So we’re part way through the summer – if I read my calendar right, we’re about seven weeks from the start of the Monster’s first year of public school. (And that’s weird enough to think about.)
The other thing that happens over the summer is that my employer announces the latest slate of employees who have been selected for our in-house leadership-training program. Unlike last year, I didn’t bother to do more than scan the message to see if anyone from our office was selected.
I already knew my name wasn’t on it. I didn’t apply this year.
Since the Monster was diagnosed as being Autistic, and before that when he was simply ‘greater than 25% developmentally delayed’, we’ve been on a succession of education plans – first, an IFSP through the Baltimore City Infants and Toddlers Program and now an IEP through Baltimore City Public Schools. None of these plans are wholly transferrable to any other jurisdiction – even Baltimore County (less than 200 meters to the north) would only take his IEP as a base to start from with one of their own. That’s not to say that I blame them at all for it, but one would like to think that at the very least, any new jurisdiction could just accept the goals portion and look at how they can implement it, rather than having to create the entire thing – including potentially requesting new evaluations of his abilities – from whole cloth each time.
The leadership training program is made up of four half-year stints in different operating units of the company. Because of the nature of the company, one or more of these could potentially be elsewhere than my current unit – meaning that, with very short notice, I could be getting transferred across the country or world for six months at a time while in the program. Obviously, this is a no-go – I’m not leaving the wife with both kids, one of whom is special-needs, for that kind of a duration and the IEP won’t allow them to come with me elsewhere.
There was also another offer within my department for reassignment to another project for a few months. Beautiful opportunity in a very visible project. The problem was that it too required a short-term relocation (3-5 months), as they wanted all of the developers on-site for the start. Again… even though most of it was over the summer, it’s a no-go for the ‘leaving the kids alone with the wife’ reason.
I really wish that they could come up with a way to make IEPs more transferrable. I mean… this essentially locks us in to really only moving between school years, for concern of having to go through the process mid-year if we moved to another school district. (I don’t know that I’d do that to the kids anyway.) It seems to me that this is another stumbling block that families dealing with an ASD don’t need to be running into. In our case, since the Monster has a May birthday, we’re doubly stuck – we’d have to still do the IEP in our current district (to cover May/June and any potential ESY services), and then redo the IEP in the new district prior to the school year to ensure he’s covered there as well. The whole process is broken, if you ask me.
The bigger issue to me is that it also does damage to my prospects for advancement in the company. A lot of the positions above me require a decent amount of travel. It’s not that having a special-needs child is going to – itself – hold me back, but it certainly feels sometimes like the whole situation sucks in that direction…