Thursday, April 2, 2009

'Twas the night before IEP...

...and all through the house...

Usually, the night before Jaysen's IEP, I am a wreck.
I can be found nose buried in books, manuals, policies, and laws.
I have papers, notes, and files strewn about.
I am perfection my "angle", slamming coffee, polishing my battle armor.
Do not even think of talking to me.

At IEP's, I am on guard.
I take nothing at face value because I'm trying to find "the loopholes".
I don't trust anyone has my son's best interest at heart but me.
I know he's not entitled to "the best" but that's what I'm after.
I come armed with notes, e-mails, and legal snippets.
I bring someone to act as note taker and witness.
I tape record everything.
I am relentless.

Last night?

I watched TV.

TV! I felt both guilty and relieved. Guilty, because shouldn't I be doing... something? And relieved because I knew all of my questions had been previously addressed, and honestly, I had no other concerns. It did feel strange that I felt comfortable enough to actually go into this meeting (dare I say it?) unprepared.

Well, if the other shoe was going to drop, it would drop-kick right into my own ass, and I couldn't blame anyone but my own dumb self. But there really wasn't anything to prepare!
Was there? No. Yes? No.


The meeting was amazing.
I was in and out in one hour.
They had sent me the proposed IEP a week earlier, so I had conducted a lot of my questions through e-mails, and everything was squared away before the actual meeting.
Updates were made, donuts were eaten, plans were in place... all was good.
We probably could have finished sooner, but the Team kept telling stories about Jaysen's interactions, how well he is coming along, the progress he's making... wow.
It was so nice to sit in a room with a Team that actually had positive things to say about my son!
Everyone (and I mean everyone) is on the same page.

I was absolutely stunned.

It really goes to show that the right environment is crucial.
Last year I had horror story upon horror story, and his IEP's were weeks long with little resolution. A child's best interest was simply not to be put above anything.
This year- I have affirmation that switching schools was The Best Decision I could have made.

Some of the things I was surprised about:
ESY - last year I had to fight for it, and only got it because I screamed that they owed him compensatory education from lack of education during the year. This year, his Sp.Ed teacher wants to be his ESY teacher to keep the continuity.

Parapro - last year I was told he would get the "bottom of the barrel" para because of the Union. Next year, he'll not only have a qualified para, but he'll have the same para he has this year (who is awesome with him).

Transition plan - last year, the transition plan was left up to me to do. Starting next month, Jaysen will meet his 3rd grade teacher, visit her classroom weekly, and get to know her teaching style before school even starts.

Testing - last year he wasn't even considered for any testing of any kind. He just "couldn't do it", he "isn't smart enough", and other craptabulous crappenings. Next year is the MEAP. His teacher wants him to take it not only because he is capable (with accommodations), but she thinks it's important for him to have the practice of taking standardized tests.
Just like the other kids. Yay for her.

And the stories.
Everyone in the room had a story they wanted to tell everyone about how he did something that made them laugh, how he overcame a particular struggle, or how he connected with a peer. I wanted to cry- because it just warmed my heart that much.

The most shocking part of the whole meeting-
My note taking paper?
Was totally blank.



kristi said...

Sweet! I love those types of meetings!

therextras said...

I'm smiling. Happy for you. And for Jaysen.


aham said...

I have been a teacher of students with autism for many years. This story warmed my heart. I LOVE to work with these kids. I LOVE the stories and I'm so glad to hear that as a parent you love to hear them. I wish I could be your child's teacher. He sounds great.

Marshella said...

Awesome! Sounds like you picked the absolutely best place for him to be. Also sounds like they are giving him what he needs to succeed. He must like that a lot since he's adjusting so well. So happy for you and your guy.

Sabrina said...

I'm glad it went well for you. I have 1 next week. Ugh. And then the other sometime in May. I dread them too!

Kia (Good Enough Mama) said...

Congrats to you and Jaysen! What a HUGE relief this must be. :) Yay for progress!!!

Mama Mara said...

Bravo! I would've cried at the meeting for sure. (I'm crying now. So happy for you.)

Mary (MPJ) said...

Wait, are you sure this isn't the April Fool's post? ;) That's wonderful!

Terri said...

WONDERFUL!!!! Just as it should be.

Julie L. said...

Am glad you had a great IEP! : ) Am also glad that to read Jaysen is progressing so well.

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

That's great! I'm so relieved and happy for you! I had a similar experience with first grade being horrible for Nigel, then switching schools for second grade and having it be the best thing possible. So glad it worked out for Jaysen too!

LAA and Family said...

Terrific! Am I guessing right, that your continuing and ongoing hard work from years past is now paying off when it comes to working with the IEP team?

mommy~dearest said...

LAA, I wish I could say it was from my hard work and knowledge, but I can't. It's simply that this school is accepting and not only willing to work with these kids, but enjoy them.

therextras said...

LAA, not a single regulation, law, or 'right' can guarantee acceptance from the school personnel.

But you did, md, move him to a different school. That counts.


Katy said...

Just found your blog.

You rock.

A good, supportive, POSITIVE school environment is priceless beyond measure! We've been so lucky I can't even stand it and I'm so glad you finally have a "good" school and educators for Jaysen.

Let me know when you figure out how to beat Murphy at his stupid Law will ya?