Thursday, November 01, 2012

Making Plans in the Shadow of the IEP

So we have an IEP next week to "address" Joey's recent ISS and the issues around it. In other words, a new FBA and BIP, lots of nodding, probably some Scolding of the Mom for being a helicopter parent who won't stand for her child being "disciplined" and for spoiling him, some smiles and nods up front while heads are shaken behind my back, some genuine attempts to help Joey frustrated by attitudes and misunderstandings and some outright sabotage. I'll witness teachers trying to voice realities and being shot down by admin and "support personnel" who have little or not real contact with or understanding of Joey. There will be desires to scream, throttle, and cry. Just the way I want to spend an afternoon. Perhaps I should bring cake.

In the meantime, I was in my mom's office today. We haven't been in there much lately, as the contracting we do is between-jobs (we finished one project, and are awaiting the next project to start up... provided the right person is elected president and continues to fund the project at all. Yay.) The office is actually quite large, as we used to have several folks working out of it. Now we get a break on the rent, since I think the building manager breaks out in a cold sweat with thought of trying to re-rent it. Besides, we're quiet, we pay on time, and right now, we aren't even really there. When we do appear, we are pleasant and have plenty of new gossip to share in the main office. Perfect tenants.

I have a room converted for my new Etsy business, we still have our main office, I have one room as storage for for stuff from the old shop and for packaging and shipping supplies. We have a front room sublet to another little business that is also quiet and rarely present. There is one room left over, which was originally JoeyAndyDad's office, and then it was supposed to become my office- but Mom and I figured out we worked better when we were in the same room. So right now, it is filled with the computer modem-router-stuff-I-have-no-idea-what-it-is-but-it-blinks, my desk with a scanner for scanning in our old family photos, and... stuff. Old computer books. Old merchandise from the old shop that never sold. Some old display pieces that I don't even know why we moved. Some spare chairs. Six tubs of toys from the boys' rooms that need to be gone through and thinned. You get the idea. A room filled with hoarded crap.

I have big plans for this room.

Once I get the crap cleared out and the blinky boxes in some kind of ordered cabinet, Ill have a nice, clear room, of reasonable size- bigger than the rooms at Joey's speech therapist's office, and they get all sorts of stuff done in there, and the materials to do it with stored in there. It would make a lovely homeschool room. Should we, you know, need one.

I could move the desk to the window, so we'd have space to spread out to do larger projects and games. I could get a smaller table area together for seatwork. Perhaps a nice comfortable area for a computer, and a reading corner. I could set up a bookshelf for the latest books on our latest learning themes, and have a small cabinet for supplies and materials. I could fill one wall with bulletin board, to post up our latest work, and maybe a board about what we were learning. I have plenty of friends who also homeschool, so finding a group wouldn't be too hard. We'd still have speech therapy and occupational therapy. Taking Joey places 1:1 would be mostly do-able. With a spare set of hands, I would probably be able to bring Andy in on it, too- though he'd probably be happier at school, where he has friends and a life of his own that is pretty successful, overall.

Funding this project would be the hardest part. I would obviously have to give up work hours, perhaps even a whole job, because not only would have Joey to attend to all the time, but I would need all the time I could lay hands on to teach him. Speech and OT still must be paid for, perhaps even more so, as we might need to increase the time at private practices to make up for lost school services. Plus, I would need more supplies and resources for teaching.

If I can get this room cleared out, I have this option, whatever sacrifices would need to be made to choose this path. In the shadow of a desperate IEP, it would be an anchor to keep despair at bay. To be able to speak from a place of strength and choice is far better than a place of panic and resignation. To be able to stand here and say, "My child will get what he needs in order to access his education" knowing that he will not be sacrificed, that may be what we need to get through a meeting without, you know, throttling anyone.


farmwifetwo said...

Can you get pd for respite?? Another woman I know online had her autistic son home for a few years (I think he's back at school) but she got some respite etc while he was home schooled??

Also, sometimes the school system pays for things like speech and OT even out of the system.

I'd check your home school rules and ask your autism/disability groups. Maybe there's money you can get to help if you bring him home.

Mama homeschooler said...

Long time lurker first time commenter :)

I pulled my oldest out of school last year. As a homeschooled student his learning, speech, body awareness, ability to self regulate improved dramatically. His social skills improved, his focus and confidence as well. Why....I believe it's because he is now in an engaged learning environment. He is no longer withdrawn, overwhelmed and trying to just make it through the day.
I spend about 300$ on materials and the same on classes such as art, drama and swimming with other home schooled children. These classes don't overwhelm him as he walks I confident and the only challenge to hiim is the social.

We spend our morning learning and our afternoons out and about.

Best decision I ever made. I can see my son growing into a confident capable adult. with school he was becoming a shadow of himself.