Last week Dennise Goldberg a special education advocate and mother of a child with special needs shared the Top Ten Most Ridiculous Comments Heard at an IEP Meeting.
Apparently many parents can relate as the post has been shared over 1,000 times and over 50 parents shared their own IEP experiences.
We took 30 of these comments and are re-posting them here for you to read, share and comment on.
We’ve heard some good ones, too:
- “From my perspective, there is no personality. There is only behavior.”
- “We don’t consider reading to be a significant skill at this age.” (Child was 19 months old and reading, along with many other autistic traits.)
- “He will receive the same services no matter what the diagnosis is.” (We moved to a different school district after that one; all subsequent IEPs have been wonderful since then.)
Here’s a “good” one. I was sitting in our son’s IEP meeting in 2008 before we moved to Michigan. My wife had already walked out in disgust. I said “Before I sign it I have a couple of questions.” The PRINCIPAL of our son’s school looked at me and said “OH just sign it! I’m sick of your questions and sick of you!” The women from the school district had the most shocked look on their faces. I didn’t sign it as it was the end of the school year and I knew we were leaving anyway. Neither the principal nor his teacher wanted him at the school and they weren’t equipped to deal with a child who wasn’t a lemming. I’m so glad we left that city. As my mother would say, I only wish the principal twice whatever she wishes me.
gertie @ The Old Block House
“Your student no longer qualifies for an IEP or 504, because he’s doing so well.” He was doing well, because of what we had in place. Fortunately, he has teachers that understand his needs and all is going well. If it weren’t for those teachers, things might not be. This week we’re celebrating his first time on the Honor Roll with all A’s and B’s.
Ha! They said my 6 year old no longer needs an aid/supports because he was doing so well. So they removed them without telling me. Suddenly he’s throwing chairs and reverting into ‘Mario land’ again and they blame it on every little thing at home. 3 months later, with a new aid, they still haven’t been able to ‘fix the issue.’
When my son was in pres-school program I had a teacher start to cry at the IEP-I had asked her something about the PECS program and she looked at me funny–I said “ya know PECS Communication System—You DO know what that is, right??, I mean you are working with autistic kids, you must know” She started to cry, I got annoyed and said, “Oh no, you are not crying!!” & she left the meeting…..strange. It was shortly after that we were in litigation for out of district placement.–oh yea, we won
Have you ever heard this one? “We don’t believe your child has Autism so we are not acknowledging it or taking it into consideration when writing accommodations for him”
My favorite – the teacher who wrote OCD on the IEP. My son has never been diagnosed with OCD. She thinks he is ADHD and should have more medication. I say she should understand what the word “individualized” means in the acronym IEP.
“If he learns sign language, how would we talk to him?”
Excellent post! I would add my own personal favorite ridiculous comment heard at my son’s IEP meeting last year, “I didn’t go to school to teach these kinds of kids.” My second favorite ridiculous comment, “Yeah, we don’t do that here.”
trying to discuss why I thought the classroom the district wanted to place my daughter in was to low functioning for her….the speech therapist commented “why don’t you just bring a box of toys for her to play with then.” he was serious!
Once in an IEP meeting we had an elementary school principal stand up and get on a phone to God knows who, and announce, “These people have no idea what they are doing” because my husband and I disagreed with her plan to send our child with Asperger’s and debilitating anxiety into first grade with no support. She wanted to give the typical students a “signal” to leave the room if my child had a meltdown, so the teacher could deal with our daughter. If you need a “signal,” the child needs support.
Members of her staff sent private messages of apology afterward.
It appears that things haven’t changed in the last 15-20 years. In an IEP meeting for my son who has phonological dyslexia, the school psychologist said, “It really doesn’t matter if he can read or write. He’ll have a secretary to do it for him.” He was referring to when my son would be grown and working, of course. The comment made me so infuriated and motivated me to fight even harder for my son’s education. So what’s he doing for a living now? He’s a performer and a WRITER. Some of his plays have been produced. Without a secretary.
Cindy Bevington Olmstead
Here’s one for you: He’s at the top of the group in reading, and really belongs in a higher level two steps up, but we can’t do anything about it because the group isn’t ready to move up. But don’t worry. We’ll go ahead & pass him, even though the rest of the group is going to have to repeat first grade.
I got 2 more for you. One for my friend, who’s son is 4. They told her her son is ‘only autistic at home.’ one for my 5 year old, whom they said, ‘although he is normal (my 5 year old has pdd-nos) we think his severe pervseveration (sic) of Mario is because him mom lets him play the game all day long, and needs to expand his experiances.’ uh… We banned Mario for like a month and he still played it… And how do you explain all the other autism symptoms? Lol
Amy Gould Caraballo
After just proclaiming she is extremely knowledgeable about Asperger’s Syndrome, from the mouth of a school psychologist after we suggested our son needed a sensory diet.
“Our cafeteria does not have the ability to provide this.”
My son has a learning disability and is two grades behind in reading. For his other subjects I dared to suggest that his tests not have long columns of matching because he can’t read it and process it all on that grade level. Everyone looked horrified and said, “But that would mean changing his tests! We can’t change tests!” Ummmm yes you can…it’s called MODIFICATIONS. But as that means more work for the teacher, I’m not surprised that they balked at the idea!
I could chime in with a couple brilliant ones, but my favorite would be “You need to accept the fact that your son (who was in 4th grade at the time) will never be able the to read and do basic math. It is all the extra pressure you put on him that is causing the extreme anxiety. Not that he is a classroom of kids who are doing above grade level work, we talked to him and and told him that it was OK that he couldn’t do anything in school but color” or the behaviorist who did a 3rd level FBA on my son in May of 3rd grade and said he was fine, didn’t have any behavior problems that couldn’t be managed in the classroom, but just in case he was anxious he could get up and leave class ANYTIME HE WANTED and could come back when he wasn’t so anxious. Next year they did a FBA (same idiot) and he is ruled emotionally disturbed with severe anti-social problems (behaviors were only observed in the autistic classroom, not in the mainstream classroom) and I should sign the paperwork to put him in RTF where he could get the specialize treatment he needed. Yes we went to Due Process (twice actually for the same year, and mediation 3 times because the school district kept on pulling stupid stunts), and he is now in a great school that is just amazed at what his IEP says and ignores it because it is so far off. Or how about the LEA saying that it was normal that my son’s IQ dropped from a 126 to a 68 and had nothing to do with the school. They administered both test 3 years apart
My favorite quote in an IEP meeting was from another speech therapist. I worked in early intervention at the time and was at the initial IEP. She said “he didn’t talk so how do I know he needs speech therapy.”
It’s always interesting to hear the excuses that the Districts come up with. My daughter has a critical illness as well as learning disabilities and ended up having a bone marrow transplant. However, when questioned why they hadn’t been pushing her to her potential, they responded by saying, “Well, we didn’t push her educationally as we didn’t know how long she would live. We focused more on her emotional stability in school.” This comment was after her bone marrow transplant which cured her. Two years earlier, this same case manager told me that my daughter would never read properly because of her dyslexia, and that I should prepare myself for that. I told her that many people with dyslexia went on to do great things not only for this country but for the world.
I was told…. “with your sons diagnosis of PDD/NOS that doesn’t qualify him for all the service he needs. Because that is NOT an AUTISM diagnosis, so if you could get your doctor to change the diagnosis he would be able to get his one on one aid back..”
Now mind you he had a Aide last year with the SAME diagnosis that he has this year!
Some that we have heard about my son who has hemiplegic CP from a stroke in utero.
- “He compensates well enough with his left hand, he doesn’t need therapy to improve his right hand.”
- “If your Dr told you that with his neurological impairment that he would ever be fully functional then they were lying to you.”
- “He is independent with putting his coat on, you just have to hold it open for him. He is independent pulling his pants up you just have to straighten them out for him before he can pull them up.” (I am pretty sure that is ASSISTED)
Wow! I have had the same problem. But i get told that my 15yr old is just lazy. I have been fighting with the school since he was in 5th grade telling them that they are not looking at the problem and choosing to ignore it.
my contribution is…”We could put him in a social skills class..but he is nonverbal”….to which his current preschool speech teacher stated “he is NOT nonverbal..he communicates through his talker and can functionally communicate with peers…” So the IEP team was deciding my son had no social needs or skills based on type of language expression..ignorant..this in a top rated district…
During one of my child’s conference with the teacher, she told me multiple times that she did not know how to teach my child. He no longer goes to that school!
Incrediby #8 & #9 have been said to me! I have also been told my son didn’t qualify for an aid unless he was a flight risk or a danger to others! Due to budget cuts we just can’t offer it! I took them to court and my son has aids! And the district paid for my attorney!!
Here is a video with actual audio of my son’s court case last year. I have moved school districts since and now love my son’s school program. He is now included 95% of his time in gen ed. However, the same school district is not allowing my 6 year old 1st grader to eat in the lunch room with her gen ed peers, she is having to go back to the sp ed room and doesn’t get to go out to recess after lunch. They told me yesterday at the IEP meeting that because she can not talk, no one at lunch would want to talk to her and that no one would want to sit by her. She does have regular students that are her friends. They are denying her the LRE to eat lunch in because she can not speak!
During an IEP meeting for my son I actually had a physical therapist say the following statement to me: “I don’t feel it appropriate to remove your son from the class setting to do physical therapy until he is a functioning walker but you are definitely welcome to take him out of school for therapy somewhere else.” (My child is in a wheelchair but is regaining the ability to walk and does so slowly with assistance.)
She did not feel it appropriate to remove him from the setting to the other side of the room to do therapy where he can still hear the lessons, but it was okay for me to completely remove him from the school.
We are getting ready for round two of this discussion with yet another meeting.
I just don’t understand how people can be so uncaring of the welfare of a child. After 12 years I am still continually amazed.
Our school district’s “Autism Specialist” decided that after an hour of er playing with him, my son didn’t exhibit enough markers for her to label him ASD under their guidelines.She said he needs to meet at least 3 markers, and he meets the first two. She refused to look at any of the OTHER markers to see if he fits those. Instead she said “No, we go in order. Before we look at #4, he has to meet #3. He’s not violent and he’s aware of his surroundings, so he doesn’t meet the criteria needed for us to keep our funding.”
How about, “Your child doesn’t need help, he just needs to get beat up on the playground.” (Child has anxiety and dyspraxia)
A cochlear implant gives you hearing, my daughter is now a 1st grader and speaking and listening beautifully!