(**this is seriously what my brain looks like before an IEP**)
There is a reoccurring theme in my life... options. While I am thankful that I have options to chose from in life, I will admit it makes everything damned difficult. Going in to college my grades were consistent and I scored the exact same score on every single section of the ACT. When I went to the guidance counselor to inquire about a good career path I always heard, you can do anything you want. That is so not helpful to a person who has no idea what they want to be when they grow up (and still doesn't). In the end the fact that I switched majors almost as often as I changed the oil in my car has served me well as a Lunatic Autism Mom.
Maybe it's my personality, maybe it's the way I do things but again and again I tend to look for all options and then cross them off one by one until an obvious choice presents itself (at least I HOPE an obvious choice presents itself, this isn't always the case).
Another thing that tends to serve me well as a Lunatic Autism Mom is naivety. That isn't to say un-educated but naive. Going in to an IEP, I have my list of options, thoughts and notes and I am naive enough to think that the IEP team will be willing to hear them. Lucky for me, that has always been the case (although I know that isn't always the case).
I have an IEP tomorrow, a big one. My 11 year old is going to Middle School next year and the big question is... where? His "team" have completed an FBA (functional behavior assessment) with two data points (5 teachers and staff answering the same behavior questions in November and January. We have pulled all the data with how often he accesses some of the key elements of his school program and we have updated the IEP to reflect an accurate picture of his day and the supports he requires to make it successful. It is my hope that all of this information will lend itself to an obvious school placement.
It will not.
Because I fear there isn't one. The Hubs and I have compiled a list of options, thinking both "inside" and "outside the box". Creativity, by the way, does not lend itself well to educational options. Some of the options are completely unacceptable and it would take a miracle for me to approve them, but when I make a list EVERYTHING goes on it. In the end, our list looks like this:
- Full Inclusion
- Pyramid Program (behavior based program)
- 50/50 Inclusion & Pyramid
- Non-Public Placement
- Out of county placement
- Inclusion for Core Curriculum only (science, math, language, etc), Homeschooling for everything else (art, PE, music, life skills).
- Online School
- Moving into the woods, putting up a 15 ft privacy fence, sticking our heads in the sand and hoping it will all figure itself out in the end. (kidding, sort-of)
I can list major Pros and Cons for each of these. I wish so much that I could include an option for "high functioning special needs classroom with inclusive opportunities", where I live this isn't an option.
So, tomorrow we have the IEP, it won't be our last for this issue. I fear it will be one of many but, today, all day today I get to live in a world where there are options. Tomorrow, the "team" will take many of these away. I'm not sure how it will go and I don't really know what to do to prepare. But, I am 100% certain that by lunch time tomorrow I will be a very large, numb, mass of exposed nerves.
Thanks for listening to my rant. <3