Well we had MJ’s IEP meeting recently and it went “as expected.” They went over how he was doing on his current goals and added in some new ones for next school year. I was thrilled that I didn’t have to fight with them on his speech therapy. He will continue to have 90 minutes of speech therapy per week. However, I did agree that the occupational therapy was no longer needed. MJ has come such a long way with his hand writing and it is completely legible. What I found, was that the OT given at his high school was mainly to improve a child’s handwriting and nothing more. It was funny to see their facial expressions when I immediately agreed that OT was not needed. They assumed that I was going to put up a fight about it. I did have to mention a situation to the ESE specialist in regards to another child taking MJ’s lunch. It was an issue that I was able to figure out after a few weeks of questioning MJ. To make a long story short, one of his classmates was asking him for his food every day and MJ was actually giving the child his food! The teacher and the aides had no idea that this was happening because they were off to the side assisting the kids that needed the most help. Once I made them aware that something was going on, they spoke to the child as well as everyone in the classroom to make sure that it wouldn’t happen again. Initially I was furious about the situation but right now I’m just thankful that I was able to figure it out. Lately, I’m being really selective with the battles I choose to fight. I know God’s got my back and MJ’s back, no matter what.
Mj has been taking a life skills class twice a week for the last 3 weeks or so. We were called and offered the opportunity to have him in the program and we decided to take them up on the offer. The coordinator for the class wanted my input on what skills I wanted MJ to work on. I told them he needed extra help with brushing his teeth, washing his face, doing chores, and tying his shoelaces.
Every day that he goes to class, I get a report of the goals that MJ worked on for the day. He is getting better and better with all of his goals. Last week they told me that he tied his shoelaces by himself. I looked at them in disbelief (he has tied them before years ago, but could never do it again) and asked that they record him tying his laces or I would not believe them! Well, this past week I was pleasantly surprised when I picked him up and they showed me a 39 second video of MJ independently tying his shoelaces! It almost brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t believe that he did it in less than a minute.
This week, I am planning on untying every shoe he has, just to be sure that he continues to tie them at home as well! I am so grateful to the Children’s Ability Center and all that they are doing for MJ. He is getting older and I know that some resources may not be available to him in the future. We don’t have any time to waste. He is currently in 3 different activities and this will continue through the end of December. Yes, we are tired, but we will be happily tired if it means MJ being the best that he can be.
I wanted to give you all a short video of MJ at Music Therapy 🎶. I love that he truly enjoys going and I never have to force him out of the house 😁. This children’s ability Center has been amazing!
MJs IEP meeting was just this past week! No matter how many of these I attend, It’s still very difficult to hear about all of your child’s “areas of need,” before they get to his progress. It is still difficult for us to sit and listen to it all. Earlier last month I received a draft of the IEP that I immediately took to work to have a friend look at for me. She is an ESE specialist and is familiar with what happens in high school. As I write this, I honestly cannot believe that MJ will be going to high school next year! It seems as though I was just writing the same thing about him going to middle school! I have the same emotions. I’m nervous, excited, scared, and at the same time hopeful! MJ did so well in middle school and I’m anticipating the same for high school. I had to fill out a school choice form for him to be able to attend the high school that we wanted. I still have to wait another month to find out if it’s approved. I know two other autism moms that have their children at the school and they both love the program and speak highly of the teachers so I’m really praying that we get that school. One concern for me during the IEP meeting was that they wanted to decrease his speech therapy from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. Excuseeeee me! I immediately asked why they wanted to do that and no one could answer me! His speech therapist wasn’t even at the meeting! She had a fill-in instead and this person had never seen MJ for a therapy session. I looked at everyone as though they had five heads and told them, “absolutely not!” I had to keep my composure to make sure that “Nicky from the 305” did not make an appearance! I told them to change it back to 90 minutes, as speech is one of the main things that we know he needs to work on. He still has much better receptive language than expressive language. I’m still baffled by that horrible suggestion. One positive take away was how much better his hand writing has gotten since entering middle school. The occupational therapist was able to show me something that he recently wrote. You can see it below. All in all, the meeting was productive. Once I get approval on the high school, we will all be visiting there to tour the school and meet the teachers. But for now I have to get my mind and spirit ready for the fact that it’shappening…I will soon have a high schooler.
Some weeks back I wrote about visiting a new facility that MJ can go to for various activities. In order for him to be able to participate, we had to do a parent tour, 2 intake sessions, one with MJ and one without, and fill out lots of paperwork. Last week, I was finally able to have him participate in a Social Games class. I was a little nervous when I was taking him because I didn’t fully know what to expect and I wanted him to be in a good mood for the first session. I prepared him for it by explaining that he would be meeting new people, playing games, and having fun. He had no idea that therapy would be going on while he plays. Being the overprotective mom that I am (sorry, not sorry), I asked if I could observe just for a few minutes to make sure that he was okay (in my mind I still see him as the 5-year old that used to run into oncoming traffic). They nicely told me that I could do that towards the end of the session. While waiting, a fellow autism mom showed me the parent observation room! I ran for the chance to see what he was doing. All I saw was pure JOY on MJ’s face. He was so happy playing the game. I was relieved that he wasn’t just fine, he was laughing and being silly. When the session was over he was so talkative! Telling me that he played games, had fun and “I want to come back next week!”
Just yesterday I took Morgan to a sibling support group. There were about 15 kids there. They talked, played games, made hot chocolate, had snacks, did arts and crafts, and were sent home with a bag full of goodies. I cannot begin to express how thrilled and thankful I am for this new program. They not only serve the child with special needs, they serve the entire family.