Area mom and professional bullshit manager Robin Berry has armed herself with PowerPoint materials and a fancy laser pointer for her son’s annual IEP meeting. Her son, Jaden, is a wheelchair user with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). This meeting takes place at the beginning of each school year to review his classroom and accessibility accommodations.
“With Jaden going into his senior year of high school, one would think these administrators would have their shit together by now,” Berry said as she swallowed ibuprofen in preparation for the inevitable headache that would hit her during the meeting. “Nope. They’re still clueless.”
Berry arrived at the school principal’s office just as Jaden’s occupational therapist, Janice Thompson, entered the room. Neither Jaden nor his mother had seen Thompson since the start of the previous school year.
“Robin, great to see you! How’s Jared?” Thompson exclaimed in a spectacularly screechy voice.
“Jaden is doing well,” Berry said as she downed another ibuprofen.
As Principal Herbert absentmindedly reviewed the terms of Jaden’s IEP plan, Berry stopped him to ask if the school administrators were doing anything about the elevator that had broken down 17 times throughout the previous school year.
“Wait, I thought Jaden could walk some?” Thompson said as she scrambled through her notes to ensure she was talking about the right disabled kid. “He has cerebral palsy, right?”
Reminding herself that this was her final IEP meeting and that Jaden would be in college next year, Berry fired up her PowerPoint presentation with unparalleled speed. For the next 15 minutes, she spoke with the tenacity and relentless spirit of a character in a Lin-Manuel Miranda musical. She gave an overview of SMA and a history of disability rights, preventing Thompson from interrupting her.
Finally, she ended with a slide that read: “FIX THE FU**KING ELEVATOR!!!” in all caps before confidently storming out of the meeting.
As Principal Herbert sat back with a half-eaten donut in his hand, Thompson turned to him with a perplexed look on her face.
“I’m confused. What does her speech about disability rights have to do with Jaden’s IEP plan?”