Sorry it has been so long since my last blog, but life gets in the way…
Everyone with a child in special education, who has a blog, posts at least once on the IEP, so here are the thoughts tumbling around in my mind right now.
I have been doing a lot of reading of blogs of adults with aspergers and gaining a lot of insight from their perspective. Thank you to all of you out there [Karla’s ASD Page, John Elder Robison, Inner Aspie and The Autcast]. Their writings strike a cord with me especially in the areas regarding what expectations are put on them by the mainstream (neurotypical) world. By asking them to learn to be “normal” we are by implication saying that who/what they are is bad or wrong. I don’t want my son to have that impression about himself or his life. He is awesome just how he is.
So back to the IEP. Being fairly new to the process (my son is only in 1st grade), I have just gone with what the special education teachers recommended. For kindergarten that was fine since it really hadn’t even been determined what he would need at that point anyway. Going into 1st grade I wasn’t really happy about having him pulled out for special ed services which primarily focus on social skills since from what I have read these types of things are not really generalized to other situations anyway, so I called and asked if more could be done in the classroom. I was told that this was the standard schedule for special ed and basically that was all that was available, so I went with it again. This year my son is starting to notice that he gets pulled out and other kids don’t. He has mostly asked about it in reference to his sensory breaks. I asked if he would rather give these up and he does not; he needs these in order to be able to focus the rest of the day. He does not complain about his social skills group, but I have noticed that several times he has had problems with the transitioning to and from this group. Less transitions for him seem to be better.
Well, now that I feel more educated, I think I am about to make myself disliked by the special education team in recommending for next year that we remove the social skills group and goals from his IEP and focus more on organizational skills, reading and writing and behavioral goals. I believe these will serve him better in the long run. He is at grade level in reading and writing, but it is a struggle to get him to participate in the class work that is done in these areas. We need to find out what can help him do what he needs to do instead of having to call in help for him when he won’t do what he is supposed to do. I don’t know the answer to what that is, but to me it is a better IEP goal than social skills he most likely won’t generalize.
I would also like him to start to be involved in telling us what is working and what isn’t. I always ask him and then communicate with his teacher, but maybe we need to all meet together and let him start speaking for himself. Some say 7 is too young, but I am not so sure it is. He may need help or prompting, he may get bored, but he should be heard.
Please share any experiences you have!
Update: The IEP meeting went well. The many accommodations that we have talked about and implemented were discussed and will get put into writing. I am not sure how they will be weaved into the IEP, but get the sense they will mostly be in the accommodations section. I’d like to see them as goals, but we’ll see what they return to me. I am still going along with the social group because he doesn’t seem to mind it at this point and it is scheduled at a time when he really needs the break from reading and writing exercises. In my opinion, the thing that makes the biggest difference, however, is the teacher and aide in the regular classroom which is where my son is most of the day and thank God we have great ones! I am so happy to have an enormous amount of communication which benefits all. Two great years in a row (not easy, but great), dare I ask for another?