I’ve shared my love of IEP meetings here, before, but this last one was particularly hard. Monday morning before vacation, I met at Knox’s school to go over his progress from this year and discuss next year’s plans. He’s been at this elementary school since he turned three as a part of their special needs preschool class. He’s been in the same classroom with the same teacher and assistants for two-and-a-half years. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to this meeting!
We discussed the typical things and how well Knox had met (or not met) his goals for the year. It’s never super fun hearing your child talked about in such a clinical manner, but at the same time, there were some awesomely familiar faces around the table that always go to bat for Knox and love him dearly. It was all pretty normal until we started talking about where to send him next year. The past couple IEP meetings, I have not had a hard time because I knew Knox was still going to be in preschool and likely at the same school. This time? Not so much.
I feel like kindergarten is something that most moms have anxiety about, but add to that an Autism diagnosis and a child that can’t voice his own opinion or thoughts well, and you have a recipe for some major mom tears. There’s a new program beginning in our district next year that’s a transitional program for kids with Autism. He’ll be in a small class (about nine kids) that works a lot on communication and social skills, then, he will go to a regular-ed class for a few classes. The idea is to work him up to a full day in a regular kindergarten class. He is going to be using general education curriculum (that’s a praise) since he’s considered on grade-level, academically. hearing a little bit about how things work in transitional programs made my anxiety levels skyrocket. The thought of my kid having to walk down a hallway to another class makes me want to throw up. I brought up my concerns, like Knox’s running away/bolting habit, and hopefully concessions will be made for those types of things. I left the meeting feeling very uneasy and unhappy with the plan. It just doesn’t feel “right.” But I also don’t know what does.
I know this program has what Knox needs, educationally. It’s just so different from what we had hoped for him. We have always planned to homeschool or send him to a private Christian school, so there’s just a lot of change and some things we feel like we can’t control. For a control freak, that’s an uncomfortable place to be. Knox’s well-being is and will always be our primary goal. We still haven’t decided what to do, but that’s the recommendation that was made by the school. I’m trying to focus on the positives here, and the fact that it is a step forward for him because remaining stagnant isn’t a positive thing. But… oh, big change, how lame are thee.
So basically, I was a basket case the second I left the meeting. I cried all day after the IEP on Monday- I feel so badly for all of those people that accidentally got cried to all day long… and when I got home. It was one of those days that takes every ounce of your energy away. Then, Tuesday was Knox’s last ever day of preschool. Picture me a hot mess by then. I had to write Knox’s teachers “good bye” letters and deliver those, and I could barely look at them for fear of boohooing like a crazy person. My mom picked Knox up from school and reported that every one of his teachers (and she) was crying having to say good bye. Good-byes are the WORST.
Why is having kids so hard? I mean, for real. I’m going to have a little reality vacation this week and pretend like Knox never has to go to school again and can just hang out with me for all of the days. I think I am going to visit the teacher Knox would have in this program tomorrow, accompanied by his preschool teacher from this year (because she is a amazing person who loves our kiddo so much she offered to do this with me) to get a better feel for how his year would go. I’ll be able to see the school, his class, etc. I’m pursuing a couple different ideas, as well, including homeschool and a private school-ish situation. I’ll let you guys know how it goes- please be praying for us as we make this decision!
Because this kid deserves the very best life has to offer