level in letter and word recognition and a late first-grade level in reading comprehension and spelling. (I'm shocked he did that well in spelling, to tell you the truth.) In Spanish he scored early second grade in reading comprehension.

On the math tests (given in English) he scored in the third grade range, higher in computation than in "concepts and applications," which is probably a fancy way of saying "word problems."

There's a short paragraph under the heading "General Intelligence" which appears to have something to say about testing but I'm not sure if it refers to the same tests or to others not described in detail here. At the end it says a bit about his strengths and weaknesses as observed by the psychologist who gave the tests (I gather). "Strengths were noted in visual motor and perceptual organization (drawing/artistic). Deficits were observed in short-term auditory recall, verbal abstract reasoning, word and general knowledge."

No s--t, Sherlock. How much did they pay you to figure that out? I got that far without a degree in psychology, just by hanging out with him and not even for very long before this sort of thing became apparent. I expect more from someone who makes a living at writing IEPs, like what's at the root of this? Dyslexia? Something else?

Of course, as a friend of mine who's written a good bit about reading and has seen her fair share of CPS IEPs says, "It's a pretty standard CPS IEP: it doesn't diagnose anything and it doesn't tell you how to fix it."

It sure doesn't. It doesn't even tell you whether or not he met the academic targets they set up for him last fall--I wonder if anyone has bothered to check up. (I mean, besides the fact I'm pretty sure he didn't meet them. Somehow he got out of 6th grade, but I'm not totally for sure how. Not that holding him back would have been a better option--he'd probably have just felt dumber, been mad about being separated from his classmates and acted out more than he already is.) He's supposed to spend nearly half his week in a self-contained special ed classroom. Last year he told me there were fights all the time in there, he wasn't learning anything and he kept getting pulled out of his English class to go, then he'd miss the homework back in the regular class. (His last year's English teacher was smart and nice, too. She seemed genuinely concerned for his academic welfare and we tried to work together on some of his assignments.)

All right, enough already. After she gave this to me earlier tonight and I read it, I biked out to Bridgeport's Scoops for an ice cream cone. You could call it a consolation prize, I suppose.

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