I keep meaning to post about what’s going on politically, and frankly… it keeps sapping my will to post. So let’s go with something a lot more happy – the Monster had a field trip today from his Hebrew school, and I got voluntold to chaperone.
And afterwards, I’m not regretting it one bit. Continue reading
Like every school child, the Monster has homework most nights of the week.
I’m not sure I remember what homework was like for me when I was a second grader. I wasn’t a typical student, but from what I can remember from second grade, it mostly involved working on book reports, basic addition and subtraction, things like that.
The Monster, with his IEP, works on a lot different things than I recall. Continue reading
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
Last week, I had the opportunity to go to MANSEF Advocacy Day in Annapolis, the first time I’ve ever availed myself of the opportunity.
MANSEF – the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities – is the umbrella group for schools like the Monster’s, private schools that take students from the public school system who need more resources than the schools themselves can provide. (This is a key distinction that I constantly have to emphasize when I’m at various meetings. Yes, it’s a private school… but the city schools pay the tuition to send the Monster there, and he’s still legally a city school student.) Nonpublic special education facilities help the public education system fulfill their FAPE obligations under IDEA. Continue reading
Out of sight, out of mind.
At one point, I thought that the idea of mainstreaming the Monster was the dream we should be reaching for – that he’d do better with his normally-abled peers and that they’d get a better idea of how to live with children with special needs like him. That was before the disastrous wake-up call that we got, in the form of a year wasted, which ended up with his being sent to a “non-public placement”, a private school paid for by the city school system, where he’s doing far better.
The problem? The Monster and children like him are all but invisible to the school district. Continue reading
I think every parent gets that their child is a different person when they’re not around.
To be fair – we’re all different based on context. I know that, despite everything, I’m different at work than I am at home, and still another way on the ice. But, especially, our children are very different people when they’re dealing with the different authority figures in their lives.
Part of the Monster’s IEP specifies that we get daily communication from his teachers. In years past, this has often been a checklist or a couple of lines in a notebook that passes back and forth between us and the school. This year, our communication log is email between ourselves and his teacher. Continue reading
Today was the Monster’s first day of school for the year.
In prior years, he’s been off at camp for the entire summer. We’ve been fortunate that the JCC Camps here all offer ESY (Extended School Year, for those not in the know) integrated into the camp program – while he might not get the general education services that he’d get by attending the city schools’ program, he’s been getting speech and OT, which are what he needs far more than the academics. But this year, since he’s at an 11-month school, he actually has school during the month of July, and so…
Off he went this morning on his yellow bus to go meet his classmates. Continue reading
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?
Right. Continue reading
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.
That’s not how it works at Gateway, though.
Something was said to me over Thanksgiving weekend that reminded me of things I’ve learned since the diagnosis that I’d never realized before it. Continue reading