We had our parent/teacher conference yesterday afternoon. A few of the team members were unavailable due to illness but we still had a mix of teachers and therapists. We elected to spend the time just talking with each of the participants rather than reading the official report, at some point I should read it I suppose.
Monkey has now been in his current classroom for 6 weeks, which is just insane, it feels so much longer! They are seeing a lot of positive changes in him. The boy they are seeing sounds much more like the little boy we know. Of course they love him, who wouldn’t? They commented on what a sweet, gentle soul he is. They commented on how willing he is to work when motivated. They commented on how bright and manipulative he can be, hee. Yep, they were definitely talking about our boy.
This meeting was so much different than our progress report meeting last February. I actually asked Duhdee, just before we stepped into the room, “So, what do you think? Do butterflies just fly out of his butt?” That was the tone of our last progress report. The boy was brilliant and charming. He had met all of his goals and would be applying for Harvard by age 15! I’ve mentioned before that we went along with it because, really, what parent doesn’t want to hear that? After the cold slap of reality we received in June we had vowed we wouldn’t be taken in again.
We didn’t need to be so worried. This teacher just gets it. We heard lots of cute stories, we heard lots of talk about how well he transitioned into the classroom and how open he now is to learning. We also heard about the more challenging parts of his day and how they are addressing those challenges. We shared ideas, we asked for suggestions on things we can work on at home…it felt like an actual team. Stunning.
The teacher also wasn’t shy about discussing the “harder” questions. We mentioned that we were going to pursue another autism evaluation with a specialist who is familiar with both autism and Fragile X. She wanted to know how we’d feel if he kept that label after the evaluation.
She shared her concerns that his signs are still very much approximations and would not be understood by most people. We acknowledged that his fine motor delays are going to limit how effective he will be with signs and encouraged them to continue down the path of augmentative communication devices1.
She asked how we were feeling about next year, we have the option of letting him continue in his current placement for an additional year or continuing on to kindergarten. Duhdee and I are comfortable with him taking another year in his current placement, which she agreed with but she also encouraged us to register him for kindergarten in January2 so that the kindergarten option is still there for us if we change our minds in May.
All in all it was a great meeting. I did ask, just before the meeting broke up if there was anything in the report that would be shocking. I suppose I should have asked if there was anything in there that was contradictory instead since that was the issue last year. A+++ verbal reports and F written reports. The teacher laughed and assured us that there will be nothing surprising in the written report. Now won’t that be a nice surprise, in and of itself?