We had an amazing IEP meeting and a great Student Study Team (SST) meeting. So, why am I more confused and anxious? I think I know……
Middle school terrifies me. My middle school experience was not the best—I was bullied. I was not “geeky” or “brainy” or “athletic” or any other real click. I was one of those kids that got along with many groups and lots of other kids. I was in some advanced classes and some regular classes. Some of my elementary friends had gone on to be cheerleaders and football players. I had a group of friends that were my “besties,” but could work on a group project with anyone. But I was bullied by an older girl. She sought me out in the PE locker room, the lunch room, the hallways, before and after school…and she was good at it. Nothing too overt and not in front of the teachers.
Our 14 year old has shared that he has reported (anonymously) bullies on three occasions in his school. He has even stepped up and spoken up to his friends who were saying mean things and talking bad about other students who are “different.” I worried about him at first, but he is not the brick. The teen can stand up for himself in the “right” way. He gets the social rules and expectations. He is a neuro-typical kid. And a social butterfly.
We had the IEP meeting last Thursday and I really did expect it to go well. While there are not sides in an IEP meeting, we often come to the table armed and ready for a fight. Lord knows, we have had our share of these meetings. The last two and a-half years though (with the exception of a single meeting—that I have a feeling was the result of some mis-communication) we have not felt that way at all. We have an amazing IEP team. Our ASD teacher and the Gen Ed teachers really have the brick’s interest at heart. They see his needs and help us get the services and goals added. We have been very lucky! We originally scheduled this meeting as a follow up for spelling and reading concerns post vision evaluation. The brick’s teacher asked if, since we were due for an update soon and scheduled to meet for the SST meeting with middle school the next day, we could update the IEP as well. Sure, no problem. We got spelling goals added, updated the PLOP (present level of performance), added goals, tweaked old goals, added some new accommodations (as a result of the vision eval) and had a great meeting.
The next day, Friday, we had a SST meeting with the middle school. A SST meeting is a formal meeting, like an IEP, where the participants discuss the child’s progress, concerns, strengths and challenges. Then come up with a plan and re-meet to complete the IEP. Everyone who knows the child gets to speak. Because middle school doesn’t know the brick, this put the ball in our court and let us run the meeting. If they don’t know him, his strengths, weakness, progress or concerns, they have nothing to contribute until the plan and services/accommodations are being discusses. That let us accurately and completely describe him and his needs. And, it worked like a charm. They listened to us. I spoke, daddy brick spoke, and the brick’s ASD teacher was there and spoke. The middle school really only spoke to offer info and answer questions. It was perfect. We felt heard, our questions were answered and we left feeling good about the school and the staff/teachers.
So why the continued anxiety??
To be continued……