Monday is HSB’s IEP meeting. Before vacation his case manager called and asked me to think about some goals that I would want for him for next year. I talked to hubby about it and we basically came up with self-help skills, executive functioning (part2), social skills and independence skills. HSB needs:
– To learn to pay attention without being prompted. I don’t know if it’s because he is so used to being prompted over the years or in his case, when things get tough he shuts down. It is something that only those who see him on a daily basis in class will be able to tell us.
– To make sure that all his papers are in order. He needs to organize his notes, handouts and assignments on his own. Right now he has his notebooks, with the appropriate slots and that helps a lot.
– To keep track of when long term assignments are due. This is hard. He thinks he remembers everything and making him go back into the agenda he takes as a personal affront. But it is getting better. Now when we tell him to check it only takes one threat if he starts to balk. (Yes, if all else fails, at some point threats of no computer time really do work)
– To be able to edit his papers to the length that is required.(This is an ongoing issue and not an easy one. He continually knows what is needed and it is in his head, but it gets stuck between the brain and the computer. It’s almost like his mind is an unsuccessful daredevil that needs to jump over a deep dark chasm which sucks in his thoughts before they can get to the other side and land safely on the computer screen)
– To know that not everyone appreciates his sarcastic sense of humor. HSB has a wicked sense of humor that he employs regularly much to his own detriment at times. For people that know him, when he is sassy they give him a lecture, he apologizes and they move on. But everyone does not know you in the world so he needs to learn when and where and with whom to mouth off to.
– To understand that he is capable of attending and being on his own. He needs to realize that he is capable of doing everything that his peers do. That he inhibits his own independence when he is irresponsible.
– To take notes more efficiently. He decided along time ago that he is capable of remembering everything that happens in class without taking notes. Now this can be due to his disgraphia which makes it so hard for him to write, but a few choice words is all it takes to be able to hit the salient points of any lecture. Lucky for him many of the teachers post their notes on the web, but that is neither going to be the case forever nor available in every educational setting.
– To ask for and accept help when needed. We have made great strides this year with him. He does ask for help and goes on tutor.com when he needs to. He does accept that the case manager is trying to teach him lessons that he will need in life about cooperation and compliance. He doesn’t always like the outcome or that he has to redo his work, but life is a series of trials and errors that teach us how to become what we will one day be. It is a lesson better off learned young and it is a lesson that everyone is working on with him.
I am sure that the teachers will come up with specific educational, emotional and social goals for him. They always do. They always add appropriate specific concepts to his IEP dealing with issues that they are privy to on a daily basis. I will have to wait and see what they come up with. I am sure they will hit the mark with him; they have never yet, failed in that regard at least not since middle school. We will have to wait and see on Monday. There will not be a fight about anything. They want to help him as much as possible. I know the issue of independence will come up and future plans and things he will do over the summer.
We actually started talking to him about the summer. We told him he will have to continue math tutoring and possibly study for the SATs over the summer. The ACTs he will take in April this year. So it depends on how well he does on that test. We also talked to him about volunteering with some charity groups. No he can’t sit and do nothing for two months. He was rather disappointed. You would think that we just told him that he was going to have to work in a salt mine instead of getting lessons and helping the needy for a few hours a week. That is the old issue of not being able to judge how long something will take rearing its ugly head yet again. Needless to say, we explained to him that he will still have plenty of time to hang out and do nothing for the summer. (We as his parents have to make sure that he does have some social activity and doesn’t seal himself off as so many aspies are likely to do)
One more point about the upcoming IEP. It is a milestone in this house, you see, it is going to be his last one. They are planning and organizing for his senior year of high school and figuring out how best to support him and teach him what he will need as he moves on with the next phase of his life. I know if there are any problems that arise, we can always call a program review and get something revamped, but it’s not the same as when you sit down and you know a major part of life is coming to an end. Yes, a new phase is going to be beginning for him just over one short year from now. Yes, it is going to be a hell of a year to come (senior year and senior itis). Yes it is going to be a stressful year to come (college applications). Yes it is going to be a bitter sweet year to come for us parents (him moving into young adulthood). Transitions will take place and a new chapter in HSB’s life will begin to emerge. We have just over one year to make sure he is ready and as prepared as he can be for the next phase of his life.
So I look at that face and I see a little boy who was afraid to ride the big yellow school bus on “kindergartener day” and I see a young adult emerging who is going to get his learners permit this summer and who just rolled his eyes at me and called me an “idiot” under his breath. I am glad we have another year. He is oh so ready to spread his wings; it’s his father and I, who really are not ready to let him go, but we will push him when the time comes just as we did and continue to do for his big brother (who by the way, we may have found a social outlet for at college) It’s funny really, with collegeman his young adulthood didn’t register with me until he signed up for the selective service. (Truthfully that scared the crap out of me. Deep down inside I knew it truly meant nothing, because with seizures and autism it wasn’t like he would actually every be drafted. But it was just the act of signing up in order to let some politicians know you are here, if they decide once again, to send our young off to die) Maybe though my ruminations about HSB are different simply because I know what is to come and how fast it really will go.
I think I’m going to make sure this time, to bring tissues with me to the meeting.
Until next time,