Today I met with Jake’s IEP team. After all of these years you would think I would be accustomed to these things…but every time I still get butterflies in my stomach. I have to give props to our team–they always, always, always share some positives about Jake. That I can handle. It’s the struggles, the shutting down, the “dys’s” that we talk about that break my heart. I steeled myself as I prepped for our meeting.
We did a domain meeting because the team had the new “outside” report from our neuropsychologist. While everything that the neuropsychologist found is consistent with the school’s evaluation from last year, they still have to review the findings and determine if it affects any of Jake’s IEP services, accommodations and goals. The key to this was giving permission to the team to re-evaluate Jake’s eligibility. Hubz and I have asked (per the neuropsychologist’s recommendation) that Jake’s IEP reflects his ADHD, and includes it as an OHI (Other Health Impairment). Essentially, we want to make sure that as Jake improves in other areas as a result of his interventions, that it is always duly noted that his brain works slightly differently from a neurotypcial child’s brain, and as a result, he will need some extra help along the way.
This year I feel so positive. So many members of Jake’s team are rooting for him and really want to help him succeed. Our social worker is amazing. She’s just generally a great person who really looks out for all of the students. She is working with him in a social group to help him out of his shell. Our OT has been working with him since first grade. She is a very gentle therapist who understands how sensory issues can impact Jake’s entire day. Today she remarked how once he is shown coping skills, he implements them. She said he has come far from the point we were at 2 years ago when he’d shut down and hide under his desk when things got too frustrating. He will tell her that his “brain is getting crazy”, and she knows that she needs to give him a break, and then he’s ready to work. Jake’s teacher and resource teacher are an amazing team. They talk and share information about how he’s doing in their classes. They are working together. They were both mentioning how he can tell them when he’s getting overwhelmed, and that he knows what works to calm himself down. I am overjoyed that they are approaching Jake’s education as a team effort.
Our speech therapist is new this year. This is the 3rd therapist in 3 years for Jake. Our district just cannot keep a hold of speech therapists…it is a bit disconcerting to me, especially since BOTH of my children require speech services. Anywho, she, the psychologist, and the coordinator all agreed that Jake should keep his 60 minutes of speech services. They are sending home an amendment to the IEP today. Jake’s schedule reflects the 60 minutes. I feel like a Staples commercial–that was easy. It just makes sense–his primary qualification for special ed services is the speech/language impairment. Um, hello?! The speech therapist seemed confused as to why the prior speech therapist wanted to decrease his minutes…so this is good news. Jake definitely needs that extra attention.
The meeting went quite well. All of the specialists are going to review the data from the report and will add their current observations. I know they get like 60 days to do this. Jake’s new IEP meeting will be later this fall, and that’s when his new IEP will start–and will include his ADHD diagnosis. So we wait.
As we were wrapping up, Jake’s teacher and resource teacher shared with the group that Jake’s MAP test reading score went up TEN POINTS! That is HUGE!! Especially considering that we just came off of summer break. I got misty when they shared that with us. TEN POINTS. We were all saying how it’s so rewarding to see the progress after all of the hard work that he’s been doing…that they’ve all been doing. He couldn’t have gotten there without his teachers, therapists, and the support at home. All of those days and nights fighting with him to pick up a book and read…it has finally started to sink in!!! I am beyond thrilled. The math portion of the tests are next week. I don’t foresee any big jumps there, as he struggles mightily…but I would be happy with just staying where he was in spring of last year. We shall see.
So, I left the meeting with zero butterflies, a positive outlook, and hope. The hope is what keeps me going. He can do it. Given the right tools and supports, my scattered little man CAN and IS making progress. And for now, that is motivation enough to keep me going.