School Update

I’m grabbing a chance to write as we drive the two hours to Javan’s genetics consultation. I admit to using writing as a way to calm myself after my child just opened his car door while we were moving down the interstate at 80 miles per hour. He’s figured out how to turn off the child locks before closing his door when he gets in. Luckily, he only barely opened it, but it was enough to scare us all. Well, it scared his Daddy’s and me anyway. He really didn’t get scared until we described how he could end up as roadkill from pulling a stunt like that.

Aaaaaanyway, the main thing going on in our lives right now is preparing him for starting school. We have an ARD meeting scheduled for February 4th to finalize his IEP. For those of you who don’t speak Educationese, that means we’ll meet with the principal, special needs coordinator, diagnostician, school psychologist, his teacher, his teacher’s aide, and any other school professionals who feel inclined to join, and finalize in writing the specific goals for Javan’s education and methods and accommodations needed to meet those goals. If all goes well, and I think it will, he should begin school February 8th!

Here’s what I know about the plan so far. The school will send a driver and teacher’s aide to our house to pick Javan up at 9 every morning. I had been imagining myself bringing him to school, so when this was first suggested it made me nervous. But in all reality, if he really doesn’t want to go to school (and believe me, he doesn’t), there’s no way I can get him there by myself. Too many things could go wrong. The driver they are sending is a large man with tons of experience with kids and he’s trained in safe restraints, as his teacher’s aide will also be. This plan will be safer for him and easier for me. I just hope the driver and aide aren’t mortified by seeing me in my pjs.

Until he gets used to the idea of being at school, his days will be super short, about an hour, and free of contact with other children. Upon arriving at school, he’ll spend 15 minutes in the sensory room, which he has visited several times and enjoys. He’ll then spend about 15 minutes in the computer lab doing a special news program that they use with their life skills kids. It’s self-paced and the program regulates itself to each kid’s level of reading and comprehension. He’ll finish with another 15 minutes in the sensory room and then head home for the day. The other 15 minutes I accounted for are for transitions, bathroom breaks, that sort of thing. So really the shortest, most laid-back school day imaginable. Then, of course, as he adjusts we’ll increase the length of his school days and his exposure to other children in a classroom setting. They also want to provide extended school services during the summer to avoid losing progress.

Concerns I have that I’ll keep you posted on are when he’ll be receiving occupational and speech therapies and how we can avoid state mandated testing. Those tests won’t fit him and the results won’t help him or anyone else, so I’d rather avoid the undue stress altogether.

I was right, writing did help me calm down. Now, onward to Dallas where our genetics appointment awaits. And after that, a Dallas play date with Javan’s favorite little cousin! Wish us luck!

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