Having just exitted a four-hour IEP meeting in a traditionally litigious school district, I have come to the realization that delayed echolalia is not an ASD-specific symptom.
My job in an IEP meeting is multi-faceted. Much work occurs between myself and the family before we ever get into the IEP room. Once in the room, though, I translate the ABCs of IEPs. I present concerns. I offer our ideas. Success depends on a variety of variables — the district, the relationship previously developed between the school district and the family, my relationship between the school/school district/teachers, and the general tenor of the meeting.
In some school districts, I’ve become used to rejection and failure. Suggesting ideas that I’ve thought about, pained over, and even prepared the materials for and having those ideas rejected is sometimes like being told your name is “weird”. Something so integral to you is unwanted.
A new but familiar flavor of rejection occurred today. My suggestions, even if presented through the voice of the parents, were rejected. Then, 20 minutes later, a member of the school district replayed my suggestion in their voice. It’s like watching the cast of Glee of sing Lady Gaga or Elton John. It’s like eating cotton candy at the dentist — a familiar, pleasing taste in the wrong place.
In the end, I set my pride aside. Cotton candy is great, no matter where. The suggestion works, no matter who presents it — as long as it is accepted.