Thursday, 1 December 2011

Our IEP (Individual Education Plan) Meeting

It's nice to be able to write this with a smile on my face.  How proud am I?!  Super proud of my boy and his accomplishments this year.  Super proud of all his hard work.  Super grateful to his educational assistant and teacher.

The resource teacher was surprised I had decided to go alone to this IEP meeting.  I've always gone in with an enormous team to back me up, mostly for the school's benefit then my own, so that when parenting questions arose, I could have a CFS worker there telling them that my parenting was just fine, and that they needed to focus on Dayton's schooling instead of my parenting.  Remember in my last post I mentioned that until recently I didn't like hurting people's feelings or being rude or standing up for myself?  Yeah, since that's changed, I'm good to go to school by myself...

It seems the staff received the message from my team last year, as this year's IEP meeting was more than pleasant.  We were all smiling, all proud of Dayton and all talking about Dayton rather than what's happening at home.  What a refreshing change!

I loved sitting beside Dayton's new teacher, a woman I've only met once before.  This woman is an angel in my eyes.  She clearly gets my babe!  I'm just amazed at how this is possible, when he's never had a teacher 'get him' before.  She spoke clearly, and was very knowledgeable of Dayton's strengths and weaknesses and had clear cut ideas on how to reach his IEP goals.  She kept talking about Dayton as though she's spent time with him, something that's never happened before with any other teacher!  Holly cow, this woman spends time with my baby!!!  I couldn't stop staring at her, like she was a new, sparkly, shiny toy...  and I'm sure by the end of the meeting, she must have thought Dayton clearly got his autism from his 'weirdo mother.'  I've never had a teacher speak about Dayton in this way before.  I mean, she 'gets him!'  I'm still a little stunned!
Pretty sure this was the look on my face, it was something like this still when I got home
Sitting across from Dayton's Educational Assistant was fantastic.  Even though I've already told her that I think she's awesome, I still wanted to thank her in front of the principal that she is fantastic and that I'm grateful for all the work she's done with Dayton.

I'm a firm believer that without the right people in place, our kids will learn NOTHING.  I'm certain these two women have had a huge impact on Dayton's education this year, and he's made huge gains this year thanks to the work of these fantastic women.

The guidance counsellor, a woman who's doubted my parenting (my opinion) in the past, was pleasant, respectful and helpful!  She even made time for me after our IEP meeting to show me how she teaches 1st graders reading recovery and spelling.  This was very much appreciated as I'm struggling how to explain to Dayton why there's an 'e' at the end of words that is not pronounced, like 'lake, snake, make,' etc.

I think the thing that struck me the most about our separate meeting was that we were actually able to communicate.  We've never been able to do that civilly in the past.  It always ended up with one of us blowing up or me getting emotional and feeling wounded because of her judgemental comments.  I'm not sure what's happened, if I've changed or if she's changed, but I like it.  I like to be able to talk to her as she is involved in my babe's education, and we need to be able to work together.  I think we finally can.

I've been so jilted by the education system until this year, I'm afraid to let my guard down and simply trust.  Once trust is gone, it is so hard to get back.  Do I dare let my guard down?  Should I inch it down just a smidgen?

Baby steps.  How do you take those again?

Consider yourselves hugged,


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