I had not gone through the public school system before to obtain an IEP for Daniel. I was not sure, how things were going to go or if it would be a positive experience for us. After the assessments we had, I became a little concerned and cautious about what was going to happen. His IQ was determined to be very low – I found this surprising, but mostly I could not comprehend the huge difference between the psych eval and his everyday life and academics.
I do have to help him a great deal, but I do not do his work for him.
I make him responsible for his learning and completing his assignments. Some days I push to the point that is too far because I know he can do it. However, I also give him many breaks, give him the most accommodating working conditions as possible, listen to him when he says that he is done, and I gauge his stressors. I can tell the difference between him being unable to do anymore for the day and when he does not want to. Still the whole situation caused me to doubt myself a little bit. However, his teacher is AMAZING! She has worked with me from day one and has thought of ideas and strategies to try while we have been waiting for the IEP to be set in place.
The meeting involved five others and me.
The psychologist was very “gentle” with her words about Daniel’s abilities. She continued to say that she believed that Daniel did not test according to his actual abilities. This did ease my mind. It was very helpful that his teacher was in the meeting and had actual experience with communicating with Daniel. Overall, the meeting was much better than I could have hoped for. I felt that my input was respected. I felt as if everyone had taken Daniel and myself into consideration when determining his needs.
We went over all of the details of his assessments.
They asked me if I agreed or disagreed with what was shared. I felt that I was able to state my opinions and concerns. I did feel horrible for a moment though when I was asked what Daniel’s strengths were. I went blank. I could not think of what I wanted to say, what came out was “Science and Math.” Daniel was rubbing a stone against the tile floor and metal air vent at that particular time. It was hurting my ears very much. He was also walking in and out of the room asking me why I was on the phone. I guess I can take it easy on myself a little bit there – all of that was quite distracting AND I already have phone anxiety.
I felt a lot of support from everyone.
There were several statements made by the psychologist about how Daniel would benefit from having a structured environment and many breaks. I explained how I am able to get Daniel to do school and all of the “structure” I implement to ensure that he is able to do his school. Many breaks are taken. Hence, his current success with completing most of his curriculum and achieving the grades he does. Some days it takes all day to get through two lessons other days we can get through six in much less time. I am not going to stay quiet about it, it takes A LOT of work to get him to focus, and do his schoolwork. Some days I feel like quitting other days like today, I want to shout off the rooftop how awesome teaching him at home is.
I must share.
This morning he actually completed his writing assignment without any arguments of outbursts. Later, he had his online class with reading help and for the first time he read for his teacher over the microphone! His teacher clapped, I clapped, and Daniel said, “I did a great job!” It was great, especially since, only five minutes prior he was refusing to go to class and was starting to escalate into a meltdown. I have been trying some new positive techniques and making sure that I follow through and stay consistent. We both have been benefiting from the change.
Back to the IEP.
I really do not have a whole lot to say about the actual meeting other than, it went very well. They followed through on everything in a timely manner and I am very happy with the results. The goals are all realistic though challenging. They are geared toward the areas I feel Daniel needs specific help in. They are keeping him on track for his high school diploma. He will not be going into special education classes. He will get extra time to complete his assignments. They have taken several other classes off his curriculum so we can focus on his core lessons.
Our main focus is helping him with his language arts and reading.
He comprehends so much more than he can verbalize and it makes it difficult to truly figure out what he knows. I am excited to receive the services to help him. In the past two years I have gotten exhausted and overwhelmed with several things in trying to help Daniel progress in areas. I knew I was at the point where I needed more help. I am so thankful to finally have all of these new resources to provide him with more tools to succeed and progress. I am looking forward to everything. He will have OT once a week, speech/language therapy twice a week, learning support once a week, and a social skills group once a week. I feel that I can gain just as much from these as he will.
I also feel a huge weight lifted from my shoulders in that I am no longer doing this alone.
I now have people I can ask for help or direction. I think it will give Daniel more confidence and learn some independence. One of my desires for Daniel is that he will become more self-reliant, currently he depends on me for everything. I know that I am at fault with this in some ways, but I have been the only one who understood him or knew how to help him. Others have a difficult time remembering or being “in-tune” to what he is experiencing or why he is experiencing it. It can be hard to discern at times, why Daniel does what he does, when he does it – I struggle too at times.
Enrolling into this virtual school has been one of the best things that I have done for the kids and I.
I love the structure and schedule to follow. I love that I am still heavily involved in their learning. I really like the fact that I am being held accountable and have guidelines, extra resources, other people to learn from, and can pull ideas from message boards and their teachers. For me it is fabulous. I think next year will go much smoother, but this year is looking pretty good. My experience with the teachers and with the IEP has been a positive experience. I am so happy that it has turned out this way because the last several years have been so frustrating and hopeless in many ways in trying to get services for him. I really needed something to give me a bit of hope with all of this. We have not started the therapies yet. We will see how everything works – I am always cautious!
However, I am pleased with all that has transpired thus far and I am very hopeful.