Wednesday, January 18, 2012

IEP meeting number 3?

I think I've been to 3 IEP meetings just for Daniel alone this year.  Not because he's been bad.  It's been a great year for him and his schedule has just needed tweaking a few times.  Before we left Texas, Daniel was completely self contained.  He couldn't handle being in a regular classroom at all.  He was too aggressive, easily overstimulated and way behind socially, emotionally and academically.  He hit and kicked other kids and he threw a chair at his teacher.  I would get "incident reports" daily stating that they had to restrain him to keep himself and other children safe.

When Uncle Sam moved us to Georgia in the summer of 2010 we chose the town we currently live in because it was one of few school districts that still had a self contained class.  Everyone is moving toward full inclusion here which is great. . . IF your child can handle it.  Mine couldn't and I knew it.  When school started here in the fall of 2010, Daniel was completely self contained because that's what his IEP said.  After the first month, they started putting him in the regular ed class for 30 minutes every afternoon.  That's all he could handle.  Then they sent him to PE every day with regular ed kids for a while.  He did OK with that. . . sometimes.  That's as far as they could push him.  When school started this year, it became apparent quickly that he was handling things better.  He had pretty much mastered behavior in the self contained setting and in the regular classroom everyday with support.  They were giving him more and more responsibility.  He was walking from his self contained class to his regular ed class by himself.  He remembered not to run in the hall or touch things that were hanging on the walls.  He even found the right classroom!  

I called the first IEP meeting this year to discuss how we could give him more freedom.  He had mastered the more restrictive setting and needed more challenge!  We added some time in the resource room, more time in the regular ed classroom, PE and all other special classes (art, music, computer lab, etc.)  We also added recess, which I have to admit made me nervous!  Yesterday we had another to discuss the recent psychological testing that we had done and how it applies to school.  See more about that testing here.  I wanted to get him back into the Sonday reading program which is Orton-Gillinham based.  It's supposed to be a good program for kids who have neurological problems and dyslexia.  He seems to have both.  We also needed to discuss placement for next year.  I was thinking maybe it would be better to retain him in the 2nd grade to give him more time to learn to read.  When I got to the meeting though, I really didn't expect to hear what I did.  Not only did his regular ed teacher say that she didn't think it was a good idea to hold him back another year but the team also announced that they were considering him for placement next year in an "inclusion" classroom.  That means that he wouldn't be spending any time at all in the self contained class.  His "homeroom" would be a regular ed classroom with special ed support.  He would likely be going to the resource room for help too but no more fully restricted environment!  This is HUGE for him.  My son, the raging, angry storm cloud that had no self control a year and a half ago is now "together" enough to be considered for placement in a regular ed classroom? pinch me, I must be dreaming!

They did have some suggestions.  They've been talking about making modifications for him because he understands the curriculum relatively well even though he can't read it.  Some of those modifications might be scanning his worksheets into a machine that would read it for him, having a scribe write for him, etc.  He has a long way to go but let me tell you. . . my baby has come SO FAR!

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