Today was the dreaded Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting for Andrew. I hate these meetings. I have to say that the team that I deal with is wonderful. We really have a group of people that truly care about Andrew and want what is best for him. However, it is tough to sit in a room with a group of people (no matter how much they love your child) and talk about his weaknesses for any amount of time.
We were able to agree on his IEP for the remainder of the school year but a couple of things went unfinished: Extended School Year (ESY) and placement for next year.
The team was ready for him to move on to first grade and Kirby and I have decided that we would like to keep him in kindergarten for another year. Needless to say, my suggestion was a surprise to most of the team members - they hadn't even considered keeping him back. They recently did lots of testing and Andrew's "ability" level ranged from 3 1/2 years to a little over 4 years. While he may not advance a full year by next year, I think we owe it to him to try. Sending him on to first grade where so much more will be expected from him and where he is already behind those kids...I just don't think it is the right idea. Keeping him with kids that are more at his age level and giving him another year to "catch up" could make such a difference. On top of all that, I would prefer to keep him back now than have to do it in 4 years.
And, unfortunately, they don't have a summer program in place for kids who need anything other than typical academic help. Which means they have to create an entire program for Andrew this summer. While Andrew can certainly use all the help he can get academically, he is on target with the rest of his class (or age group). What he really needs is social interaction and Occupational Therapy (OT). The social piece is not something they have offered in the past, it wasn't needed. With autism rates on the rise they are going to need to create something quick. While there may not be an overwhelming need for it now, there will be in the very near future...
I have never had any problems with Andrew's team - well, not THIS team. And, don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I am having problems now. I was just frustrated to not all be on the same page (as it often seems we are) and not to have the answers right now. I am a right now kind of girl...all or nothing...instant gratification...gimme, gimme, gimme - that's me.