Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ARDs or IEP meetings

Here are the pictures from Andrew's birthday party and graduation.

Felt and Jackson take a break the in bounce house.

Grandad's chatting it up!

Everyone tasting the yummy homemade icecream
and GFCF cupcakes

This picture didn't turn out the best but he looked adorable
in the cap and gown. Now I know why kindergarden parents
go crazy over that graduation.

Well we had another ARD meeting yesterday, or as some older folks like to call it an A- R -D meeting. Andrew is now getting augmentative communication ( voiceoutput devices and equipment) and adaptive physical education (special ed P.E). I also requested a music therapy evaluation even though the special ed coordinator at the last meeting told me we could not request this until he showed no progress on goals. I told his teacher she was wrong and I could print out federal law if I needed to. I'm sure I looked like one of those crazy parents when I showed up to the meeting yesterday with a stack full of reserach articles on the role of music therapy and it's success with children with Rett Syndrome. They agreed and also agreed to finally let him where his arm immobilizer to school- at first they said we couldn't and that it was a form of restraint. It was funny to watch Felt go off " I will fight you all the way on this one" at the last meeting. He scared the teacher again yesterday by asking her where she keeps his data collection on goals and objectives and that he would like to see it. I do like his teacher but she probably hasn't done much data collection with him. I try to remind Felt that not every teacher is like our dear friend Letty- who is now fostering one of her former spec ed students. I did try to kiss up a little to the teacher by buying her the book Ten things your Student with Autism
Wishes You Knew. I know we have been a bit high maintenance but we do want the best for Andrew and we will never give up the hope that he will learn lots of things and be able to communicate with us.

Yesterday I found some old pictures of Andrew at 18 months. They were hard for me to look at. He appeared so normal- still with us, playing with toys. They were bittersweet. It is nice to remember all that he could do and that he was normal like all other children. Reality hits when I had to feed him dinner and try to teach him how to use the fork, then to bathe him while he falls backwards into the water over and over again. I love my sweet boy but he is getting harder to manage the taller and heavier he gets. My back is really killing me today.
The conference in Dallas was ok. This might sound snooty but I feel like I have learned so much in the last 2 years and really in 7 years of working with children on the spectrum that there isn't much for me to learn at a workshop. Maybe I needed to go to realize this. I did get to see some friends from the Mesquite school district - autism specialists and teachers. It was nice to hear how my former students with autism are doing- they are now in middle school. Wow! It was also good to see some other friends and their kids. Bittersweet again because Andrew is around the same age as them and what I wouldn't give to hear the words "ma ma"- he never said those but he did say "Da Da" from 9-13 months of age. Tough stuff but I try to remember my favorite verse and repeat it to myself in moments like these. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

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