A New IEP

We met with Ben’s school yesterday.

It was meant to be a meeting with Ben’s school councilor and the special education teacher.

When we entered, there were SEVEN people waiting to talk to us. All had observed him and had suggestions. One was the principal of the school!

I was amazed how many resources they threw at him. And a little scared that they were maybe proving their case to kick him out.

They started the meeting very gently, like they knew I wasn’t going to like what they had to say.

The principal said something like, this is going to be hard to hear but by the time we meet in December it will be a much better meeting.

All I heard was that we were going to meet again in December! They weren’t kicking him out!

In fact, after observation they realized the current IEP, was not helpful enough.

They want to apply for a FULL time aide for him. And they want to put him in the special education classroom for most of the learning portion of the day, about 2 hours and 20 minutes each day.

It means he is so far gone he can’t learn with the other kids. It’s sad, but everything they said in the meeting made sense. He really can’t learn in a big group setting. Not now. But maybe with this help one day he will.

When Adam and I first started this process we found it very difficult to hear that Ben was not normal. We blamed everyone else. Eventually we realized he was not responding to situations in a typical way. We finally admitted that he was different, but not in a good way. In a way that hinders him socially, and hinders his ability to learn.  Even with our new, more accurate viewpoint, it is still very difficult to hear anything negative about your kids.

Having said that, I would say they did an excellent job of seeing Ben’s limitations. Everything they said in the meeting was factual and insightful.

He is disruptive and unfocused enough that someone has to be with him full time. Sometimes I wonder how I did it all those years, with other kids, without any help. I certainly wasn’t trying to teach him anything, but we did keep some sort of a schedule. In hindsight I’m kind of amazed he didn’t get hurt, lost or drowned under my watch.

Afterwards the Kindergarden teacher asked me if she could have some extra one on one time with Ben after school sometimes. She definitely isn’t one of those teachers who punches the work clock. She really cares about the children. Every night she sends me an extremely detailed email explaining the day so I can come up with a visual schedule for him to follow. She sent it to me at 7:30pm tonight, which I quickly created and showed to him before bed.Slide3

He was very, very happy to see the schedule. His therapist said he DOES NOT like surprise so the more we can tell him, the easier it will be.

It’s a ton of work for the school. I’m still amazed at how much effort they are willing to put into his education and feel lucky that we are at this school. And that we live in a time period where kids like him do not get shoved into the back of the classroom and ignored, but instead get MORE attention, with early intervention to help them with the hopes of integrating them back into mass society.

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed it doesn’t go pear shaped and I’m picking him up again next week…

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