Here lately, a lot of people have been mentioning the middle school in conversations about Alex. The principal in the whole request for physical therapy, the middle school nurses eager to get their paws on my baby, the teacher at the IEP meeting... why does everyone keep talking about the middle school!? I'm telling you now, he's not going there. No. Not gonna happen. uh-uh.
Disclaimer: my paranoia about Alex being kicked out of his school could have something to do with my surety that I've been driving the man insane... or my husband's constant warnings that I'd better back off before they ban us both... maybe I ought to rethink my approach. Doesn't matter how good the school is, rules are rules, man. but I'm working on tact- I said "discuss" and asked if someone was still "not a good fit" even though those weren't the words I wanted. *progress* anyway,
And so, this song goes out to the lovely and talented Special School Principal...
...so talented. seriously. He can derail any of my arguments quick as lightning. Fast like faster than a speeding bullet fast. "Oh, you have a problem? Come on in, have a seat, let's talk. Hey, look at this really interesting thing." *derailed* and I don't even notice until way later- crap. he did it again. mhmm, I have got to keep my husband away from this man, I'd never win anything ever again. Luckily the distractions were held like the ace up his sleeve until the part where we sort of came to an agreement... kind of. well, we each knew where the other stood, but we'll get there...
When it comes to change of placement, I was willing to, at the least, read up on Least Restrictive Environment, the provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education, and the fact that the severity of his disability has to be considered in deciding placement, to get any and all outside evaluations I would need to back up my argument, and at the most, to stand in the special school parking lot with my mp3 player and crappy, crackly external speaker raised, screaming my song, "And I am telling you, I'm not going. You're the best principal I'll ever know. There's no way I can ever go... No, no, there's no way... No, no, no, no way I'm living without this school, I'm not living without you guys. I don't wanna be free, I'm staying. I'm staying! And you, and you, You're gonna love me!" I'd do it. I so would. If that's what it takes to keep my boy in the best school he's ever been in... I am not above trying anything.
...even begging. Begging is always an option... That might go over better than what sounds like a cat on a ride in the blender serenading him from the parking lot. *sensory nightmare*
Fortunately, there's no need to go that far. There are no change of placement plans in the near future. *PRAISE THE LORD!* (and *suspicious glare* considering no one is making eye contact with that denial...)
The main reason we were gathered, though, was to discuss staff change and behavior reports. I told you the other day, but let me refresh your memory... Last year (top), this year (bottom)
See it? Major progress. Major progress because he has the same aide as last year, I'd bet anything on it. This means, I want it again next year. Someone, anyone. Well, not anyone. I don't want Aide1 because she had him last year and I don't want anyone spending too much time with him and getting too big for their britches. Alex does want Aide1 and he's not backing down. That child just doesn't make any sense! I tried to talk to him (there's not talking to him, boy is stubborn!) I told him I don't want Aide1 next year, I want teacher and/or Aide2. He disagreed. He wants Aide1.
Side note: they don't have to have words to talk back. Alex uses facial expression, nodding, shaking his head no, slapping the table 3 times for "more", and using echolalic words/phrases- and he wants "more" of Aide1 because she makes him "happy." I argue that that doesn't even make sense because Aide2 is his favorite! Isn't she his favorite? Nod, but he doesn't want her. See? unreasonable brat. I threatened a full out hair pulling cat fight with Aide1 over who the "mom" was and he just laughed. Typical male. Loves to have women fighting over him.
Not that our planning makes a difference, we don't get a real choice in staffing decisions (as it should be), we can just ask and see what happens, but the time spent talking and letting him have a voice in making the decision (even though his choice so is not going to happen this time, I'm pulling rank.) is a priceless gift. Alex's communication is new and has been gradually growing over the past few years until today when we can sit at the table and have a full conversation when he's in the mood. I'm loving it.
This is the thing I love about Alex's principal... He's listening. He hears, he sees, and he's willing to try doing whatever Alex needs, there's no arguing with the charts- this is impressive. BUT, he's learned from past mistakes and refuses to promise me anything regarding who will be with Alex next year. It's not what I wanted to hear. I wanted promises, a plan, and if I got them, I wanted them documented in his IEP (Individualized Education Plan, with emphasis on Individualized. as in designed to meet individualized needs.) or his Behavior Intervention Plan (which is also in his Individualized Education Plan). I want one familiar person working with him every year whether it's the teacher, this year's aide, one of last year's aides or someone he worked with the first year, I want one person he knows, I want overlap between old and new, and I want the promise written in stone.
But he knew better. He knows me better than that. He knows the unpredictable nature of staff change better than that. He will not make a promise he's not sure he can keep. (*this is me happy dancing- PROGRESS!!!!*) But, he has another idea... They are planning on improving their introduction letters at the beginning of the year. He's working on giving us more warning about changes. This is awesome for ME.... Alex...? not so much, I don't think. He said he'll think about it and wants to get together later in the year to discuss it. (*wondering if his "discuss" is the same as mine...?*)
We'll see what happens.