As you’ve probably noticed, it’s been a while since I wrote anything here. I learned a long time ago, when I used to paint, that creating art works a lot better when you have a vision. When you have an end result in mind, the art flows off the fingers and onto the canvas—or page. But, without that clear vision, the art comes out jumbled, messy, uninteresting.
That’s my excuse, anyway. The muse has been absent so I’ve chosen not to write about our boring day-to-day happenings. Until today, that is.
Grace’s annual IEP meeting is tomorrow. The special education teacher at her school tells me that this meeting should be a piece of cake—everyone knows Grace, they have a pretty good idea of what she needs, and this is basically just a review. Today, the SPED teacher sent me the draft IEP report to review for tomorrow. The first couple paragraphs caught my eye:
Grace is a 5 year old girl in a general education kindergarten classroom. According to her teacher, Grace is a very hard worker. She is a great listener and follows classroom routines well. She has lots of friends and participates every day in class. Academically, Grace is on grade-level in all areas. In math, she is able to add and subtract. In reading, she is able to sound out and blend words. Grace is also able to self-advocate, and willingly uses all her accommodations. She is a pleasure to have in the classroom.
Grace was interviewed by the special education teacher. When asked to name things that she likes about school, Grace stated, “what the teacher does for me, like learning” and “friends, like R___ and B____ and K___ and R____ and K______ and S_______ and R____”. When asked to name things that she doesn’t like about school, Grace said, “homework, because it’s too boring” and when the “teacher doesn’t always do fun stuff”. When she’s not at school, Grace likes to play if she doesn’t have homework, and ride horses. When she grows up, she wants to be a doctor and a mom.
Haha! Typical Grace. She’s feisty and outgoing and fun, but bring out the homework and face a charge of being BORING. That’s my girl!
The IEP report continued with recitals of her test scores. She is above expected levels in all areas. She is independent with math, doing addition and subtraction by herself. She no longer needs help from the school’s occupational therapist, as she is able to write letters and numbers appropriately. She excels at academics.
The reports of the physical therapist and vision teacher were not quite as rosy as that of the classroom teacher, but still not bad. The PT noted that Grace is getting better at standing still and kicking a ball, while the vision teacher found that Grace is having no trouble reading kindergarten classroom materials. She still needs to work on scanning her environment BEFORE she starts to go full-speed across a room, as she frequently trips over objects/people on the floor and nosedives over them. She needs to work on using her walker religiously to give her stability. She needs to continue receiving help from her ISP (one-on-one helper) for safety and because she cannot do any activities of daily living on her own.
After reading the IEP report, it’s clear that the school understands Gracie. Each member of the IEP team commented on how delightful she is, how fun she is to work with, how pleasant it is to have her there. They also each accurately portrayed her strengths, and some accurately noted her weaknesses, too. They know her and are taking good care of her.
My job tomorrow should be pretty easy. We will probably sit around the conference table trading stories about cute things Gracie did. I have a few questions but no major concerns. I realize this may not always be the case—there are so many IEP horror stories out there—but tomorrow’s meeting should be a piece of cake. It’s amazing.