Option 3

I have to say that it’s a very big relief to see “Pursuing A Maryland High School Diploma” on the “draft” IEP that we were handed when we attended the Monster’s re-evaluation-ordering meeting today. And yes, I’m aware that it’s silly to be relieved to see that on an IEP for a child who is in kindergarten…

So the goal of today’s meeting was, ostensibly, to discuss the staff evaluations of the Monster so that we could figure out what evaluations to order, since we’re at that three-year point in his educational cycle. Coupled with this, he’s also nearing the end of the “Together We Grow” program, which means that it’s time to transition from “Early Learning” to the normal system.

We came into the meeting with our own ideas of where he should be going next year… and I’ve made no secret that I really would prefer to have him back in our zone school – Mount Washington Elementary-Middle – sooner rather than later. The school is a much better school than Garrett Heights on a test-performance basis, it’s closer to our home, and frankly… I feel a little better about his chances long-term if he’s there as opposed to elsewhere in the city schools.

One of the real problems, though, was my wife’s visit to the zone school a while back, where it was made clear to us that the school cannot accommodate anything like what the Monster has now at his current school… and she was given the impression that such was unwanted to boot. She’s had quite a bit of trepidation about the matter of where he might end up next year, and that’s been bolstered by the fact that the school system’s website is awful about giving options for special education beyond Early Learning.

So after we’d hashed through the reports from his special educator and SLP – the OT and psychologist were not present, and the general educator had nothing to say – and we’d made minor adjustments to the IEP to add in new, harder goals… we got to talking about placement for next year. (We already hashed through ESY as well, a discussion that took about 45 seconds, and he’s going to be getting it.) Specifically, we brought up that there is nothing mentioned on the Baltimore City Public Schools website about what to do with children like the Monster.

So we were given what were perceived as the probable options, straight up.

  1. PAL or another similar program for children with disabilities
  2. Another year at Garrett Heights Elementary-Middle School, with the fall-back to a class like the current one
  3. Returning to our zone school (or another school) with appropriate supports in gen-ed.

The Monster’s team seems to be leaning towards option #3, sending him back to Mt. Washington EMS, for first grade.

Basically, we have questions about behavioral adaptation to the larger environment, which they’ll start preparing for in the spring – they’re already talking about making arrangements, assuming the evaluations come back the way they expect they will, to have the Monster start spending time in a “normal” kindergarten class with a one-on-one aide. The “worst case” they envision is keeping him at GHEMS for another year in a first-grade with similar supports – giving them that fall-back – and then getting him into our zone school the year after for second grade… but their preference seems clearly geared towards doing the move now, since he’s transitioning anyway out of Early Learning.

And that all makes me very happy. (On that note, the IEP coordinator chose to end the meeting there, before I had reasons to “not be happy”. 😉 )

We’ll see how the next few months shape up.

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