Today marked the end of the first full week of school. Other than a minor hiccup yesterday, Mickey had a great week. He got upset that they didn’t have his preferred cereal for breakfast and he hit the table and cried. The crying wouldn’t be normal for him, but I think the summer got him out of practice on having to maintain control day in and day out. But, after a five minute break, he was back under control and the rest of the day went swimmingly. Minnie adores second grade and has been reunited in class with her kindergarten BFF and she is thrilled.
We had Mickey’s IEP meeting in April and we all agreed that Mickey doesn’t need as restrictive of a setting as his current placement is. Over the summer we also learned that the Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the program that Mickey is a part of for lack of extracurricular activities, recess, art and music, etc. The small setting has been good for Mickey in many ways, but he could easily be served in a less restrictive environment. But, short of going back to his previous school – which we both hated, he is stuck there unless we can get him re-evaluated and switch educational tracks.
4+ months after his IEP team made this decision, we finally got the call today from the county psychologist and on Thursday of next week they will begin the evaluation process. This is big news and I am very excited. Mickey is somewhat nervous. He is comfortable where he is, but he wants things that aren’t available there – like playing in band and singing in chorus. He is scared to start somewhere new and leave the comfort of a teacher that he has had since second grade who knows him and can identify his triggers before even he can sometimes.
Just a note on the IEP/Special education process around here – we have had more than our share of IEP meetings in the last couple of years, but almost every one has been a good experience. They didn’t always have the results I wanted, nor do I always get my way, but all but two have been very collaborative (the two at the school we hated – 1 was just his teacher with no school representation at all, and 1 was when we chose to pull him from the school). I have never doubted that all parties at these meetings had Mickey’s best interests at heart. I have pushed for the fewest accommodations needed, and we have usually found solutions by thinking outside of the box. I want to set the bar high and move it if needed, I do not want low expectations set for Mickey, because we need to see what he is capable of. I am perfectly content to move the bar if he can’t reach it, but I don’t want to set lower expectations – behaviorally or academically. We have a wonderful school system here, but the special needs programs need some work. So, I don’t want to complain because we are fortunate to have a good system and good people, but we have some valid concerns, like the fact that my 9 year old hasn’t had a recess in a year and isn’t allowed outside of the school for even fresh air, nor has he attended a music or art class in that time. So, we are looking to move and hoping that he is ready.