Am I the only one that doesn't think they're terrible, horrible, stressful meetings? Maybe it's my nature. I don't know. Maybe I would feel differently if I was going to meet up with a bunch of neurologists and doctors every year. That would be seriously depressing.
But IEPs? They're actually not bad. In fact, they're borderline enjoyable.
I think this is true because first, and most importantly, I truly believe his team at school - his teacher, therapists, administrators, his SPED teacher and his aid - all care about Christian a lot and they all want to see him succeed and thrive. Going into the meeting knowing this helps.
I always to to bake. Or at least bring something (like this last time because I completely forgot about the meeting). I learned this from my friend, Jenny. And from one of Christian's early interventionists. She had mentioned that a mom brought something to the EIP meeting and it set the tone for a more positive meeting and she always remembered it. Sugar neutralizes everything. I've been doing it ever since and, at the very least, everyone is excited to see you. How can they argue with someone who just brought them cookies?
Our IEP meetings aren't terrible. This may sound, indeed, terrible but I think it's because nobody really knows what to expect from Christian. Not even me. This time last year I would have put money on Christian learning to communicate and give us yes answers with his eyes. I thought this was the way we were going.
Christian had other plans and so did his voice. He actually started intentionally looking at and away from things and using his...VOICE. Who would have thought he'd use his voice to communicate anything other than crying? This kid. The one who didn't make a peep for six weeks after his accident. And then did nothing but cry for two years afterward. And now he makes sounds when we ask him if he wants something. And it's pretty damn consistent.
So everyone pretty much expects nothing from Christian, which may seem bad, but it's really because nobody knows what to expect. Especially looking at him. I'm sure if you read this blog you've seen pictures of him. He doesn't look like he can do much. But he's got you fooled, people.
Back to the IEP, because nobody really knows what to expect from Christian, everyone is always very pleased with his progress. He has grown leaps and bounds this year. When he's evaluated for goals he is rated from 0-5. For example, he has made a choice using his switch 3 out of 5 times. And it's measured every quarter for consistency. What his team is discovering is it's not whether Christian can do what is asked. It's about time. He just needs extra time.
And his kindergarten teacher reported that everyone loves Christian. All the kids want to read with him, choose him as a partner, sit with him, and I had to bite my lip so I didn't cry like a baby. That's what I want for him. Love and acceptance.
So we made some goals for next year. And I think we might try the...b...b...bu...bus. I'm not sure I'm ready for it but he is. He already rides the bus to and from field trips. It's me who needs therapy for this.
I'm just so pleased with his team. His SPED teacher is amazing and fights for what we want and makes sure it is written in the IEP. And his aid? Don't even get me started on his aid. She speaks Christian.
She sent me these pictures from her phone.
He's in excellent hands. I'm sure of it.