I'm officially on the receiving end for special education services.
Today we had our very first Individualized family Service Plan Meeting as my daughter was determined eligible to receive services via the Early Start program of the regional center in coordination with the special education department of the county office of education.
The day before I had to fill out forms to get my daughter placed for the early intervention services, your usual start up process... i had a melt down filling out the forms. After all, it was different this time.... i had to fill out a form as a parent rather than the case carrier/special education teacher. I almost didn't finish filling them out.... but i had to and eventually i would have to get used to it.
It was weird seeing my name on the parent line on the meeting notice form when usually i would find my name at the bottom as the case carrier.
It was quite odd to meet people who are colleagues having to take in the role of service providers for us, the parents.
When the psychologist/administrator designee asked me about my daughter, my initial thought reaction was "Didn't you read/review the files prior to this meeting?"... most likely this was due to the fact that i already am tired giving a litany of the complications that my daughter has. But i did it anyways. I almost choked on tears, but I was able to hold it up pretty nicely.
We were read our rights, blah blah blah we know that already as we talk about it with the parents we've worked with. We were handed a book of resources in our area, the same handbook that was in a corner in my husband's classroom that he would pull out to provide resources with the parents he works with. We heard the detailed reports and results of the assessments that they have done with Isabella, and goals within the year were discussed. Same process and meeting agenda that we are already familiar with when we facilitate IEP meetings.
And although the purpose of all this is to have a plan of action to help my daughter reach her fullest potential... somewhere deep inside I felt helpless, clueless, and weak. Although i may have to say that i was able to fake it really well.
Advocating for my very own flesh and blood feels very different as i still feel crippled by the emotions that come with the reality of my situation.
It feels a little weird having to be on this side of the table. It might take some getting used to.