Monday, 18 June 2012

The Dreaded IEP Meetings

It's that time of the year again, the time when parents are called to the school to review their child's progress and talk about expectations for the new school year in September.

This year is different for me.  Regardless of what the staff thinks of me, my boy's done good this year, thanks to a wonderful teacher who actually cares about him and his education.  It wasn't always this way.

At one time (until last year, from grade one until grade three), education had become an "us" (parents) versus "them" (teachers, guidance cousnellors and principals).  How did this happen?  Why did this happen?  Did we not have the same goal here, that is to teach my son how to become a productive member of society?  And how is a parent supposed to feel comfortable during meetings when it feels like the school staff are the probation officers and you and your child are petty criminals?  How do both parties come up with an amicable resolution to your child's education when there's this underlying perception that it is you, the parent, that are the cause of your child's behaviour?

Having had a break from feeling like a criminal this past year, as well as having the chance to meet some really wonderful EA's this past year, I now wonder how teachers feel...  Teachers and educational assistants who are percieved by the parents to be the cause of the child's behavioral issues?  Our pride rears its ugly head and denies, denies and denies that our child could possibly be what they describe.  My most famous comment to teachers is "wow, are you sure you're describing my babe?  I mean, he sure doesn't behave like that at home..."

It seems in the chaos we all forget that the child is a person of his own.  Yes, the child learns things by observing parental behavior, but he/she also learns from teacher behavior as well as their classmates from school.  I think that at this point in Dayton's life, he is more likely to learn most of his behviours from he classmates then us adults.  It's no longer cool to look up to us old folk.

So, to recap the year for Dayton:  He's made some great progress, especially when it comes to controlling his impulses to strike out at people who 'annoy' him.  Dayton's been using his words much more affectively rather than his fists.  Thank heavens!!!

The meeting was friendly, with no digs towards my parenting, which was awesome!  All of us were smiling and focused on Dayton's strengths.  While Dayton didn't meet all of his goals on his Individual Education Plan (IEP), we didn't get all gloomy about it.

The only part that made me sad and apprehensive is Dayton's grade level...  While he will be heading into grade five next September, my babe is intellectually sitting at a grade one level...  Make that beginning grade one level.  While I've always worried about my son, I'm terrified now.  What does this mean for his future?  Was I wrong?  Was I in denial believing my son will be a contributing member of society?  I'm scared.

As my dad Paul always says, consider yourselves hugged,


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