Any parent who's ever had to do an IEP for their child or sit through a parent/teacher conference can tell you that it's humbling, frustrating, and encouraging all at once. I left today's IEP unsure if I felt good about how it went. Can I just start by being less than discrete, mature, and Jesus-following and say who the heck put some gray haired good 'ol boy in charge of special education? Looks like I just did. I don't know what his role was in that meeting other than making "cute" comments about Isaac's sunglasses, but he might as well have been a pair of glasses on a rock with a southern drawl sitting in that chair for all he offered. I might be biased based on seeing him in action while the kids were getting ready to leave, and from hearing some stories of him via a friend who tried to get her son into Isaac's class, but HOLY COW please retire. Tomorrow. OK, rant over? Maybe not.
I guess if I had the chance I would want all teachers and staff- especially those in special ed field to know that it's just as difficult for us to trust you as it is for you to work with our kid. I'm putting my precious little boy (into whom I've put so much love and work) into your care and trusting that you will do your best by him. I hope that you're using your words more than you are escorting him from A to B in a frustrated rush. I hope that you are thinking about and researching creative ways to help him learn different things. Secretly, I hope that you really do care as much as I do. The reality is that no program is perfect just as no parents are perfect. It's a balance between having realistic expectations for a program and knowing when to say, "OK, let me tell you something about my kid..." Luckily Isaac's program at school seems to be working well enough for him- minus the out of touch guy that oversees his teacher. But I can't help but feel a little conflicted after an IEP. I think it is because I'm getting the story but not seeing it and because there's some pride wrapped up in raising a kid and making sure they succeed to the best of their abilities.
My conclusion is that I think it's time for us to finally schedule a day to observe Isaac's class from behind the mirror. I think I've been putting this off for over a year because I'm afraid that seeing all that goes on during the school will burst my picturesque idea of it. I know how that sounds, but when you don't have a lot of options you generally want to try to see the good in the options you do have. Does that make sense? All in all, Isaac is doing way better than last year. So why does the IEP make me feel so depressed? Maybe it's the fresh reminder that my kid is in a special education classroom for a reason. Either way, the goal is still mainstreaming him for kindergarten next year. Wish us luck.