This is what IEP should stand for!!!! I am a nurse....I am not afraid of paperwork, bring it! I am used to double, triple and quadruple documenting, then placing data onto 30 spreadsheets and distributing these spreadsheets to everyone and their brother so that everyone is "in the loop". Lemmee tell ya....the IEP is the school system's equivalent of this documentation and I have one word for it- headache!!!!
Today was our first "big kid" IEP meeting for Jack. Last year the meeting took place in Jack's preschool and was decidedly less intimidating.....I mean how scary can it be when you are sitting in mini-chairs that are 6 inches off the ground? But this year was big...Jack has been at the public pre-K program and the biggest concern was what the plan for next year would be. Long story short.....mainstream Kindergarten!! This is good, I know it's good. Mommy is extremely nervous about it, what else is new? Jack will continue to receive special education services both in and out of the classroom, as well as OT. It was agreed that he has a fabulous vocabulary and intense amounts of knowledge regarding his "areas of interest" (enter the aforementioned robots, whales, airplanes, crabs) Yeah, his teacher loves his "robot alarm" as much as mom and dad do. His fine and gross motor skills, and ability to focus on tasks remain his biggest challenges. His teachers and therapists all agreed that he is an extremely likable little boy and is well-accepted among his peers. Phew, wipe brow. Granted, it will not always be socially acceptable for him to walk up to a classmate and initiate a conversation with "beep, beep, beep", but right now....hey he's 4!
I was able to address several concerns that I have been having about kindergarten with the "panel". I am extremely nervous about the bus. Jack has a really difficult time with transitions, and we all know how "supervised" the kids are in the bus lines. I can easily see him getting lost in the shuffle. While everyone agreed with this assessment, they still want me to try it.....I think mommy will be following that bus for awhile. I have also been worried about Jack's ability to help himself during lunch- baggies, juice boxes, etc are very challenging for him b/c of his fine motor delays. So now it appears he will be assigned a "lunch buddy" to assist with this. He will have music class next year....this is worrisome since the radio has been our enemy for the past few years. They specified that he should be allowed to go to another area of the room if needed but that he should not be taken out of the classroom unless absolutely necessary. They agreed that routine will be Jack's friend and they will try to honor that as much as possible. They also encouraged me to go ahead and put him in some extracurricular activities, something that I have been terrified to do. At least at school I know that people are educated about Jack's special needs...I have been afraid that swimming, soccer, etc teachers would be too overwhelmed by Jack. So maybe we'll try it again...
All in all, I would say the meeting was a positive experience. The teachers and therapists listened, and were receptive to my concerns. I have heard so many horror stories about IEP meetings....people have encouraged me to hire an "advocate" to speak for my child's needs. Wait, isn't that ME?????