Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Introducing "The IEP List"

The start of a new school year is as good a time as any to make changes and reorganize, and since I seem to be having more ideas for this blog lately than I ever get the self control to sit down and write about, I'm going to institute a new feature on "Parenting Isn't Pretty." Let's call it, for now, The IEP List -- with IEP standing not for Individualized Education Program, but Involved, Educated Parent (or maybe Information, Education, Procrastination). It will be a daily grab bag of news stories, Web sites, book recommendations, and half-formed musings. Something like this:

1. USA Today, AP and others give statistics gleaned from the 2000 Census about adoptive families. Among the findings: There are 1.6 million adopted kids in the U.S., about 2.5% of all children; 13% are adopted from other countries, of which Korea is #1. I remember that some adoptive parents complained about having to give out that information when the Census was circulating, but it's kind of nice to have the stats now.

2. I don't know what part of this USA Today story on "Captain Underpants" author Dav Pilkey makes me like him more: the fact that he struggled with ADHD and dyslexia as a kid and succeeded as an author as much because of as in spite of them; or the fact that he and Cynthia Rylant, probably my favorite children's author, are "sweethearts."

3. Two stories of dramatically different approaches to dealing with autism: one mom who brought her autistic 8-year-old son to be prayed over in an exorcism attempt that resulted in the boy's death; and another mom who camped out in front of a new Krispy Kreme store for 13 days so that her autistic son, who's 12 and obsessed with the donuts, could cut the ribbon for the store opening.

4. A 9-year-old girl left home alone with her 4-year-old cousin loaded him in her mother's SUV and went for a little joyride. She could barely see over the steering wheel, but managed to weave down a busy street, turn into a parking lot, hit several cars and finally strike a pedestrian. My kids to play at sitting in the driver's seat sometimes, and I've let them start the car a time or two, but maybe I should stress again that actually putting it in gear and leaving the driveway is out of the question. Car insurance is expensive enough without covering 9-year-olds.

5. This bingo game for business meetings makes me think that somebody should be putting one together for IEP meetings. I've sure wanted to yell the victory word suggested a time or two in one of those get-togethers.

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