In the 7th grade, we were playing tug of war during field day. We won which sent us all toppling backwards as the other team came tumbling forwards. I broke my arm, but we won and that’s all that mattered!!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011, we had the meeting with D’s school to develop his IEP. Since our car went kaput in the middle of the Walmart parking lot the night before, Chad took the rental car to the school and I stayed behind to do the IEP meeting by conference call. I’m sure the IEP team was
relieved disappointed to hear I would not be attending in person. They were, however, understanding of our circumstances and made faces about listened well to what I had to say.
All joking aside, the tone of the meeting was much different than the tone of the eligibility meeting. The difficult part of defending our position on eligibility determination was over. We no longer had to defend ourselves, but instead come together with the team of people who have a true interest in what D needs on a day to day basis. I do believe this team of people was much more understanding and willing to work with us to do what was best for D and that certainly made us all feel more at ease.
We all agreed that D would need someone to process his day with at the end of the day to help him understand how the day really went, rather than how he perceives it went. (For example, “D, you received a 2 our of 3 for behavior. Let’s talk about why that 2 happened.” Then, they discuss what lead up to the 2 and how he can change it. This is different than him coming home mad with no idea of why he got the 2.)
We also all agreed that we need to get his attendance up and we worked out some incentive plans for that. In the past, incentives have not worked for him. The anxiety is too intense for him to understand or care about the incentive. However, we were willing to give it a try. Maybe the incentive will work for their situation. If not, we will come back to the table to see what else to try.
Finally, we agreed that he needs to complete at least 80% of the work that his same age, non disabled peers complete. At this point, he completes only math and reading. He does the science and social studies work, but is not taking those tests because the test anxiety is debilitating. We are not worrying about homework, but he will be able to work on homework in the last 30 minutes or so of his school day with a chosen adult when he feels comfortable leaving the classroom to do so.
In the eligibility meeting, we were informed that while D has significant pragmatic, idiomatic, and nonverbal language delays, his overall speech language evaluation score was not significant enough to make him eligible for continued services. Those of us who really know D know that he needs the social language training. This was the only thing extra that we had to ask for. The principal automatically agreed and said that we would add that to his IEP. He would receive social language training 3 times per week for 15 minutes. He will receive the training through social stories and social situations that will allow him to transfer his knowledge.
During the meeting, everyone was on the same page. The team listened to us, his parents, the ones who really know him. They cared about D enough to listen and try to work with us for his benefit. This meeting was the first time I did not feel like the district was trying to strong arm me. We were in the meeting to determine what was in his best interest and we all cared about just that, D’s best interest!
I would like to publicly thank the special education teacher, both of his regular education teachers, and his principal for all caring about D. I would also like to thank the assistant principal who has had to act as babysitter to D for a couple of these meetings. I am truly pleased with how this has worked out.
Now? We just have to get this kid to school on a regular basis. *big deep breath* It’s kind of like, we won the tug of war battle, but I still have a broken arm. 😉