A family's story

Posts tagged ‘IEP meetings’

Still Busy…

The past few weeks have been nutty around here. We’ve been plain old busy…like so many days have something going on…and we have somewhere we have to be. In between all of that, we had Jake’s IEP last week and Tate’s this week. 

Tate’s draft of his IEP made me sad. I’m sure a lot of it was my sleep deprivation…but some days I just get so overwhelmed by all of the delays and reports of behaviors that seem to impede his ability to learn and keep up at school. I sighed..a lot…as I read the draft. But, it was accurate..and the goals were measurable and achievable. I know he can do it. I know it.

The IEP meeting itself was productive. We agree on where he’s at, where we want him to be, and how we’re going to get there. I know I’ve said it before, but we’re incredibly blessed with a good team. They have Tate fairly accurately figured out, and they want to help him get over the bumps.

The best part of the meeting was when we got to his placement. For the first time EVER, he has his lunch and recess with the regular education classes…without the assistance of an aide. You read that correctly…my kiddo has about 200 minutes a week in a regular education setting. First.time.ever that that section of the IEP was filled out. Hubz and I did a victory dance. In addition to lunch and recess, Tate is trying to do P.E. without an aide. And is doing fairly well. His P.E. teacher uses a visual schedule for her classes, anyway, so it is perfect for him. 

I think the most spectacular aspect of this placement is that he can maneuver and cope with the lack of structure that happens in the cafeteria and the playground. He’s got his routine, and it works. 

On top of IEP meetings, just about every weekend is busy between Tate and Cole’s soccer games, Jake’s Cub Scout obligations, and trying to get to Mass on Sundays. I never have a down day. Ever. I am up to my eyeballs in trying to keep all of my commitments straight right now. 

Additionally, as much as I enjoy having Cole in preschool 5 days a week, those 2 and a half hours that he’s there are just not conducive to getting much done. Especially when one is trying to stay with an exercise routine to get healthy. Or I feel like I have to volunteer because, well, I’m a stay-at-home-mom, and what the heck else should I be doing with my time?!

When Cole gets home, it’s all, “Hey, play with me. Entertain me. Be next to me the entire time.” I know that before I know it he’ll be off and doing his own thing, so I really try to keep up with him and play blocks/transformers/legos/read/etc…but it’s also frustrating at times, too. Like, I can’t pee alone right now. He sits right.outside.the.door…every time. Or I can barely get a few chores done. Or write a blog post. 

On top of it all, Hubz is scheduled to go out of town for 2 weeks starting the last week of this month. He’ll get back right before a 5-day weekend that the boys have in November. That is the icing on top of the cake right now. I will have to manage it all by myself, with Halloween in there, and Hubz will be halfway across the world. Quite literally, as he’ll be in China. 

So, that’s us…hopefully I’ll find myself some inner peace soon…and a chance to write more…

IEP Season is Upon Us

Next Wednesday we have Jake and Tate’s IEP meetings. Because so much of the teams are the same, we are doing back-to-back meetings. You read that correctly. Hubz and I get to sit through (at least) 2 hours of IEP awesomeness. What a fun morning, huh??? To be fair, the boys’ teams are great. We know they work really hard with the boys, and that they are doing what they can with the resources that they have. In many ways they are blessings for the boys. We cannot complain.

Tate is struggling with some behaviors, but he is doing okay at school. For once, I’m not at all that worried about his IEP meeting. He is in a good place. His placement is correct, and he is benefiting from the way his subject matter is being taught. He’s learning, and when he struggles, his teacher regroups and figures out a different way to present the material. In addition, he has a great team of ABA therapists, and we are working together this year across school and home therapy. I definitely see progress.

Jake, on the other hand, has me all up in arms. I have had a few exchanges with Jake’s teachers that has my stomach in knots. I get a feeling in my gut that we are going to be asked to put Jake in a self-contained classroom. I asked for a draft of his IEP before our meeting and was told that they would try to get it to me, but that it’s a “work in progress”, so they aren’t sure if I’ll be able to get it in time. (Knot begins.) Then the note went on to say that he requires almost one-to-one attention to transition from activities. (Knot tightens.) Then the note mentions a script that he relies upon all the time. Sigh.

I asked about his attention and focus. Both are not nearly where they were last year. I asked about anxiety. The teachers noted that his anxiety is really high, especially over social studies and science, which are large parts of the fourth and fifth grade curriculum. (Knot expands to size of entire stomach.) The note ended with the fact that he requires a lot of attention and that they cannot give him all of the attention he requires. And how they want to work with us to get him the help he needs to succeed. (Knots form in my shoulders and neck as I tense up.)

So…yeah. That’s where we’re at right now. I feel like I’m going to throw up. I shed a few tears in frustration. I also exercised…but that did nothing to help. I have to run out and refill Jake’s medication prescription, wait for the doctor to call me back, and start reading more of my executive functioning materials. The biggest issue here is that I know Jake needs help..and I just don’t know how to do it. Mom fail.

Alphabet Soup

Today we had an meeting with Tate’s team at school. They did a reevaluation based on his April diagnosis of Autism.

It was like a big pot of Alphabet Soup…we had an IEP meeting to discuss his eligibility changing from DD to ASD. The OT, SLP, SW, and S.E.C. (special education coordinator) were there. His teacher in the EC Kindergarten and the school psych were there, too. In addition to his current placement, we discussed next year (they recommend Instructional First Grade…aka self-contained), as well as ESY. He qualifies for that, too. Dang, sometimes I wish I had zero idea about what I just typed. However, after 3 years, I think we are becoming well-schooled in the topic of special education, therapy, and services.

Somewhat on topic….It kind of stings to read the IEP. There it is in black and white…all of our son’s deficits. All of his goals…many of which are things that come naturally to typically developing children. All of the needed verbal and visual prompts. All of the reiterations of how imperfect he is…at least in terms of typical development. The accommodations. Preferential seating. Special cusions. Extra time. “Special” bussing. (My kid is on the short bus. Thankfully they state it as “small bus.”) Harnesses. Sensory breaks. I know he will benefit from all of these, but still…

The one bright spot in the meeting….AND the part that made me cry, as we parents of children with Autism are wont to do at these things, is when Tate’s OT talked about the goals she has for him…but also stressed how.far.he.has.come. I could have hugged her. I did thank her. We see it..and it is just so great to hear others say it, too. Why? I don’t think I have to tell you, but, well, because it keeps the hope alive. The hope that one day Hubz and I will sit down and be able to watch our son live a productive, happy life.

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