Friday, February 15, 2013

Autism and IEP's

I cannot believe it's already mid-year.  Both of my boys are in junior high now.  Joey is finding his ninch.  He loves band.  He is also in yearbook this year.  Junior high has been good for him.  Then, well, there is Luke.  He struggles still. He is still trying to find his place.  Junior high has been a hard transition.  The first three weeks Luke's schedule was messed up.  It got changed four times!!  He is in a mix of "regular" classes as well as a few resource classes.  When I e-mailed his math teacher regarding the 'D' he had in her class, she assured me that Luke would be taking a test before semester grades that would raise his grade.  She never really understood that I didn't care about his grade (for the most part), I was concerned if the material was about his head.  I was concerned more about if he was learning the material, not about what he made on a test. 

This week was another IEP meeting for Luke.  I met the new assistant principal.  I also met Luke's speech therapist for the first time.  (yeah, I know...great parent communication right?  Not like elementary and middle school! I have not even received progress reports from speech!)  There was also one of his resource teachers as well as a 'normal' teacher. 

Every three years, they have to do a major evaluation of the student to see if they even need an IEP any longer.  There are different labels that a child can be served under with special needs.  Luke is served under the Speech/Language label.  Yes, if you read through the pages of his report, you will find that he has been diagnosed with autism.  But, three years ago, when we did this, we felt that autism is not the issue he has at school.  Luke's issue stems from language.  His meltdowns happen at home.  (thank goodness!)   Now, they are wanting to put that label out there for all to see.

I am not really sure how much they will fight me over this.  But, really, they don't know who they are messing with! :)   You might be wondering why this is a big deal.  When you get to junior high and high school, each teacher deals with a lot of kids.  Children with an IEP, the teachers get information on and of the big factors is the label which they are getting services.  I don't want a teacher who has 100 kids filtering in and out of their classes seeing the label "autism" and putting Luke in that box.  I have worked one-on-one with children autism.  There is a big difference between Luke's high functioning autism and those severe children.  When a person hears the word "autism," a kid like Luke is not what you picture.  I don't want Luke judged on a label and what others perceive.

I had to sign a bunch of papers during the meeting to give permission for testing.  (they do every three years)  The speech therapist seemed to be trying to tell me that Luke has more problems than just speech and language.  I am sure that I looked at her like she's an idiot and tell her that, "yes, I am aware of that.  It's in his paperwork if you actually read it before the meeting."  His paperwork talks about memory disorders and autism.  We took him to the Children's Hospital twice for testing.  I know it's in his paperwork!  Maybe if they actually read more than the first page, they would have found that out as well.

It just feels like they filter the kids through.   The care and concern just isn't there like in younger grades.  Luke's assistant principal in middle school would make a point to find him each day some where in the halls and ask Luke how's he doing.  This assistant principal seems a bit dense to me.  She just sat in her chair swinging back and forth.  No care, concern, or comments.  I guess that I will see what the tests results come up with.

Let me guess...oh what...Luke has language problems, memory disorder, as well as autism.  Yeah, thanks.  I already knew that and it's already in his paperwork.  :/  But considering his reading level is still about 3rd or 4th grade ~  I think that is where a lot of issues are.  It's very hard to read a high school science or history book when your reading level is that low.  Let's focus on that please!

"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to
 worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  
 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God
 chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong."
 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

Isn't that beautiful?  We ALL have a purpose in God's plan.  It doesn't matter what label the world may give us, God made us just the way the are for a purpose.  Thank you, Lord, for bringing Luke into my life and teaching me so much.

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