Well, we just had our shortest (and least contentious) IEP meeting ever-one hour, 20 minutes! Buddy Boy is finishing up 1st grade, and this was to review and plan for 2nd grade.
Our last IEP meeting (actually series of meetings) came in at over 12 hours. And both sides had lawyers on the clock. As things have been going better lately, we decided to go in without our lawyer (for the first time in a long time). We figured we could just call a stop at any time and reconvene with the lawyers if they started to throw any curve balls at us.
What a refreshing change. For whatever reason, Buddy Boy has been doing well the last couple of weeks, and I'm sure this helped. But even in general, things are worlds different than last year. There haven't been the problems with physical aggression in school like he used to have. The school has responded by starting to integrate him with his NT peers for some of the "specials" (art, computer, music, and this week, PE). He's been doing reasonably well, as they've provided an aide to go with him when he does these things (something they adamantly refused to do last year at his other school.
Despite his increased success, they haven't tried to decrease the amount of support (OT, language, social skills) he gets, and haven't tried to change his Behavioral Support Plan (we think they just don't want to rewrite this long document that took us months to hammer out last year, but that's OK. Even though he isn't needing most of if right now, we still want it as a backstop).
The team agreed to start Buddy Boy off with inclusion with support in all of the "specials" next year (which will only mean adding Spanish class-we figure we can work on getting him up to speed with his peers in Spanish over the summer).
There were only a few minor things we needed changed. One was that they lumped some of his OCD behaviors (nail biting, playing with fingers) with behaviors he exhibits when he is trying to avoid work. They didn't object when we pointed out our objections to this. The other things were getting things written into the plan that had been only verbally agreed to. We wanted to make certain that there were no ambiguities.
We learned of a couple of changes for next year. One major thing is that his special ed classroom teacher is leaving. She's been good for him this year, and we're sorry to see her leave. We'll just have to hope for the best with whoever replaces her. Luckily at least two of the support people (aide in the class and speech therapist) are going to be the same.
We left the meeting feeling happy, though not totally comfortable. After getting burned big time last year, it's hard not to think that there may be land mines waiting for us around the bend. Trust is a hard thing to rebuild, once it's lost. Since many of the players are different this year, we see it as possible, though still difficult.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.