Friday, May 11, 2007

Record Time

photo credit- epc

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.

Now it's onwards to summer!


Daisy said...

Congratulations on having a good IEP meeting! I find they are always stressful, even though we arrive with all of our ducks in a row.

bigwhitehat said...

Our IEPs and ARDs go quick all the time. We trade proposals ahead of time and fight it all out before the meeting even happens.

Mom without a manual said...

I am glad to hear that it went well for you! You guys needed one to go smoothly for once!

Wow, do I totally hear you about worrying about the land mines though! We always have to be on our toes, don't we!

I have my fingers crossed for you guys for next year!

Joeymom said...

Wow! Yay! I am SO glad that th meeting went well for you. Here's to NO LANDMINES!!! :)

VAB said...

Good going. I can't help but imagine that some of the reason it went well is that you fought the battles that needed to be fought last year.

Ours is on Tuesday, so wish us luck.

Club 166 said...

I'd love to take credit for it going better this year, but we were just as prepared last year, and ended up slogging it out for months until we got out of the bad situation we were in.

I suspect that even if we were half as prepared, it still would have went well today, because of the different people we were dealing with. They deal with Buddy Boy better (not perfectly, but better) at school than he was dealt with last year. This leads to less outbursts on his part, and less for them to complain about on their part. I also don't sense animosity on their part, like I did last year. We're still a bit nervous, though. One never knows for sure...

VAB, good luck with yours next week. I always try to go in overprepared, never let them see me sweat, and act like I've got all the time in the world (while inside being acutely aware of the lawyer bills piling up). Still, a lot of times it seems to come down to luck and the people you're dealing with.

The Jedi Family of Blogs said...

I'm so glad things went well! One thing to keep in mind is that it's not so bad to have "too much" support on the IEP, or support that he doesn't consistently need. We've found this good for times when Brendan doesn't cope as well at school, so that the accomodations are there if needed. We've had the situation where Brendan has needed more help every year for the past 3-4 years. Now that the pattern is established, it's easier to have the extra support added, but it wasn't easy at first (they're not used to kids needing more as they get older). Having our district's Autism Spectrum team get involved was helpful, but we had to ask for it since they don't appear to automatically get involved with kids with an Asperger's diagnosis... kind of dumb, really. I hope the new cordiality between your family & the school folks continues...

Steph said...

That sounds like a pretty succesfull meeting. We are blessed to have Reed in a school that places such a high emphasis on services. They have a tendency to offer him things that aren't even in the IEP, if they become available between revisions. Thye offered him a one-on-one para before he even had a diagnosis. But, I know we are in the minority in that respect.

Sounds like he's got a good foundation for next year. Good job! =]