This year was our fifth time through the IEP process… and it actually does get easier, when your child’s in the right placement.
I know that’s not something you usually hear a parent say, but the proof is in the pudding. Going into our third year in the non-public placement, we’re finally seeing the Monster starting to make good progress against the prior year’s IEP goals. Continue reading →
Yesterday was the assistive technology training session for the Monster’s support team at Gateway.
Well, it was the training session for the educational team and my wife. Since the Monster’s still quarantined at home due to hand-foot-and-mouth, he had to stay home with me and R, rather than all of us being at school to learn how to use the “talker”. But the important take-away from it is that everything’s in place to see if this helps him with communicating his thoughts, wants and needs. Continue reading →
We had the Monster’s latest IEP meeting yesterday.
To be fair, the meeting wasn’t a full IEP review – it was to evaluate his progress since the IEP was approved, to go over the assistive technology assessment, and to review a request by us to have the Monster retained in the second grade. But the phrase “IEP Meeting” usually strikes such fear into the hearts of the parents of children with special needs, and…
Understanding what the Monster wants or needs usually’s harder than it looks.
He’s not bad about expressing the basics of his needs, most of the time. He’ll use single words – “eat”, “drink”, “bed” – which usually expresses the gist of what he’s looking for… but getting to the specifics, and to a format that others’ll understand, is another matter.
I’ve entirely forgotten to talk about something important – the Monster’s annual IEP review. I mean, I talked about the prep meeting, and then entirely dropped the subject.
Most parents of special needs kids that I talk to, talk about how horrible the annual process is. To be honest, ours has usually been just a tedious process, until last year’s huge drag-down, knock-down fights. So anything’d be an improvement, right?
Now, I know it’s not been “a year” since his last IEP, since we agreed on the IEP that sent him to Gateway at the end of July. Still, his annual IEP has always been March-to-March, and in spite of how long last year’s took… it’s that time of year again.
Part of going to school is the quarterly progress report.
Our experience with the public schools has been somewhat hit-or-miss when it comes to the actual progress reports – public schools, at least here in Baltimore, have what seems like a weird system to me until you’re in third grade. You don’t get “real” grades (A-E/F), but rather some thing that gives an idea of how you’re making progress. But, as a special-education student, the Monster has been getting that report along with an IEP progress report, and the latter has not been particularly useful.
So with everything that’s happened to get to this point, you’d think that everything was done for the new school year. The Monster was determined to need a non-public placement, we’d seen a couple of schools, and so it’s like anything else – go pick up your transfer packet and show up at the new school, right?
Having decided that the only public placements that we were aware of were not likely to be the right placement for the Monster, barring a program existing of which we had not heard, we decided to do our due diligence and go to see some of the non-public placements that might well be offered for our son. The major issue, in our minds, was the fact that the summer was rapidly coming to an end – several of the private schools that are known for their work with children with Autism go on vacation during August, and there are processes that need to be followed to put a child into such a place.
I’ve decided to start going back over the things that I couldn’t discuss while we were going through the IEP process, and talking about them as they occur to me to write them… so some of these things, over the next few weeks, might seem like they’re coming a bit out of right field.
When we were a few weeks into the school year, and it started becoming apparent that a mainstreamed classroom at Mount Washington wasn’t the right placement for the Monster, we started considering our options. The Temporary Adult Support (TAS) helped to some extent, but it was clear that what the Monster needed really was to be moved to another placement. Continue reading →