Next week we do another turn on the IEP dance floor. This is a biggie. We change fromt eh world of preschool to that looming unknown of kindergarden. Real school. SOLs. Full day education.
This was the fall I was supposed to put my little boy on a big yellow school bus for the first time. Instead, it will be our fourth year- old hat. It will just happen earlier in the morning. I actually remember the first time I got on a school bus. The morning was cool and dewy, and I had on a jumper and red checked shirt that I dearly loved, it was really comfortable, and shoes that weren't so much. I can still smell it, the metallic damp of the bus and the plastic seats that were too hard to really get comfortable on. Joey loves riding the bus. It will be a comfort as we send him off into a new world.
It won't be completely new, though. We're probably going to go ahead and put him in the summer program the schol cooked up on the fly; it will give him a chance to get used to the new building, and provide him a very regular schedule or most of the summer. The point is to not have him freak out for months and waste more time at school than absolutely necessary. Maximize the learning, that sort of thing.
We decide the setting Joey will be in. Will we put him in the self-contained classroom, with the spectacular teacher, lower student: faculty ratio, but not as much exposure to non-disabled peers? Or do we try to press for LRE, despite the teacher being lukewarm and no aide available? The school personnel find his "behaviors" disruptive, so they want him in self-contained; but how much of it discrimination against his way of expressing himself, and how much is really of concern? So what if he tracks instead of giggling with his classmates when he's bored? Shouldn't it be the BOREDOM that is addressed, not my son's way of expressing it? Its not like he's hurting anyone.
My private OT is coming to the meeting. She's as unhappy as I am with the OT situation at school. The OT is the only person that holds over from the preschool; she's the only OT in the system. With all the kids they now know need OT services, you'd think that they'd start hiring OTs, just like they now have several SLPs. But no- we're stuck. So I'll bring an actual professional to help us determine goals.
I also have located a few online resources for determining "kindergarden readiness." Why these weren't pulled out when I was asking about what skills he needed for kindergarden back in September, I have no idea- they are right off the VDOE website- but that's all water under the bridge now. I have these tools now, to take with me and ask about. "He can't sit and listen to a story for ten minutes. He can't tell you his first and last name. He can't button his own clothes. These are skills VDOE says are signs of kindergarden readiness. How will you be addressing these issues?"
As usual, they will probably try to fluster everything and say they are being addressed in goals that sound vaguely connected to these skills, while missing the point. Then they'll tell me they know best, since they are professionals, and have been working with him for three years now. And it will all be so that they only provide what they absolutely must, and at their own convenience.
It's going to be a long week.