Thursday, March 21, 2013

Word Processing

"Ridicule. Say, 'ridicule.' Noun. To scorn or mock. To mock means 'to make fun of.'"

Joey has discovered that the vocabulary-building program he uses at school has a website, and he can access words right through "level 12" (I think that means "12th grade")- complete with parts of speech, definition, and even examples. He's delighted. He can now process out all the words he can digest, whenever he feels like it.
"Vain. Say, 'vain.' To think well of oneself. Or to be useless. Mommy, say, 'vain.'"

One of the good things about the program is that it is not spelling-only; it actually pushes kids to improve their vocabulary, to broaden their use and understanding of language. Plus, we can access it 24 hours a day- whenever we need a comforting activity.

"Misfortune. Say, 'misfortune.' Unlucky, trouble. Mommy, today I had a misfortune. See, Mommy? You know what would be the worst misfortune, Mommy? If you died. That would be a terrible misfortune."

I have been listening carefully to the words Joey has been picking to repeat. A lot of them have been... interesting. And negative. He seems to be not only processing words, but trying to process words that make him uncomfortable; something he has done, loud and proud, since he was pretty small. He now has whole sentences to echo, not just the word itself.

"Slay. To kill violently. Slay means 'to kill.' You slayed me, Mommy!"
Interestingly, he is also not always right. He's having trouble with phrases such as "in vain"- which seems to him oddly unrelated to the word "vain." Separating the two is very difficult for him. He's also running about testing us in multiple-choice format. Sometimes he even tells us what the question is. OR what the choices are. Or neither. Rarely both.

"Appall. Say, 'appall.' To cause horror. H-o-r-r-o-r, Mommy. Appall!"

Sometimes he looks up the signs for the words. He seems to think it funny. Or an excuse to get my phone. If he can't find a sign, he runs about finger-spelling the word. He's getting pretty good at finger-spelling... he's getting plenty of practice.

"Rout. Mommy, you routed me. That means you defeated me completely."

At least it's educational, right?

"Jeer. Verb. To mock. It means to make fun of, and not nicely, Mommy. It's not nice to jeer, Mommy."

No, my love. You keep talking it out, though. Some of us just have to do that processing aloud.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Meeting Before the Meeting About the Next Meeting

Yep, you guessed it: IEP season is upon us. In fact, it has taken us by storm. And when I say "storm", I mean "seized by the throat and shaken vigorously in a tornado about to crash into a tsunami."

I told our new case manager that our IEP meetings tend to take about 3 hours. She didn't believe me. We're scheduled for an hour and 45 minutes. I have people hired to come to this meeting, and I do not want to have to have a continuance and try to coordinate these people again. Fortunately, they are there for a single purpose: the get Joey's placement right. And that is just one facet of an IEP meeting. Hence, I want to have our ducks in a row for the other stuff, like goals and accommodations. I want those all drafted and ready, so we don't have to have a long discussion about them that takes, say, an hour and a half.

Or maybe I do. Then I can just pop up and say, "And your school can't do all this, so here's a form to sign to send him to Awesome New School. Sign here. Thanks. Have a great day!" And the school folks would sign it and we would merrily be ready for next year.

Like that would ever happen.

What this means is that we- being the teachers who actually care about Joey- and I are trying to work in time to get the goals and accommodations hammered out properly. Or at all. I think its time for an independent educational eval, so we get a better look at Joey's education as a package- and have a clearer view of where he is, where he should be, and what skills he may need support with- including gifted support. We definitely need some notion of what needs to be in this IEP- its for Middle School, and I want everything spelled out exactly. IF we get stuck in the school, this will be a whole new world of people, a whole new culture with a whole new attitude toward accommodation. It is important that we leave nothing vague, no guesswork, no "well, I know what you mean by that, we can fiddle". They don't know Joey. They don't know me. And I am not a whit convinced they know what they are doing or getting into.

So we're having a meeting, to start hashing. Right before the meeting where we work out the ESY. Then we have the Big Meeting next week.

I think I really need a nap. But I have a meeting to go to.