Kat Reading

Kat Reading

Thursday, January 22, 2009

IEP Hell

Yesterday was Miss Kat's IEP. It did not go well. I left the meeting with absolutely no changes to her services or classroom. I cried, the program director cried, her teacher cried. But they were more worried about keeping their "program philosophy" intact than getting Miss Kat the things she needs.

They told me they were unwilling to give her an interpreter to voice during the voice-off class times. They told me they would not give her spoken language time, and they told me they would not give her AVT. They said that if I didn't like it, we can move her to an oral only school. I DON'T WANT ORAL-ONLY!!! I told them that I want Miss Kat to be BI-lingual. I don't want to take away ASL. They even said that the point of the oral only class would be to "wean her off signing".

I asked why she couldn't have these services, and they told me because it goes against their "bi-bi philosophy". Is that a legal argument? I thought that if we as a team decided that a service was appropriate for Miss Kat, than she needed to get it? How is having a CI user in a voice-off school for 6 hours a day the "Least Restrictive Environment"? Again, they the offered oral-only class. HOW IS PUTTING AN ASL USER IN A CLASS WITH TEACHERS WHO KNOW ZERO SIGN BETTER????

Then I asked if we can just change from a classic "speech" pullout to an auditory/aural rehab (AVT) one. Again, they said no. They said that they can't support AVT at the school. So much for "individual" education plan. They admitted she needs that, but they won't provide it......

So, what do we do now? I am dumbfounded. I feel like we are stuck. Why does our state have to be so backward? Why can't they attempt to see the big picture?


I sent the school an email:

I have a few questions about the IEP meeting we had yesterday. It was my impression that there were a few items that were not finished.

My first question has to do with the auditory rehab that Katrina needs for her cochlear implant. It was my impression that Katrina will not be given the appropriate rehab. If that is the case, I would like, in writing, the reason for denial of that service.

Next, we very briefly discussed a "voice interpreter" in her classroom, and again that service was denied. I would like to know the legal reason that was denied as well.

I also felt that we never established appropriate auditory/aural and speech goals. I believe it is very important that Katrina makes at least one years progress in one years time, so we need to have goals that reflect that.

Lastly, I believe that the services that (teacher) is providing in the classroom, as far as listening times, and oral language development need to be noted on the IEP so that we can all be sure that those times will continued in Katrina's next classroom.

I hope this will start the dialogue again. I am going to continue to push. We are going to leave Miss Kat in her current placement, but I am going to fight this battle. I am looking into the option of starting due process now.


Karen Mayes said...

Hmmm... I am glad you brought it up. Oracy is still a new field and there is controvery over it still. So far I know one Bi Bi school (MSD) has a Spoken English program. I have two deaf children who have aptitude for speaking and listening and they are mainstreamed, doing well. My daughter has an ASL interpreter and my son uses CART and both use FM systems. They also did attend a Bi Bi school similar to your daughter's school.

It is a challenge when the main classroom language is ASL... and CI children normally need to take advantage of their auditory training or CIs would be worthless. Pull-outs for speech therapy is normally insufficient (my kids' deaf school allowed twice a week 20 minutes each and then spend the rest of the day in the voice off in the classrooms never made sense to me.)

Well, we could argue over this for a long time, but I want to let you know that I understand where you are coming from. What is best for her and at the same time fulfills the school's philosophy? You could propose to the school that they could start looking into having a Spoken English program for some deaf students with aptitude for speaking and listening.

Or, consider dual enrollments.

Good luck.

JR said...


Just some thoughts I wanted to share after reading your post. I want to ask you to read this knowing that I am not agreeing with the school, or anyone: just sharing some thoughts. I am really sympathetic to your situation and am reminded of some letters my Mom wrote when I was young about her experiences getting services for me. She had a hard time, too.

You want Miss Kat's progress to be as quick as possible. I'm not sure the approach you describe, with a voice interpreter, is the best one for a CI user. As a user of digital hearing aids, I find my best development in learning to speechread or understand other sounds happens when I am watching English subtitles and looking at English speakers. Listening to English words coming a few minutes after the A.S.L. signs, in a different grammatical order, would provide me no development or support at all. I need to have the words I see matching the words I hear. In fact, I might end up being more confused. That's a personal opinion I'm sharing, not something I've read about elsewhere, but I think it makes sense.

Let me give you an example - I teach in a school with both deaf and hearing children in the same classroom. Modifications include using a Smartboard to show text. This text is then read aloud from, with the teacher pointing to the words using a mouse or pointer. All students benefit; hearing students see the words and hear them, deaf students read English words and therefore develop English skills and don't confuse ASL and English, and students like Miss Kat have the opportunity to read, listen to the right English, and subsequently participate in a multilingual discussion. This is an easy modification and you can use a projector or just a large whiteboard with something written on it, too.

As a teacher, I am confused by your school's refusal to provide spoken language time. At the very least they could have a speech therapist work with her verbally, could provide an aide to verbally read while your child reads and listens during independent reading time in class.

A school should never refuse a parent, and an I.E.P. should not be an experience to make a parent cry. I think you're amazing for fighting for your daughter and I'm sorry the school couldn't find a way to work with you yet.

Dianrez said...

This is distressing because it indicates that the people who make decisions about deaf children are still behind the times and thinking. An assumption they still hold is that parents don't know as well as the professionals what is good for their children.

How to get them out of that rut of misguided intentions? From my admitted naivete, I'd gather together papers and persons who favor the bi-bi approach as backup and strongly persuade them to reconsider.

Programs generally listen to parents or else lose students.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

The interpreter is just one of 5 or six suggestions that I put out there! I also asked about a split placement, and was refused.

I asked if we could even just have a Teacher of the Deaf who understood oral language development in CI kids consult with us, they said no to that as well.

In the end all I wanted was for her to get aural/listening time instead of "old fashioned speech" and was still refused even that.

JBKinner said...


I happened to run on to your blog from the deafread.com. Wow! I didn’t expect to find yours there. After reading your blog thoroughly, I cannot help, but notice your "IEP Hell." Although I don't know the whole story, I can imagine how difficult it is for you.

While reading the comments, I agree with Karen Mayes regarding the oracy and dual enrollments. Oracy is still new in the ASL/English bilingual field. Our school is currently participating in the CAEBER training to promote effective bilingual instruction using ASL and English for deaf and hard of hearing students. See the website to get an idea - - http://caeber.gallaudet.edu/ Oracy is still being discussed in the national-wide training and there is quite a lot of controversy over it. There is still no clear definition of what oracy should look like. I think it'll be interesting to see how oracy is implemented in the ASL/English bilingual approach for aural deaf children in the near future.

No offense, as a parent of two deaf children and of course, with my daughter being in Miss Kat's class, I'm not sure if I would feel comfortable allowing ADV in the classroom or my daughter would miss out essential information during the instruction. It wouldn't be fair to her as well as other non-aural kids. The idea of having an interpreter voicing for Miss Kat is okay as long as it does not interfere with the function of teaching. You know, I would want my daughter to have a positive accessible learning experience in her languages at ease – ASL and written English through the method of bilingual instruction. I think other parents feel the same way. Otherwise, they wouldn't enroll their kids at this school of their choice.

Anyway, I'm in favor of dual enrollments. However, I'm sure you know that our school does not have enough number of students simply because parents are not always given full educational methodology information and inappropriate placement procedures are often made. You know the story. In order to expand critical mass in our school, we would have to solve the biased placement procedures that have been ongoing for nearly 4 decades. A large number of promising students with residual hearing and/or ones with cochlear implants are placed in the oral program while the rest are placed in the ASL program.

I thought I would let you know that the school's recent research indicating the successful programs are ASL/English bilingual and Moog Oral Curriculum, the one being implemented at Utah State University and other oral schools in the nation. I believe if the TC students transfer to our school, they will be able to serve various students – from students with implants to students who sign.

If our school had better placement procedure options for parents, more options will be available for Miss Kat, and the better chance to have a split placement or dual program for Miss Kat with enough number of students. That's my 2 cents.

JBKinner said...

Sorry for my spelling error. I mean "AVT," not AVD as I said in my comment. Good luck with your due process.

Miss Kat's Parents said...

First, hello Jodi!

Ok, so, I would NEVER want AVT in our classrooms. It is absolutly NOT appropriate for all (or even most) of the students in our school. I just want to change Miss Kat's pullout speech service from "classic speech" to an auditory rehab (AVT) model.

The reason I will leave Katrina at our school is because education is the most important thing. She is doing so well, and I am unwilling to give up all the positives for speech.

I feel like we are in a sort of limbo right now. The (oral) professionals believe that because she is developing speech and listening skills, that we need to "wean her from ASL". We do NOT want that! We want a bilingual child. I know that she will always need (and want) ASL. I want her to always have access and spoken language doesn't provide that.

I believe that we need to strengthen our school by showing hearing parents that we will support their children in learning spoken language. Many parents want this, and I believe the fear of not having that motivates some to choose another placement. I think that if we add this to our school, we will get more support from those parents.

funnyoldlife said...

Hey, good luck! And well done on fighting for what Kat needs. My parents had to fight so hard to get me what I needed, right up until I was 11 and transitioned into full mainstream school. But they got me the support I needed. Other people just don't understand, do they? Mainstream education doesn't really seem to cater for any 'tweaks' to the system, which is a shame.

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