Our First Conference

Yesterday was our first conference with our Monster’s teacher.

I have to admit that I don’t know what I expected going into this – this is the first time I’ve been on this side of the table.  I’ve been the one that was being discussed, and I’ve been the teacher. (Yes, Hebrew school, for about four years.  Don’t look so shocked.)

This wasn’t the first time we’ve met his teacher – we did, after all, have Back To School Night about three weeks ago, the wife’s met her on another occasion, and I had a five minute conversation with her when I picked him up from school.

Still, this was an opportunity to find out how he’s actually doing, not just talk about what the curriculum looks like or what the teaching style is.  His class has expanded to eight kids now – four on IEP and four neuro-typical – and we have some concerns about how things are going, but today’s focus was really on how he himself is doing.

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, our son is very good at some of the pre-K academics.  It’s the soft-skills that we’re more concerned with when it comes to his being in school.

His teacher let us know that he has a ‘friend’ in class who he hugs or holds hands with at points during the day.  (She commented on having to break him of his habit of hugging and kissing people.. which would be our fault. Ah, well.)  He’s apparently got a few kids in class who are very fond of him and try to help him more than they should, but it sounds like he’s getting some kind of social stimulus… which is what he needs.

We did bring up our concerns about staffing – there’s only one para-professional, and we had been promised two when the class got larger.  That para has also been out of the class for health reasons for a few days now, and we brought up that we find that unacceptable as well.

In terms of the other portions, we also brought up that we find the lack of communication from the occupational therapist unreasonable, and the ‘excuse’ was the high holydays.  (I pointed out that it’s been a month, and there’s been plenty of time for her to contact us outside of that.)  We’re looking now into calling a full team meeting, short of an IEP review, to request a review of what’s going on with our son and to establish a baseline.

On the note of a baseline, we’re happy, I think, with how they’re going to establish that he’s making progress in class.  I find the evaluation system they’re using to be fair and reasonable, and I’m going to be keeping a close watch on it.

All in all, it was a good conference.

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