Frequent Flyers, the IEP Edition

Normally, I'd put this in Aspergersville, but that wouldn't be fair to the school. I'd griped considerably at the beginning of the school year, because I felt that Gameboy's placement was inappropriate, that his teachers weren't the best fit (or one in particular).

Since then, I've had a change of opinion. This was due, in large part, to the fact that when I started going Mama Bear on the school and persisting when the answers I was getting from one teacher in particular were cop outs. (The other two have been incredible, OTOH). We're all on the same page as to what Gameboy is capable of and what is beyond his abilities.

Yesterday, we had an IEP meeting. One Mrs. H, the IEP coordinator convened due to an encounter Gameboy had with the school psychologist when he was being bullied by another student. This happened at the same time that I flipped out over an interim report that had a ZERO nine weeks in without a single contact from the teacher, and three failing grades with the teacher who has him in her class five periods each day.

As frequent attendees at these meetings, Ed and I know the drill. Usually a teacher (or three) shows up, the psychologist, social worker, district ESE coordinator and many times, either the principal or assistant principal. I think the most we've ever had around the table was ten. Yesterday's was the psychologist, two teachers and us.

This was the most informal of any of the IEP's we've attended in the past eight years, but this approach worked. We've made it clear in all dealings with staff at Gameboy's school that we want what's best for Gameboy AND them. We were initially frustrated at his placement because the first criteria in his plan were ignored.

However, there's been a complete 180. His teachers are seeing that requiring a child with Dysgraphia to write is a recipe for disaster and a DEFCON 4 meltdown. This is because it HURTS for him to write. One marking period in, and both teachers mentioned that he retains so much of the curriculum without writing a darn thing down, that they're respecting that IEP.

We could have forced the issue and demanded a one to one aide for Gameboy. That would be the ideal for him, but to us, that takes money away from an already burdened school district. Instead, we asked that Gameboy be placed right up front of each classroom to put distractions behind him. His art teacher mentioned that she's allowed him to enter her classroom before his classmates, due to trouble with a few students. He is out there for a few minutes without adult intervention.

This classroom is right around the corner from his previous class. I turned to Ms. E and asked her to hold him in her class a few minutes more, to allow for Ms. B to bring him right into the classroom to remove the time where he's with those kids who do their best to set him off.

This year, he's made a couple of friends. From what Gameboy has told me, one of these boys used to bully him, but Ms. E tells us that this boy is the one who talks Gameboy out of poor choices and calms him when he gets upset. Wow.

The psychologist came at it from a different perspective and suggested that we look to the school for supplemental psychological services. This sounds great, because they'll be able to observe in the school setting and come up with an action plan for Gameboy to deal with the issues he encounters daily.

On top of all the emotional advances he's made in the past two months, it seems like the school is doing all they can to keep the improvements coming.


Mike Golch said…
at least they are trying,in the past children like gameboy waould be suffeled to different teachers and or put into "special" classes and basically written off.
Joyce-Anne said…
Very cool! Hooray for Gameboy!!!
I have another success story for you. I was at school and ran into Mrs. I, my son's special ed teacher. She really enjoys working with him. She mentioned to me that she'd be seeing me at a meeting in November--I said "oh the parent-teacher conference" and she said "no". The psychologist wants a meeting to change the IEP, because he is doing so well. They want to modify his sessions with Mrs I from once a day to only twice a week. Whoo-hoo! What a difference a year makes! Apparently, they also want to change his aide--I'm not sure about that yet. I want to speak with his teacher privately and see if at this point in time that's a good idea. It's still early in our school year and I don't want to jump the gun. I'd be willing to increase the aide to student ratio, but to eliminate her completely--hmm, I'm not so sure.

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