Friday, July 03, 2009
We "won" Battle: Least Restrictive Setting. We had our IEP meeting and Sweet M gets to continue at her current school and go on to middle school, entering the sixth grade in the fall.
She could not be happier about this. She worked so hard in the past year — closing gaps in reading and in math specifically because she loves her school and wants to continue there. Two weeks ago her class toured the upper school and she came home so excited: "In the middle school they have two science labs, and you history, and math, and English! And guess-what-guess-what-guess-what — they have three dances!!!"
So, hooray, right? Hip-hip-hooray, right? Score another one for the Autism's Edges team, yes?
Except that we lost her one-on-one paraprofessional who was really an ABA learning specialist who helped her close three years of reading gaps and completely restored her sense of belonging in the community of kids at school. Sweet M grew and grew and grew over the past two years with all this support and social scaffolding.
They — the school and Committee on Special Education team — wouldn't even agree to a short-term transitional para for the first three months of the year. The argument is logical, though not altogether legal: "If she needs a para then she doesn't belong in a private 12:1:1, she belongs in a 6:1:1." So we won. Sort of. And we're quietly wondering how next year will be. Hoping it's fine. Not altogether sure.
The good news is that her para, whose judgment we trust, says she is 100% confident that Sweet M will be fine in the middle school without a one-on-one, transitional or otherwise.
I was looking at Sweet M's fire escape garden last week. We got home one afternoon and the tomatoes had gotten so big that the branches were falling down, the big green toms hanging over the edge of the pot, poised to ripen and fall seven stories and splatter in our neighbor's backyard unless we intervened.
We added a stake and tied the sprawling branches.
In gardening when the fruits of one's efforts grow and develop, you add supports to ensure your harvest. In special education, you take them away and see how things fall out.
Hopefully my analogy is flawed, and Sweet M is more like a tree whose roots have deepened and made her feel increasingly able to stand on her own.
Posted by MothersVox at 7/03/2009 10:25:00 AM