Ahh the joy of Spring... IEP meetings are always the hot topic in the Down syndrome community - to include or not to include? To fight or not to fight? What does LRE really mean and is our school doing it RIGHT? How do I get my child the services appropriate (not best) for him/her? Do I push for my neighborhood school or send my child where the district wants him/her? What about repeating a grade? Is that good or bad... do I even have a say in that matter?
OH yes, IEP meetings are FUN. You go in with your stomach in knots, try not to cry when they tell you just how far behind your child is and try not to rip their heads off when they assume that they know your child better than you do and argue with you about what's best for them. How's that for a run on sentence? ;)
Thankfully, Kennedy's IEP meeting was easy peasy. I've been feeling her team out for a few weeks now... I have spent this last year building trust, because you know... once bitten... I figured out quickly that we're all on the same page with Kenn, which helps A LOT. We all agree she's had a fabulous school year. She's made lots of friends, her speech, writing and reading have improved a ton! She struggles most with math (and dreads math class, math homework, and everything else math related), but if you catch her in the right mood, she'll do it. She lines up when coming in from recess almost 100% of the time now which is huge! She thrives on positive reinforcement, loves to learn (especially when she "gets it"), and loves to perform and dance just about any time she gets a free second. HA! She needs to work on using kind words and having empathy for her friends. With improved speech comes the other side of the coin... she tells you exactly what she thinks at all times, whether it's nice or not. On a good note, you never have to wonder how she's feeling. ;)
Kennedy's IEP for 2nd grade will look much like this years... 90% inclusion with pull outs for therapies and some resource time (especially with math!). She'll have her same paras which makes me very happy! She has accommodations for test taking, placement in the classroom, and other things to help make her successful. We talked about different IEP goals (she mastered almost all of hers this year!) and what's most important for her learning NOW. We all put our heads together and I believe Kenn has another great year ahead of her!
As for her general ed classroom, my only request was that she goes to a teacher who wants her. There are many fabulous teachers who are not prepared/comfortable or have the want to have kids with SN in their class. I'm ok with that. I just want her to be in a classroom where she is wanted. Two of the second grade teachers have asked for her. That makes me happy. :) I have no doubt that Kenn's 2nd grade year will be as amazing as this year was. She has a strong team behind her who loves her and is cheering her on... and they believe in her. So we finished her meeting and ate pie. I wish all IEP meetings could be this way. :)
OK it's summer... no more thinking about school right now. I'm off to the mall with my kiddos! :) If you made it this far, you're my hero! ;)