Friday, May 23, 2008

Where does this child belong?

It's been awhile since I blogged, but it seems these last weeks of school and a few other activities Casey is involved, plus work, has taken up a lot of time. I find myself reading others thinking "Gee, I need to blog" and then get distracted.

Not that there isn't lots to talk about, so many things changing for Case. So many things in the works, summer, camp, Indy visits. I guess the biggest issue is considering and then acting upon changing what we sorta established last week as his educational plan for next year in his IEP.

Ever since I went to visit his new school next year, I have had trepedations about moving him into the same situation he's in now- part of the day in the Autism program, part in regular ed. But, after seeing the room that I thought that he would be in for AI (this is the term they use for the Autism program), I basically shed tears, thinking I was sorta setting him up for the rest of his career in school to be obtaining lifeskills and not a lot of emphasis on being "diploma bound" if you will. I am not putting down a lifeskills curriculum for some kids, it's reality, it's what will work for them, and hopefully make their adult lives tolerable and happy. But I want to find out if Case could do more than that, I want to see if maybe, just maybe, he could go to college, he could have a career. Who knows. But I know deep down, if I keep him in the AI program, I probably won't see that happen if it is possible.

We had the IEP though, and we basically signed off on another year of the same, I think more out of familiarity, uncertainty, security. THis will be a new school, 5th graders are bigger, more mature. Did I want him around them all day had I done things differently on the IEP. We left feeling ok about things, but I still have an itch that I can't scratch. One that is telling me that we didnt' make the right move for Casey, considering what we want for him.

I had avoided my dear friend who is an activist in the field of inclusion in our school district. Her son is a year older than Casey, incredibly intelligent, but still having some issues, and his verbals skills are still a work in progress. But she's had him in full on regular ed for the past 3 years, and doing fine. She has always encouraged me to do the same. But I have so much fear about it, would he get services if he wasn't in a special program, would he have to ride the regular bus with regular kids who picked on him? WOuld have a good paraprofessional that would work with him, not for him, but still make sure he wasnt' getting beat up in the bathroom or on the playground. All these thoughts have held me back, despite the fact that my friend has never reported such issues about her son's situation. I hadn't spoken to her about much of anything, for fear she would lull me into wanting to change things for him.

Stupid me called her the other day, and of course being the awesome, on top of things person that she is, knew I had had our IEP. I told her the whole story, and of course, she started on me:
"So, you are going to put him in a program that left you in
tears after you saw it?".
Stunned silence......
"yeah" I replied, in a stupid child to her mother after doing something dumb and having to answer to it.
"Hhhmmm" she replied without really saying anything but everything.

The conversation continued, and in short, she has offered to be an advocate if we wanted to get him in regular ed and do it right.

I can't stop thinking about it now, and will continue this train of thought later......


Club 166 said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

In terms of placement issues, I am generally in favor of as much inclusion as possible (with the proper supports).

But that doesn't mean that that's the right answer for every kid at every time. We have had our worst experiences with full inclusion (in Kindergarten) and our best experiences (this year, 2nd grade).

For most of one year he was bussed back and forth, mornings in a class for emotionally disturbed kids, afternoons in a regular class. That was after his horrible year in Kindergarten. It took us most of that time for our lawyer and us to get him into a decent situation.

The mornings were wasted time, educationally. I don't know if you work outside of the home, but my wife managed to keep Buddy Boy up to speed by essentially homeschooling him.

So I guess what I'm saying is if you stay with what's already planned for next year, it doesn't necessarily mean that your son will fall behind, if you consciously supplement what he's getting.


Marla said...

Ideally, he would be in regular ed and still ride the special bus if that is what he needed. Also, get pull out services, etc.

I am not totally for inclusion. I think it depends on the child and what works best. Inclusion was never a good match for M. It was terrible, in fact. She did much better in a special classroom with fewer students. I totally think it depends on the school and the child.

Good luck on getting everything figured out. If you have not done so all ready buy the book From Emotions to Advocacy which will help you advocate for your child. It is a must have book!