The IEP Meeting/ MJ Is Going To Middle School!

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MJ’s IEP meeting was yesterday.  I am so happy to report that I had no reason to be as nervous as I was!  The ESE specialist, his teacher, speech therapist, and occupational therapist were all in attendance.  They had nothing but great things to say about his progress.  It was just that….PROGRESS!  They were able to compare where he was last year to where he is now.  I didn’t have to raise my voice or quote some line from the “parents rights” handbook.  I expressed everything that I wanted in his IEP and there were no hassles at all.  We were in agreement with his goals for the year, his speech time and OT time.  MJ is transitioning to middle school and as I have stated before, I am nervous terrified about this “new start”.  I have taught middle school for over 16 years.  I realize that I am probably more nervous than the “normal” parent. I see how mean kids can be EVERY DAY.  I have prevented several autistic students from being bullied in the hallways.  Who do you think I am thinking about every time it happens? MJ, MJ, MJ! How can I make sure he is in an environment where he is safe and protected from potential bullies?  For me and my husband, safety is number 1; education is number 2.  I have done my research on private schools that are accessible within my area.  One school was so pathetic.  As I took a tour of the school I noticed that the students were seated but not working. I mean they didn’t even have a book, paper, or a pencil on their desks! I walked into 6 classrooms and only 1 teacher was actively teaching.  It was horrible.  The worst thing is that this is a private school for kids with autism! I was so disappointed after that visit.  I visited another school and in comparison they weren’t too bad but the principal had a difficult time answering my questions and contradicted himself several times.  I researched public schools and asked a close friend about one particular public school.  Based on her recommendation I visited the school.  It was great.  I had the opportunity to sit in the classrooms and observe the teachers.  I met the ESE specialist, speech therapist and the teacher’s aide.  All of my questions were answered and I felt comfortable when I left.  We have decided that we will be placing him in that public school.  All I can do now is prepare him as best as I can for this transition.  I will have to make sure that he tours the school, meets his teacher, and knows where his classroom is before school starts.  Other than that I will be praying for his protection while he makes this transition into middle school life…Lord help me!