I never expected to be in a place where I would completely and utterly forget that we had an IEP meeting approaching.
After all the battles, I had become accustomed to days or weeks of preparation and fretting before each meeting. We would consult with our advocate, we would research, we would pour over every written communication since the last meeting, we would chart his progress in Excel and if you happened to be one of my SKYPE pals you had best be prepared for us to pick your brains…repeatedly….insane, right? But, that was life in this district. At every turn we expected to be told, “He doesn’t belong.” and we were never disappointed. We always needed to be able to prove that they were wrong. He does belong. He belongs with his peers. He belongs in the classroom. He isn’t an object to be pulled out at recess or lunch.
As a completely refreshing change of pace, we walked into today’s meeting questioning whether we even needed a notebook1. Given the fact that we’d reached a place last summer where we were strongly considering a tape recorder…that’s pretty impressive. We’ve been getting regular communication from Monkey’s teacher, she’s very matter of fact in pointing out the positives and the not-so-positives. When she points out a problem, she always has an idea of what to try next. She clearly finds Monkey to be an engaging, funny, lovable little guy, as all of his teachers have, but she also knows he’s smart and full of potential. She won’t wait until the next meeting to bring up a concern because that would be wasting her time, ours and Monkey’s. It’s very refreshing!
So, we walked in expecting nothing major and that’s what we got! He is making progress in all areas. Switching him from the inclusion room to the smaller room for math and substituting writing workshop is going very well. Writing workshop is more suited to his strengths so he’s less anxious in the classroom in general and becoming more social with his peers. They’ve increased his inclusion by using reverse inclusion for afternoon circle and Monkey LOVES having his friends from the other classroom come visit him on “his” turf…he shows off for them even. They’re continuing to work on ways to increase his independence.
There is one class he’s having continued struggles with though…music. So many kids with fragile x love music, Monkey is not one of them. They realized that this class is the most unpredictable of all of his specials. The teacher will randomly call on students to sing or dance and Monkey’s anxiety over being called created some issues. He would go limp noodle and try to escape, lol. They’ve given him a tool to use in that class, he can turn his “Not Ready” card over and he knows the teacher won’t call on him, and it’s working, to a point. He no longer goes limp noodle and tries to escape but, just before break, he let his teacher know he’s not quite completely comfortable in there yet.
They were standing in the hall, outside the music room, when the music teacher approached them. Monkey ducked his head and said, under his breath, “Shit, here she comes!” *snort* Yep, they’ve still got a ways to go there but I know she’s already thinking of new things to try.