Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IEP meeting prep

A date has been set. For those of you who don't know, Shea's birthday is April 20th. He will be 5.

The school is supposed to do the IEP meeting at or before the birthday to be completely compliant. Last year our meeting didn't happen until late May. Which was only one of the several problems with Shea's teacher last year which, of course, I covered extensively with this blog post and this one too.

We are much happier with the teacher this year, thank goodness. But, IEP meeting are still a bitch. After going through this a couple of times, I have determined a fledgling routine.

A month out, like right about now, I talk to all the specialists and ask them if they have any suggestions for the school or specifics to add to the IEP. This has been very helpful in the past. Not only do they bring up really good ideas but they give you the edu-speak terminology on how to ask for it. And, oh yes, it is a different language. And, just like in a foreign country; if you can't speak it, you don't get it.

So, I am beginning to pull all that together now. If I time it right, I allow the specialists a few weeks to ponder it and they always come up with very good suggestions.

My big concern this time around is to Kindergarten or not to Kindergarten next year.

I mean he is only 5. Plenty of typical kids, especially boys, don't start Kindergarten until 6 but I don't want him to be bored. Will another year of cutting and pasting and working on his expressive language be dull? In my heart, I don't think so. Why push him ahead when he is clearly not ready. Socially or fine motor either.

I know I am not supposed to do this but when Molly was 5 she was so precociously quick that I knew she was ready. Shea has never been that way. He isn't even writing letters. He knows his alphabet and counts but doesn't write at all. They will expect that in Kindergarten. Why should I push him in there knowing that he isn't ready. Then, again, there is the school of thought that you set the bar high. Kindergarten for Shea next year would be setting the bar high indeed.

Writing and his expressive language delay, some social issues and the complete lack of potty training makes me think another year in the Developmental Preschool sure couldn't hurt. And, will probably be a nice, comfortable place to be while he continues to work on some of this stuff.

So, this is where I try to peel my mother's mind away from my rational mind. Am I making this decision purely to protect him as long as I can? Probably. Will he be bored? Hard to know. Will he fail? Probably but is that so bad? If everything is too easy for him will he never learn to strive? Maybe. If I hold him back will he be the biggest kid in his grade? And, if so will he pick on the littler kids? Hmmm........

This is a perfect example of the ambiguity of parenthood. Where in the heck is that instruction manual? What to do, what to do?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a special ed. teacher who just came across your blog while looking up speech delays, love your blog and your honesty and insight into Shea. Not that you care but in my opinion Shea should go to kinder next year ( he can repete if needed) get him as many services as you can early on - Ask for speech therapy a least 2x a week for at least 30-45 min each; one 1:1 and one small group setting. Try and find a school close to you with a special ed kinder class that Shea can do reverse mainstreaming in( maybe 1/2- 1 hour a day) for speech, motor skills and social skills, the small group and high adult to kid ratio and slower curriculum might help him. Jump into the school system and the IEP world now and wean him out as he ges older. Best of luck!! and let me tell you teaches don't like IEP meetings any more than parents do:) Aimee

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