Thursday, January 31, 2008

Upcoming triennial

In the good ol' Commonwealth, every three years, whether you need it or not, unless it is absolutely obvious what the outcome will be, in which I suspect they just don't bother to invite the parents, you have to have a meeting to re-determine your child's eligibility for special education (Yes, Ann, I did look into what I had been told, and from the regs, I would say the triennial is required for all sped kids... anybody find where it might not be? Long story of how I was told "obvious" cases don't require a triennial). Ours is scheduled for Feb 22. I plan on coming fully armed, just in case.

We have been really happy with Joey's teachers this year, but our past history of meetings in this system has been less than satisfactory. I have no clue whether this is going to be a pat on the head or an ambush. I alerted our private SLP and OT. Should I call Kluge and get a new letter? Are there private educational consultants I should be consulting? Should I try to drag something in writing from our ABA therapist?

Because the facts we are facing is that Joey could not go into a classroom without support. He can't communicate effectively. He can't socialize effectively. He'd drown.

When we started the school thing- three and a half years ago now- we thought he'd be going into an inclusion room by now. Now our goal is for third grade. And we're wondering if we won't be sliding it to sixth grade. We know so much more about autism and about Joey about the pervasive nature of his disabilities (and his abilities!). We're gearing for what we expect to be the next big battle: what to do with a child who is both special needs and gifted? How do you deal with a kid who academically is leaving everyone in the dust, but who needs the support to get through the labyrinth of simple social interaction and specialized testing? The special ed systems around here are all set up for mental retardation, for kids who need social supports and academic remediation. It is definitely not set up for Joey. Kids are supposed to be reading by the end of kindergarden, not the beginning... and not in special ed.

One good sign is that this teacher is asking whether we think Joey is going to need ESY (summer service). Although we know this may just be a way of feeling us out in order to try to put together a rebuttal, but these teachers seem more interested in Joey's progress than that. You just don't know. In the past, it was used to block us as much as possible, so we have to be prepared. Brush off the latest version of PowerPoint...


Niksmom said...

Oh, gracious. You just reminded me of why I dread the idea of eventually sending Nik back to school. I will think positive and supportive thoughts as you prepare for the meeting. Wishing you the best of luck and that the meeting outcomes are in Joey's TRUE best interests.

Club 166 said...

Given some of your past interactions with the school system, I think it's prudent to go in "fully armed". Get as many letters and supporting evidence as you think you'll need, and don't be afraid to ask for another session to "get more info" if you feel you're being railroaded.

We, too, don't know how to get the school to approach the SPED and gifted problem. I'm not sure that Buddy Boy is gifted, but he's pretty smart in a few areas (science, reading ability, spelling), average in others (math), and subpar in some (reading comprehension, writing). Meanwhile his ability to attend without someone redirecting him almost constantly is nil, and doesn't pick up on social clues at all. He's doing well this year, but that can change in a heartbeat if they try to withdraw supports that are in place.


Stimey said...

You could be talking about Jack here. Good luck to you at your meeting. It's a labyrinth you have to go through to help your child it seems. I wish we could feel like all the people working on their education are on their side.