Updates and Upcoming

SPRING IS MY FAVORITE SEASONIt’s almost the end of February, which means it’s almost spring, which means, it’s almost IEP season. And at our next IEP meeting, I have to let the school know what we’ve decided about The Boy’s future – college or no. I’ve since found that isn’t technically accurate, but it may as well be, with all of the extra work The Boy would have to do just to get into college.

Before that time I would like to meet with the high school band director. I sat with The Boy on Tuesday night as his band warmed up for a pre-contest performance, and listened to him play. And that boy can play. I would absolutely hate for him to have to give it up. I also absolutely hate that this district has decided that they can dictate a child’s program and undermine this little thing called an Individualized Education Program

A friend and I have long wanted to meet with the director of special education, and I also think it’s high time we do that, to discuss how high school works here, and how it violates children’s rights. I may also mention a certain band director who has thankfully moved on from my child’s life, but is still negatively affecting those of other kiddos on the spectrum – another friend of mine had to pull her son out of his class because he was being yelled at, as in verbally abused. That’s four kids that I personally know on the spectrum who have been bullied by this guy, that he has attempted to force out of the program, and someone at the district level needs to know.

Before I do all of that, I will have to respond to The Boy’s current educators and see if I can help them connect the dots to try to make it through this school year. I intend to do this without calling another IEP meeting, but via email and a simple suggestion to contact the autism specialist if they are struggling with implementing strategies, and understanding how to help him meet IEP goals.

I sometimes wish I didn’t have to work so that I could have the time to properly manage all of this. And then I think, if I didn’t have to work, I would probably homeschool at this point, and wouldn’t have to!

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Autism and Progress

The Boy earned all A’s this quarter, and I was so proud.  I was over the moon, though, when I read his program teacher’s comment that he has made great strides with his social communication over the past two quarters (ever since he has started at his current school).

progress

You see, report cards don’t tell you much about neuro-typical kids, let alone those on the spectrum.  Traditional report cards, anyway.  They don’t tell you about improvement and progress, they are simply a snapshot made up of a bunch of other snapshots about whether or not your kid knows what the female reproductive part of the flower is, or what an Egyptian dynasty is.  Those snapshots do not tell you whether or not your child is making friends, able to initiate a conversation, or independently pack his own backpack.  Report cards most definitely don’t tell you those things.

And in an autism household, where we take every day as it comes, and don’t think too long or hard about where The Boy will be and what he will be doing in 10 years, because there is no way to predict, and therefore little practical use in worrying/dreaming about it, I really don’t care if he knows what an acute angle is, or what the word “illuminate” means.  I’m very glad he has access to the 6th grade curriculum (and would be fighting the system tooth and nail if he didn’t), but I know how little of it he will actually use in his day-to-day life (because no one really uses any of it in their day-to-day lives, neurotypical nor on-the-spectrum).  I am much more interested in that IEP progress report that tells me how he’s doing in terms of counting change, and flexibility with his schedule.  That set of stapled sheets that is a report on the defined goals that the people who know him best have set for him for the year is way more important to me.  Because the more he succeeds at making progress toward those goals, the more I can plan for his future.  Because those skills, the being-able-to-make-a-joke-that-cracks-up-the-entire-band-class-including-the-teacher skills?  Those are the ones he’s gonna need when he’s done with school.  And those are the ones I care about.