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Therapy and sanity for ordinary parents of special kids.

Imperfect Math Exercise of the Day: Take out Your Calculator or Abacus.

An abacus from a Danish elementary school. Early 20th century. Size: 40 cm wide, 46 cm high.

Image via Wikipedia

How many IEP Team meetings have  you attended  for your special needs child(ren)?

Gina never really thought about it until she came across this great blog from Terri Mauro at

If the plethora of paperwork in her spare bedroom (now known as the IEP Lounge) is any indication, it must be a lot.  And that right there is probably the main reason for Gina’s crow’s feet, which are quickly becoming crow’s legs from the stress of these meetings and their accompanying paperwork.

In the 11 years she’s been advocating for her two special needs daughters, Gina has experienced the gamut of Team Meeting triumphs and traumas. She left one Team Meeting jumping for joy (the day one daughter was outplaced) and another in despair, asking teachers how they could ignore the needs of her other child. And she’s pretty much experienced every emotion in between — sadness, fear, hurt, surprise, homicidial (just kidding).

Gina has gotten so used to Team Meetings that they’ve just become a natural, unpleasant part of her life like her annual mammogram or tax filing, which she would prefer over a Team Meeting. (NOTE: In a recent Imperfect Shut Up Survey on Facebook, 100% of the respondents indicated that they would rather have a colonoscopy or have their gums scraped than participate in a Team Meeting)

Yet, as Terri talks about in the blog (link below), there will be a day in the not so distant future when a parent no longer has to attend IEP meetings.

What will Gina do with that extra time? Hmmm. Maybe some renovations to the IEP Lounge?

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Reference: 32 IEP Meetings and Counting by Terri Mauro
Do you know how many Team Meetings you have attended?

3 Responses to Imperfect Math Exercise of the Day: Take out Your Calculator or Abacus.

  1. Cara January 19, 2011 at 1:04 am #

    I enjoyed reading this entry and it really hit home for me on a few different levels. It reminded me to look back at the beginning of this journey and remember how far we have all come as parents and advocates for our children. This is my 7th year in the special education maze on behalf of my son and he is only in 5th grade! I forget what life was even like before special education and although I am eager to get to the point where I will be finished going to Team meetings, I can not even envision how that will look in my future. Special Education has become my life; literally, even on the good days, the majority of most days are spent managing the education and treatment of my son. I can not count how many team meetings I have been to; like Gina said , they have just become a natural part of life. I never new I had so many different emotions until after a few heated team meetings! Looking back it amazes me how difficult and painful this whole process has been and how it is a constant struggle to keep the balance of getting what my son needs and keeping a peaceful balance with the schools. Even today, year 7….I had a really great IEP meeting today, but I am exhausted and stressed. I have been stressed about this since the date was set back in September! Although I left the meeting feeling good about it all, when I came home I reviewed all my notes from the meeting and thought about the bigger picture, then cried. I cried because maybe it could have been better, maybe I did not speak up enough, maybe I said too much, maybe his needs would be less intense if something was done differently years ago…this whole process is intense; I am exhausted. As Teri stated in her article, “I interpret every letter, every phone call, every e-mail, every nuance of speech with school personnel…” Special Education is quite a journey!
    I think I just babbled too much and probably jumped around a lot in my comment here, but I was moved to write something in response to your excellent entry. I think it is so important to remember how far we have come and to realize that none of this is easy!

  2. admin January 19, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    Great post Cara! I relate to so much of what you’re saying. I never feel like I’m doing enough or knowledgeable enough. You should be so proud of the work you’re doing. You’re an amazing person, and an incredible mother to a beautiful boy. We feel blessed to have you both in our lives. Gina

  3. Suzanne January 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Thanks for posting this! I just had my son’s high school transition meeting yesterday. Well, part one anyway – there was too much to cover so we’ll have to reconvene. Next year I’ll have both my special needs kids in high school and yes, these meetings, and the anxiety they provoke are pretty much my life. I do think we deserve at least a ribbon! I completely agree about feeling like I have never quite done enough, or done it right, or asked the right questions, or had the right evaluations done…….it really never seems to end.

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