You know you are having a good day when you misplace IEP paperwork and know that the IEP is at 3 or so you thought. So we show up for Em’s IEP at 2:50. Her IEP meeting wasn’t until 3:30. OOPS!
That’s ok though. We had a chuckle and just chatted with her resource teacher prior to the meeting. My nerves were running high and we really wanted Em to come for some of the meeting. She refused outright. I even had a homemade cupcake for her. She stole the cupcake and came home.
Then our meeting got underway. I cannot begin to tell you how far Em has come in a year. We were talking about how less than a year ago we really were concerned as to how this year would turn out. We really were scared, all of us, as to how this year would turn out.
Last year’s meetings had me fighting the district. She wasn’t given the educational autism label as we live in one of the states where an ASD gives you an automatic label for school. She is “high functioning” enough and social enough to not meet that criterion. We argued over that point. I finally relented to the Emotional Behavioral Disability label as it would backdoor in resources she would need.
We tweaked those things over the year and going into the next IEP year we are going to maintain the same interventions. Em will have a schedule that puts her core classes in the mornings. We tracked her struggles this year and it seems her most difficult hours are most often in the afternoon. Occasionally she will struggle first thing in the morning but she doesn’t take long to regroup.
She will continue to check in and out with her resource teacher daily. She will have sensory breaks built into her schedule but we know better than to tell her that as she will fight them. She may not think she needs them but we’ve seen how not taking them makes her struggle more during the day.
She will be working on a 5 point system for how she is feeling in regards to agitation and anxiety. 1 being Happy/Good, 2 Anxious/Antsy/Nervous, 3 Upset/Confused, 4 Mad/Hurting, and 5 Very Angry/Frustrated/Overwhelmed. Our goal was to keep her at a 3 or lower and for the most part on most days she is usually at a 1 – 3. Occasionally she hits a 4 but rare to see a 5 and then we look for triggers. She fills out a sheet and turns it in to the resource teacher so we can track things and see if there is a pattern and it’s also an indicator for her resource teacher to meet up with her core teachers and find out what’s going on in class.
Social stories and visual schedules are key for Em. The nice thing about the 5 pt scale sheet is that Em’s resource teacher makes one each morning to notate changes in Em’s schedule and that gives her a visual to any changes and where she needs to be and when.
Em will still be able to request breaks as needed but the goal is to keep her in the classroom as much as possible. She will have an aide with her for some of the day. Not all day but for certain classes or days when there is testing or things she may need help with.
She will have reinforcement points given to her to earn rewards to encourage good choices. And she is being taught relaxation/calming strategies and encouraged to be used. She’s done remarkably well in this area this year.
She will have accommodations made for state and district tests. She will have assistance with some projects at school. We have some modifications for homework. And we are continuing to set goals to give her more independence and advocate for her.
I found it very odd to be on the same page and not have to fight. After fighting with districts for 3 years as a grizzly momma, I wonder if this was a dream. Don’t wake me if I am. I think having a group of women who get Em and have started fighting FOR her since the beginning of the year and not having people fighting in general made it easier to focus on what Em needed. This was a small group and it was all about Em.
So until next time, we are on the same page. I just hope we stay there!