Big Stuff Coming This Year

2016 is going to be a big year for us. I’ve already set up a meeting with our autism specialist and the transition coordinator for next week to talk about The Boy’s transition to high school. Yes, high school.

yikes.

high school

In our state, there are different programs in which a special education student can enroll for high school, and you kinda have to pick which track you’re going to pursue before you even start. The Boy could try to do the full curriculum, but with deficits in math and language arts, I’m leaning toward the track that is labeled “occupational,” which emphasizes work skills and experience. If he wanted to, he could attend a community college with this type of diploma, but couldn’t directly enroll in a university. That’s where I’m leaning, knowing what I know now, but that’s why I want to meet. I want to know the details and make an informed decision. I also want to include The Boy in some of our decision making.

We are also looking forward to building our house which will allow The Boy to go to the high school he is planning on. We’re several months behind due to some unscrupulous contractors (I think they are rather requisite for any home-building project), but are excited to be filling our building permit applications this week. And I can finally start visualizing our new home.

Big changes coming our way. And this little mama is doing what she does best – planning, and planning, and planning…

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What’s in Store for Next Year

Well, I guess I didn’t need all that battle gear for our IEP.  Apparently I had made my wishes clear in the email I had sent to The Boy’s teacher specifying that I did want him to have access to his general ed peers, you know, as in, least restrictive environment?? But there are changes coming for next year.

The progrIEP documentationam teacher will now only be at The Boy’s school part time because they will be spreading her autism knowledge throughout the county, now. In other words, they are no longer funding the pilot program, and don’t want The Boy’s middle school to become a magnet school for kids on the higher functioning end of the spectrum, so they are spreading her too thin to try to knock some sense into the teachers at other schools who act as if they’ve never seen a kid with autism before.  My God be with her, because that will be a Sisyphean task.

In the meantime, The Boy’s day will not look too much different except that his social skills class will be a pull-out from his electives, and combined with the pull-out for speech, he could potentially be pulled out of his elective classes four days out of five for a half hour.  That’s a recipe for some negative behavior, if you ask me, but they didn’t, so The Boy (and they) will have to deal with it.

I mentioned that we will be  building a house in-district, to which they responded very happily, and made it clear that if we were not residing in said house by the time 9th grade rolled around, The Boy would be placed in his current home high school.  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.  Even if we are not in said house by then.  But I will fight that battle if and when I need to.

I’m crossing my fingers for these plans not to change too much between now and August. I’m pleased I didn’t have to fight, and encouraged by the team in place. Now to get the house built…

First Day Report

The Boy had a great first day.  I received a note in his planner reporting on it, and an email from his new band teacher saying he did very well, and pointing out that we could work on the rests (and listen to recordings of the tunes on the band’s website).

Tuba with four rotary valves.

Just like The Boy’s but his would never, ever be found on the ground like that!

This, THIS is what I’ve been looking for.  The Boy had a communication log in elementary, and while I know that middle school is different, this communication about his day is essential to me if I want to know what’s going on.  He did struggle in social studies today (of course!), and I’m not sure what that means yet, but we’ll figure it out and get him there.He was super excited to be at his new school, and to ride the van that is his transportation to and from school.  He gets to go directly to Grammy and Poppy’s house after school, and everything in that arena worked just as it should.  Longer rides, but he isn’t the only kid in the van, and The Boy seemed happy.

I’m happy.

I think this just might work.

 

Got Your Summer Booked Yet?

One of the biggest anxieties The Boy has about moving is that he will miss his ESY program (that’s Extended School Year, if you weren’t aware).  ESY is a service that public schools provide to children who would otherwise take a drastic step backward in their academic and behavioral progress if they did not continue a type of school structure through the summer months.  Many districts keep this service on the down-low because if parents don’t know about it, and don’t ask about it, and they don’t happen to mention it at the IEP, they don’t have to have a program and pay for it.  I know districts that do this on purpose, intimately. Some districts even go so far as to tell parents that their children don’t need it, just so that they don’t have to have a program…

But The Boy’s district has a fabulous program, although it has scaled back even in the five years The Boy has attended, I’m assuming due to funding cuts.  In any case, he digs it.  Looks forward to it, and collects the T-shirts (even from years before he attended, thanks to an awesome gift from his amazing ASD teacher).  It’s like really, really laid back school.  But it’s structure, and school-like, so The Boy can’t get enough.

The Pink Shirt

Now, when we move, from what I can tell, there is nothing like that where we will be.  Plan B is a summer program offered either by the Boys and Girls Club or the City Parks and Rec department.  If it isn’t Boy-friendly (i.e. they’re not used to having special needs kids participate…), it soon will be. I can guarantee that.

I just hope we can get him in a daily program with enough structure that he will enjoy it, and maybe meet some new friends.  It breaks my heart that he won’t be able to attend ESY, but I hope with a little planning and forethought, we can find him the next best thing.

Wish us luck!