We had Korban's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting this afternoon. It went really well. I have heard sad IEP stories from other parents (not at our same school--I'm talking about online friends and such) but IEP meetings are not sad or stressful for us. We are so blessed to have such a great team of people working with Korban. I really don't want to think about how hard it would be to deal with all the pressures of autism/immune deficiency/financial stuff, etc. and then have to go fight with people who didn't care about us. I would be much crazier than I currently am if I were fighting that battle too. Thankfully, we aren't. Because nobody wants to deal with Crazy Melissa. Seriously, it just makes my heart happy to know that everybody working with my son actually cares about him and genuinely wants him to be successful.
That being said, I have to brag on my husband for a minute. He has worked hard to rearrange his work schedule so that he could be there for all of our school meetings so that he can be actively involved in Korban's education and the decision making process. It's just so nice to not have to do this on my own and to know that we are walking this road together. We were talking on the way to the school and we were discussing the plans for the Extended School Year program. It's commonly referred to as ESY, but Brad said "So what are the plans for YES?" Totally cracked me up. I will refer to it as YES school from now on. And I told him we might need to do an IEP for his dyslexia while we were there.
There was no dread involved in the meeting. We were looking forward to it! His teacher had told me that she was amazed when she started writing out his skills to see what all he had accomplished this year. And it really is exciting--here's some of Korban's skill list:
--Identify 80% of letters (although he struggles with the sounds they make)
--Read and respond to environmental print
--knows 10-15 sight words
--Listen and respond to stories that are being read aloud to him
--Identifies all colors and shapes
--Can identify numbers 1-10
--Verbally count to 100 with prompting
--Knows the days of the week and the months of the year
--can manipulate an iPad very well
I think that's pretty exciting, don't you?
Our summer is shaping up to be even busier than the school year I think! I'm not complaining though--we need all the extra help we can get and I'm so pleased that his services aren't ending during the summer. It's very important to keep him in a routine and not lose any of the skills we have worked so hard to acquire. We will attend ESY ( or YES school if you are Brad--ha!) two days a week. His ABA lady is working ESY this summer so there will be a familiar face there with him. There will only be four other children and there are two teachers so it is well-staffed. He will also be getting speech, OT, and PT while he is there. Our in-home ABA will be on-going as well (thank you Jesus!). In addition to all of that, he is starting play therapy with an emphasis on sensory issues--Brad got this one together on his own but we talked about it at the meeting. It will only be one day per week. Like I said, very busy, but MUCH needed services and I can't say enough how thankful I am that all of this is coming together. It's easy for me to get stressed and discouraged over things sometimes but I keep reminding myself that this is the first year we've truly had ABA therapy with a focus on behavioral interventions, and that it is going to take a while for Korban to really start responding it. We have seen positive improvements already, and it's just such a good feeling to know there are people in place to help us. God does know what we need when we need it (and the who)!
Korban will have the same special education teacher next year as this year (again, a big thank you Jesus! She's awesome. We have been blessed with such loving teachers.) She will continue to come out to our home three days a week and we will go to the school the other two. They are going to gradually work on increasing his time spent at school, but it's not something we can just drop on him overnight. Aggression and behavior continue to be a big source of concern, of course. We all want Korban to have interaction with his peers, but it's hard when you don't know what he will do to them and he can move very quickly, especially when he is nervous in a situation. So that will have to be handled carefully.
My mom kept the kids so we could go to our meeting, which was really nice. It was a pretty lengthy meeting but as we were pulling out of the parking lot Brad turned to me and said "Look, can we just go get an ice cream and talk for a minute about this before we go home? Because you know we won't get another chance after we pick the kids up." I readily agreed to this which seemed to surprise him. But hey, he offered me ice cream. I figured my mom could hold out for a few more minutes! ;)
We stopped at a little restaurant by the school and rehashed our meeting and talked and laughed about other random things and it felt so good to have that time. And did you know that Blue Bell has an ice cream flavor called Krazy Kookie Dough? They do! It's cake batter flavored ice cream with neon colored chunks of sugar cookie dough. Brad totally laughed at me for choosing that flavor, and the girl scooping it absolutely agreed with him but I think Krazy Kookie dough was a good ending to a good day. :)