I went into the IEP meeting ready to “lay down the law!” I had all of my notes, questions, email print-outs, and work samples with me. The first thing we discussed was a recent issue that happened in the cafeteria with a student taking some of Mj’s lunch. We already had an issue with this a year ago and I was told that there would be “more supervision.” They seem to think that just because Mj can open his own milk carton and feed himself that he doesn’t need as much supervision as some of the other students. Anyway, I digress…We began going through the IEP and I insisted that they add a goal for his social communication. The goal that they had was something about him raising his hand in class?! That was definitely not a strong goal so I had them add one regarding Mj initiating conversation with his peers. We then discussed some issues that we had regarding HW that was being sent home that was way above his comprehension level. All it serves to do is frustrate MJ, which then frustrates me, which then frustrates my husband…and so on and so on. The ESE specialist and his teacher, agreed that it would not happen again. Due to MJ’s age, they began to talk about his transition out of high school. They started talking about a possible vocational/job training program and that’s when it happened. I felt the tears coming on and said, “Oh my God, I think I’m gonna cry.” By the time I said it, the tears were already flowing. I was not prepared to hear about any of the programs and to think about what Mj’s life would look like after high school. I thought I had another year before they would begin discussing these things. I tried to wipe my tears, get myself together and continue looking at my notes but it didn’t help. The entire meeting from that moment on was me listening as they talked about the various programs that may be a good fit for MJ. I listened intently and took as many notes as I could about each and every program. Then they mentioned the need for my husband and me to get a lawyer to begin looking up guardianship. She followed that with a statement about how expensive it was to get that done. It was all just too much. I managed to ask additional questions and read through the IEP but all I could think about was… What is going to happen to MJ after high school? What are we going to do? Will he transition well? Will he get into any of these programs? Will transportation be safe? What job is right for MJ? The questions in my mind have not stopped since this meeting.
We. Have. A. Lot. Of. Work. To. Do.
MJ’s IEP meeting is coming up in a few weeks. Now that he’s 15, the IEP meetings are different and he can now be included during the actual meeting. Nothing much has changed in terms of his current teacher.
She still does not communicate.
She still sends home homework that she￼ neither looks at or grades.
She still sends homework that is completely inappropriate for his comprehension level and oftentimes has no clear instructions😡.
She is one of three teachers at his high school that teach the special needs kids that are in a self-contained classroom. I tried getting him switched to another room at the beginning of the school year and was told, “we tried, but that room is the best placement for him because he is considered higher functioning etc.” Still, Mj is happy and enjoys going to school. He has many friends in that classroom and most of them travel with him to the same aftercare. I really don’t want to take him away from his friends and familiarity of his school and environment. ￼￼￼￼ I am both dreading and looking forward to this meeting. All of these issues must be readdressed and resolved￼￼.
MJ deserves better than what he is currently receiving academically. ￼￼
I will post an update after his meeting.
Thanks for reading.
I’m still gratefully in shock about what happened this morning. MJ had to get a dental filling for one of his teeth. Based on his previous appointments, the dentist suggested that we try to do the filling without sedation. Three years ago, Mj had to be sedated in order to receive almost any dental work. It’s so amazing to see how he has been able to tolerate everything that they need to do one appointment after the other. The dentist opened the office earlier than normal just to make sure that they would have uninterrupted time with Mj. This morning, they did give him “laughing gas” to help relax him a bit and they also had a TV in the ceiling that he was able to watch while they were working on his teeth. He yelled the entire time that they gave him the shot to numb his mouth but after that he was actually OK! There were a few times when it looked like he was going to gag but the dental team quickly adjusted and made him feel totally comfortable. There was even a person dedicated to just holding his hand and cheering him on as they completed the procedure! If you told me three years ago that this could have happened, I honestly would not have believed you. The change over these last few years has been amazing. This just further teaches me not to underestimate MJ or God!
MJ just had his first airplane ride since he was a baby! Needless to say, I had been a little worried about how it would go for a few weeks now. To prepare him, I used a calendar to let him see exactly when we would be leaving and returning. I also used several social stories about flying on an airplane. I then found a great YouTube video that showed a step-by-step process of what happens while you are at the airport. He was very reluctant to watch the video, but I made sure he watched it anyhow. I downloaded a few of his favorite shows onto his tablet, made sure he had his headphones, and had a few of his favorite snacks as well. The TSA check in was a little frustrating but that was pretty normal. He waited patiently to board, and once on the flight, he was excited to see that Delta had plenty of entertainment options for him. He looked at what his sister was doing and plugged in his headphones and decided to browse through all of the movies that he could watch. He was so excited when he saw the Charlie Brown movie, the Teen Titans movie, and Finding Nemo. He happily chose Finding Nemo and started watching the movie even before the flight took off! This helped to distract him from the noise of the plane after it took off. While in the air he complained a few times, but I am happy to report that he was calm and fell asleep during the flight!
This was the first time that my family was on an airplane together. As I sat on the plane and looked at them, I had to hold back tears. This is something that so many families take for granted and it is something that I have wanted to do for years, but I knew that MJ just was not ready. This experience will now open up other opportunities for us to travel together as a family by plane. I’m. So Grateful.
We spent a wonderful weekend celebrating Mjs’s birthday as well as Mother’s Day! We started out by trying something different with him-We took him fishing! Most of the time, we don’t know how he is going to respond to certain activities so we were attentively watching him during the process. He ended up really enjoying it and I am so pleased that we now have another activity that he can be involved in. He also went to his favorite restaurant and we ended off his celebration at the beach, which is his favorite place to be 😁.
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.
We are now in the second half of the school year. Though I’m still not completely happy with MJ’s teacher, he seems to like going to school and she actually has great teacher’s assistants in the room. There’s not as much homework anymore so it’s a little easier going at home. I recently received a letter regarding his upcoming IEP meeting. Now that he’s older, he’s invited to attend the meeting. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. Needless to say, I already have a list of items that I will be discussing at his meeting. Until then, I am going to continue taking it one day at a time.