Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IEP Meetings and other crazy slices of life

We had Sam's IEP meeting (ok, Part 1) today. So many different things to report.

I've hired an Educational Consultant to join us for this set of meetings, since we are talking about transitioning from his tiny Jewish Day School environment into a considerably larger high school next year. I don't feel like we needed an Advocate, as that usually indicates an antagonistic relationship. I think the Public School team and the Day School team have all been FANTASTIC advocates for Sam over the years. I just wanted a Consultant's-eye-view of things, so we don't miss any important details. So I had a great initial meeting with the Consultant the other day, and she raised wonderful and thought-provoking questions.

Today's meeting had our typical cast of thousands:
- me
- David
- Sofia (who had an Early Release day; I was armed with her video player and her Mobigo game)
- the Consultant
- the Learning Specialist from MWJDS
- Sam's English and History teacher from MWJDS
- the Team Liason
- the Ashland Adjustment Counselor, whom he meets with every 6 days
- the Ashland Reading teacher who teaches him every 6 days
- the Speech/Language specialist and the OT, both of whom are on Sam's team as the Technology advisors.

It was bittersweet for me: the OT has been on his team since first grade, and is also on Sofia's team, and she's leaving the district in a few weeks after 19 years. I feel like I'm losing a great friend and a champion for my children. And she proved even more what a champion she is with her comments to me about Sofia after Sam's meeting (more below).

So as usual, we only got about a third of the way through the actual IEP document, but we made some terrific progress.

One slight monkey-wrench that was thrown in last week was that a representative from Gann Academy, the Jewish high school, came to talk to Sam's class, and now OF COURSE Sam wants to go to Gann. Which would be lovely if
  1. We had another 0 after David's salary
  2. We lived about 30 minutes closer, and
  3. Sam didn't have such the learning and emotional issues he does have.
I'm willing to go look, and to discuss it with the school, but I honestly think the pressure at Gann would be way too much for him. Mr. Perfectionist is still freaking out because he got an 80 on a math exam. He's an all-or-nothing kind of kid; no grey area for him. In his mind, 80 = fail.


Anyway, we'll continue the discussion next week, and start making some visits to the guidance counselor at the public high school (who also phoned in to the meeting for a few minutes). All in all, a good start.

On the way out, the OT pulled me aside. With one foot out the door already, she could tell me as a friend that we really should start re-evaluating Sofia's supports and placement. Her current Inclusion Class has well over 20 kids in it, and without a 1:1 aide, Sofia is not getting nearly enough attention and help. She said the other staff all agree (including the wonderful classroom teacher), but since the ideal class setting for her somehow does not exist this year, no one is able to speak up. As she is on her way out, she can say it, and knowing the Kind of Mother I am, she knows I'll be able to actually do something about it.

Which means that now I have to figure out WHAT to do about it.

So I'll be trolling my DS and Special Needs chat boards for ideas. Please comment or email me if you have a suggestion! (I don't want to jump on the chat boards right now. The DS community lost another child today: parents rushed child to ER for what they thought was a stomach bug, and she ended up coding. A team of 17 docs worked on her, but she lost the battle this afternoon. Terrifying and so very sad.)

Meanwhile, middle child informed me the other day that "I don't like Maturity." Ok. I'vebeen doing a lot of considering of him. I sometimes call him "Peter Pan" because he so very desparately does not want to grow up. I also call him Oedipus! The other day I sang him Tom Lehrer's "Oedipus Rex" on the way to school. When he got out of the car, he said, "Bye. Love you - but not too much!" That kid cracks me up!!!