Monday, May 12, 2014

The results of the IEP meeting...

After debating and emailing back and forth with Hunter’s resource teacher, I found out that Hunter had to be in the  IEP meeting to go over his goals for the future. After that, many of the students leave the meeting and go back to class, but Hunter had requested to stay for the entire meeting. His resource teacher really thought it was a good idea. I was not so sure, but decided we should give it a try.

I was so nervous before Hunter’s IEP meeting. I am always a little apprehensive, but knowing he was going to be there for the first time had me on edge. I was concerned as to how he would react to hearing things about himself. I know he does not take any kind of criticism well, so I thought it could be interesting.

The morning of his IEP meeting, he put on a polo shirt. My child who fights like Rambo to not wear any kind of collared shirt put on a polo shirt all by himself.( He wore basketball shorts with it,  but I’m not complaining…baby steps!) He said he wanted to look nice for the meeting.  I was a little shocked.

My hubby and I arrived a few minutes before the meeting. We watched as the teachers filed into the conference room. Then, Hunter walked into the office. He didn’t seem nervous or unsure. He was all smiles! He seemed excited!

The meeting followed normal protocol, but this time they addressed Hunter more than Jeff and I. They told him his rights, they told us our privacy rights. Then, the teachers introduced themselves and we introduced ourselves.

Each teacher began to tell their positive thoughts and concerns for Hunter.  One by one they said how sweet he is. Each one said that he is so smart and funny. We heard over and over that he is a great kid! They genuinely seemed to like my boy and it was an awesome feeling. They talked about how happy he seems and how much more comfortable he seems this year compared to last year. Wow, what a sharp contrast one year can make!

One of the main concerns was his socialization. No, not that he is not social, but a little too social. Apparently, my boy is quite the talker. In typical Asperger’s form, his main problem is knowing when to talk at the appropriate time, so we will continue to work on that.

They are also concerned about his handwriting and speeding through his work, which has been an issue with Hunter since his first day of school. I am pretty sure his handwriting is a thing of the past. I figured out a long time ago that his penmanship was never going to be legible, and I’m okay with that. Thank God for computers! We just have to get him to slow down when he is doing his work. We have our work cut out for us on that one.

I looked over at him as the teachers complimented him and talked about their concerns. He just smiled and took it all in stride. He threw a few one-liners in every once in a while (not always at the appropriate time), and we all chuckled. He was genuinely a part of the meeting.

They talked with him about what he would like to be when he is an adult. He told them a professional athlete. The room kind of fell silent. Every kid has the right to dream, so we will leave it at that!

He has graduated from speech for the first time since he was 3. He is now on a consult basis. He felt really good about achieving that goal. He will still have a resource teacher next year to help him stay organized. He still needs accommodations like more test taking time, shorter assignments, and a few small things to help him along the way, but it is amazing how many strides he has made!

Hunter did a great job during the meeting. I don’t think it was a bad thing for him to be a part of it. I did feel like I had to suppress some of my questions or concerns because I just didn’t want to bring them up in front of him or embarrass him. None of it was earth shattering, so if need be, I can bring those things up as they arise.

I was proud of him! I am proud of the young man he is becoming. I am happy that he stepped up and wanted to be part of his education, and I am glad that we made the decision to have him in the meeting. I believe it gave him a new level of confidence. I am always telling him how important his education will be for his future, and maybe somewhere along the way he heard me…maybe!