We had Edda’s IEP meeting this morning. An IEP is an Individualized Educational Program – all kiddos who have special needs have this in place in order to qualify for special needs services. Now that I’m almost a decade out from getting Edda’s diagnosis and now that I’ve attended a decade of these meetings, I was determined to be cheerful and optimistic at this meeting. The goal was not to cry. Things are going great for Edda. She’s in a good mood, she loves school and we all love the people who work with her. There were the following eight people at Edda’s meeting: her teacher, the assistant principal, school psychologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, gym teacher, speech therapist, and augmentative communication specialist.
Even this report that I got earlier in the week did not deter me from my plan of cheerfulness and optimism.
A few months ago, they gave me a form in which I had to answer about 200 questions about what Edda could do. I think the simplest questions were like “Can she sit independently?” and moved on to “Can she put on a sweater?” to “Can she follow two instruction commands?” to “Can she keep her room tidy?” and finally “Can she manage her frenemies? or “As a hotel concierge, can she make restaurant reservations while soothing an irate customer?”
I think Edda could only do one thing out of the 200 things. There is no disputing that Edda is performing at an extremely low range compared to that of her peers. But when you take a careful look at the numbers in the above report, none of the DATA made any sense. Look: the standard score is 100. But then somehow the full scale score is 40, which somehow <0.1%. But shouldn’t 40/100 be 40%? And the full scale score if 40 from three component scores of 49, 55 and 40 <- that doesn’t make any sense either.
I was like, whatever, who cares what the data says, let’s move on. Jeremy on the other hand, the lover of statistics, the guy who got a PhD in statistical analysis of polymers, who taught me statistical mechanics, got really interested in the data and got the psychologist to actually pull out the bell curve for the questionnaire and once we saw the bell curve, we understood. 100 is the mean score (not like 100% on an exam), with statistical deviation of 15. So with a score of 40 on the test, we are really more than 3 standard deviations from the mean. Three! More than three, it’s really 4, right? 100-15-15-15-15 = 40. Edda’s one in a million. Or 99.994%. Is that one in a million? I can’t math tonight. At that point in the meeting, I was actually kind of laughing to myself at Jeremy – he can’t resist digging into the statistical analysis of the the data even though it doesn’t matter in the end.
Anyways. I cried. And I made at least 2 other women in the room cry. It was a tough day.