Yesterday I had Dustin's annual case conference for next year's IEP (Individualized Education Plan). He will be in 8th grade. Dustin is placed in an inclusive Moderately Handicapped Functional Classroom due to his IQ of 51. For that we are thankful. His FAS (FetaL Alcohol Syndrome) has caused much havoc in the classroom setting therefore he has his own 1:1 paraprofessional during his modified schedule of 10:00am to 2:00pm.
Last spring he was endanger of being put on home-based schooling due to excessive and dangerous aggressive behaviors that included hitting, spitting, choking, fit throwing, running away and attempting to choke his teacher with a television cord. We were stressed beyond belief and frustrated at the systems inability to offer my child an appropriate and free education on his level and dealing with his issues. We fought for and won that external brain . . . a 1:1 aide that we knew he needed. At that time he was only attending school 2 hours a day and was in a separate classroom alone. Since then he has steadily made progress, begun to read minimally, excels on his spelling tests, can work in the room with other children and attend small group times. He can tell you the basic holidays and which month they take place in. He can count money, use a calculator and can tell time to the minute. He can also write his name in cursive in order to sign a check. He has gained the privilege of attending art classes and gym class and even eats lunch with his peers, all with the help of his aide. He has made amazing progress.
I think I have PTSD. Even though I know he is doing very well in school, I cannot hear the word IEP and not get sweaty and panicky. If the phone rings at work and I see the school's name on the caller ID I get all stressed. I just know that he has done something unforgivable at school. Thankfully those calls lately have been reminders about meetings and even a call to tell me how well he is doing! Yet, the old self kicks in and the fear begins. The IEP meeting yesterday was just plain weird! I sat in an administrative office with his teacher of record and the corporation's middle school special education director and listened to them tell me what a joy Dustin is in class. I heard about all the progress, all the pleasant things he does for his peers, and all the kindness he shows to the teachers. I heard wonderful things from his aide that made me tear up. I am soooo not used to tearing up for joy! What a strange meeting!
I am thrilled he is holding it together at school. We are have MUCH difficulty at home, but honestly, I'd rather he took advantage of us and behaved in school any day! I must remember how far we have come and know there is much more success up ahead for him.
In our Father's Hands
4 hours ago