Today was Jack’s IEP.
We’re professionals at this, so we were prepared.
Basically, they (finally) came to terms with the fact that they are putting unrealistic goals on him, so we’re backing off. They also have decided that his medical issues are bigger issues than his learning disabilities, so we’re going to (finally) take that in to consideration.
They will be sending an occupational therapist to the house to evaluate him for assistive technology (finally) to see if he’s more appropriate for a keyed type computer, or something like an iPad. Either way, it’s a good thing. He still qualifies (easily) for speech. Her goals have changed too. Mostly because he’s not progressing as well as they had hoped, but that’s OK.
They would like him to enter the Medically Fragile Classroom at the start of next year. I’m not sure that’s at all appropriate and I said as much. They actually agree with me, but because they’re “with the District” they have to tell me what the District wants me to hear.
He did fairly well on his testing. Of course, motor skills are quite lacking, and fine motor is worse, but we’re plugging on. We’re going to work on having a picture schedule hanging somewhere for him, so that if there is a change in plans, we can show him by picture, rather than having him freak out over change. I’m not entirely sure that will work, but it’s worth a shot…
That’s it! I’m thrilled that they are (finally) joining the year 2011 and allowing us to discuss assistive technology. It makes no sense for it to be there for use, and them not to allow us to utilize it. It’s going to be a definite improvement over the current frustrations of having a kid with an essential tremor try to write his name and cut with scissors!
It’s over. And it begins.
The IEP meeting was this morning, bright and early. Shirley Sourpuss, and CrackerJack Judy walked in and started spewing off all the things that are wrong with Jack. Then they talked about some of the good points (which is always good). After listening to Sourpuss ramble for awhile, they got to the good stuff: goals and what they’re going to do. He qualifies to be considered home bound because of his immunocompromised state. He, based on the greater than 2 standard deviation failure of his evaluations, also qualifies for speech and a teacher weekly. They labeled him as—you might need a paper and pencil, he’s got a ton–Severe Speech Language Impairment, Significant Developmental Delay, Other Health Impaired, Severe Articulation Delay, and he will also qualify for Adaptive Technology. This school thing is going to be complicated…
So, Shirley Sourpuss comes on Fridays and CrackerJack Judy will be here bright and early Monday mornings. I’m glad I have nothing else to do, like, ever…
Yesterday was our big day. The Developmental Specialist and the Speech Therapist came from the school district to evaluate Jack.
Long story short—Jack was labeled. You know, that is the thing to do. They slap a bunch of labels on your kid so he gets services. While I totally understand this, I don’t like it.
So Jack is qualifying for severe speech (I can’t remember the term….) and Significant/Severe Developmental Delay (and next year probably Other Health Impaired as well). Doesn’t that sum my kid up in a nutshell?
You don’t think so?
Sure, he has issues. Yes, they are becoming more visible the older he gets. I just don’t see him that way. The little man I see is strong and sweet—a little bit devilish—and he’s ours. He may not be what others see as “normal,” but his abnormal has become our normal. His issues are our issues (his people, our people…sorry, had to!).
I will be the first to admit that it hit me hard. I cried. Not because of the labels, but because I don’t see him that way. My job is to advocate for him. I need to fight even harder now…and I also worry about the road ahead of him. What does this mean for him long term? I look at how society as a whole treats people with special needs and I cringe. Disability automatically means unintelligent. People look down their noses and don’t give others a chance to shine. I don’t want my child to get treated like that (and let me tell you, the first time it happens, this Momma Bear is gonna roar…).
Our official IEP meeting is next week sometime. They are more than willing to come to our house (they are going to make him a homebound student), which is awesome—due to his less than stellar immune system.
Tomorrow…there will be good news! I promise!