Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stream of Consciousness at the IEP meeting

We've waited forever for this and here we are. Am I nervous? I don't feel nervous so much as relived that we are finally sitting in this room stuffy with dry heat and getting on with the whole thing. There's Patty the school psychologist and Diane the special ed. teacher and Rita who does speech. There's the ice princess...I mean, the principal.

Okay, this is going well. They "get" him. They understand that he's a quick learner, that he just picked up potty training over the course of a few days, that he flies through things and doesn't need flashcards and trials and programs. Everything they're saying is so accurate, it's wild because these people spent a mere half-hour with him on two occasions.

Okay, it's hard to hear about my son's deficits. Even if it is prettied up with the fancy language of test scores and assessments. I looked in the back of the book so I know what it means to only score a Level 1 on the VB-MAPP in some areas. I know what a CARS score means. Ugh. Medical diagnosis. I hate these terms. I hate being clinical even if we have to for a bit.

Oh, this is good. More speech and OT than I thought. Yes! We don't have to fight. Even a speech consult in class in addition to the pull-out. They recognize exactly what his deficits in language are. I won't have to figure out how to put on my OT hat at home because he scores to well to qualify for any through school.

They what? Ugh, okay I wasn't ready to hear that. They want him to start in the autism room. They don't want to do the integrated classroom yet. They want him to work toward it. What do you want to say about this? How do you really feel about this? What does Dan think? I can feel him next to me but not see his expression. Jessica is at the end of the table and there's no need to look at her anyway. She's representing Birth to 3 and can't say a thing.

What do I do? How do I feel? Say something. Talk about the gains his made, even in the past month. Talk about how peer interaction is so important and how he can learn from his peers, how having him in that kind of environment is so important.

Okay good. No emotions here, just facts. The principal is talking down to me, but it's not in a personal way, just seems like her standard lines she throws out at all parents. Blah, blah, blah. You don't know who you're talking to, lady.

What do I do? What do I say? My head wants to argue more, to put my foot down and fight for the integrated classroom, but something in my heart is stopping me. There is truth to what they're saying. His weakest areas have always been the areas that are most important for school...receptive language, listening in a group, following directions, sitting still and focusing. But I know interaction with peers is important too. What do I do when we're both right? What about least restrictive environment? What about what Amy said, what about what Amber said?

But they are telling me he'll move quickly through their program, that they're not sitting him at a table and doing flashcards. No discrete trials for him. They know this. He can do free play with the other class first thing in the morning. We will talk about further expanding that. How do I get that into the IEP? Where is the IEP? Are they going to give me something to sign today? Something I'm NOT signing yet?

Do I say more? Do I give in? What is my heart truly telling me? My heart says to give this a chance but it means trusting teachers who seem to mean well. I must separate the teachers from ice princess. They seem to understand my son. The principal sees us as a number, a block on her schedule.

I have to trust now. We can ammend things. I have the right to re-assess, to call another meeting. Can I trust? I don't want to fail my son.

We're getting up and walking down to see the rooms. There's the 3's class where I eventually want Ethan to be. No kids in there now...so cute, a typical preschool room. Now across the hall to the autism classroom. A few kids in there who require full day. Got to remember that. It looks like a preschool room but a little more stark. One kid is making noises. Another kid seems more like Ethan. They say last year he started in this room and this year he's integrated in the morning and comes there in the afternoon. Could he be Ethan next year? Please God. Oh God, I don't want to cry. I'm geting teary. Okay we've known this for a year but my son is going into special ed. Oh God I'm horrible because I didn't think he'd end up with "those" kids. Oh God these kids have moms and dads who adore them just as I adore Ethan and my son is no better than them. They are all precious. They are all your children, God. I need the ugly parts of me changed.

But still I just thought maybe a tiny piece of me that he could go in the integrated room and everything would just be okay, that it's not so bad. Reality is here and even if he goes in there he has challenges and he is different and oh my God this is just the beginning and will I be strong enough to do this.

Do not cry, even though I'm starting to feel like I'm underwater. No Diane I don't have any more questions because I can't think right now. I hope I did the right thing and I hope they are true to their word and I hope...I hope...I hope I can keep going with a positive attitude and believe this is just the beginning and Ethan is going to make great gains. They all think this. I do too but still the weight is there...did you do the right thing? All the whispers are there about least restrictive environment and me being his advocate and what if...what if any one of a million bad possibilities?

Okay said my goodbyes and I wait to start crying until I'm in the car with Dan and he tells me it's okay, all the reassuring things, and he means them, and he's so level-headed and I'm so incredibly grateful because I am not. I wipe my eyes and breathe and begin to tell myself we can do this. I can do this. We have a path. We have chosen a certain way and my job now is to make sure the path is headed in the right direction. Our decisions may not have been perfect but God is bigger than that. This mamma will be ready to fight. And if I need to, God will be fighting battles for me and with me.

Everything's gonna be all right...Everything's gonna be all right...

Everything's gonna be all right.

November 1, 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hugs, my friend. i've been right where you are. Ethan is the Lord's. everything's gonna be alright, more than alright.