You guessed it. Today is our IEP. And not just any IEP, mind. The kindergarten transfer IEP. It makes a Bruce Willis movie look like a walk in the park…
(shouting over the sounds of chaos and machine gun fire) For the Love of God, PREPARE YOURSELF!!
I’ve been preparing for this day for a while now, writing down my list of questions, practicing my game face and thinking of ways to dispose of bodies if necessary. And i actually have a GOOD IEP team.
I get so ramped up about these things. But, if you think about it–how can i not? It’s what we all we Special Needs Moms talk about: ”when is your IEP? How did your IEP go? Are you taking an advocate? Have you put together your binder? What are you wearing?” It’s like finals all over again. I mean, this is a plan that will lay out the first glimpse that those in power will have of my son, and dictate HOW and WHEN he will be taught. I am only now beginning to understand why his teacher always starts off her report remarking on how sweet and affectionate my son is. It’s like a big flag to a stranger: PAY ATTENTION TO THIS KID!!
(or maybe its the teaspoon of sugar to help you deal with this screaming tantrums of doom? Thanks, Mary Poppins)
I was having a pre-IEP talk with a good friend of mine–a spec. ed. teacher herself [and yes, the pre-talk is almost ALWAYS necessary] and i confessed that my biggest fear here isn’t their plan or proposals. I’ve had a preview and i like–but this will, for all intents and purposes, be the last meeting with this team. He will be offered a HFA [high functioning autism] class at a different school as his current school does not offer this class, with a new team of therapists, teachers (well–THAT change was expected) and administrators. We’re talking a new set of office staff to charm in order to find out who REALLY has the power at the school. Look, i’ve only got so much charm to go around.
For the past two year, i have been the lucky one. I have been blessed enough to have a team that a) LISTENS to me and b) considers and usually adopts my suggestions. They put up the usual district road-blocks when they have to, but usually give in knowing that i am 1) not talking out of my ass and 2) really not going to back down. It helps too that they know i was once on the other side of the desk, and am KEENLY aware of how the district operates. [insert knowing glance and raised eyebrow]
So, not only will Kindergarten be a new and frightening experience for Ben, it’s gonna be a nail-biter for me as well. So far i’ve been assertive but kind. I really wanna keep that up. But [cynic that i am] i often imagine the worst, and it’s gonna be SUPER hard for me to walk into a new situation and maintain any optimism.
I am currently at code blue. But i feel like i’ve got yellow or orange in my back pocket. My defense in most situations involving possible conflict is to bring baked goods. And my husband. They both contain the right amount of punch when needed. *ahem*