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Thursday, October 6, 2011

It Takes A Village

Really a village?  Yes...it takes an entire village to raise this child.  I am always amazed at the ARD/IEP process here in Texas.  You sit down with an entire room of professionals who are there to work with your child in some capacity or another.   Some of them helpful...others not so much.  Some of them make you wonder what their motivation was for choosing this career field.  Others are so good,  you feel extremely blessed to have them care about and work with your child.  We experienced this kind of love throughout our elementary school experience.  Our Special Education staff there came to know and love my children intimately.  We had a few issues with teachers and even the Principle at some points.  It wasn't a perfect situation, but we were always able to work out the kinks.  There was always the core staff who got it...who really cared.

I didn't sign the ARD/IEP last week with the high school that Red was attending.  Today, I met with his new team, closed out the IEP from the last meeting and completed an amendment, in which all of my concerns were addressed.  The Special Education Director at the new high school gets it.  She is one of the ones who is in this for all the right reasons...because she is a good person who genuinely cares and wants to help people.  How do I know this?  She shared some personal information with me that let me know that she is the real deal.  She's not some young educator who has no children, who is doing this job from the perspective of only her college education.  She is doing this job because of who she is, and what she has experienced in her life.  She is seasoned.  She is not cookie cutter.  She is willing and able to think out of the box.

With my son's old team, there were so many times when I expressed a concern, a thought, or feeling about what my child was going through, and I was met with blank stares.  Like huh?  What? Sorry lady... are you from another planet?  We are from planet earth and we don't get your moon-speak here.

I got none of that today.  I got validation.  I was not rushed.  They took time to answer every, single question...idiotic or not.  I got...how can we help?  Do you need further explanation?  Do you have any additional concerns?  And how are YOU doing?  (How am I DOING?) What are you doing to take care of yourself?  Let me put you in touch with this agency to help you with respite care.  We are so excited to have him here!  Now this is what we're going to do to help him.  This is what we're going to do to help him start feeling successful and build his self-esteem.  Our program will become like his little family.

His tracking teacher is an older gentlemen with white hair, a soft-spoken voice, and obviously...experience.  Before leaving our meeting he gives me his direct number and his cell.  "Call me if you need anything or would like to share any concerns." What??? His cell number!

The school Psychologist is younger, with spiky hair, and plenty of self-assurance.  She appears knowledgeable, confident and direct.  She was able to give me the language to use to diffuse certain situations that I am dealing with here at home, letting me know...this girl knows her stuff!  She assured and comforted me by telling me how they will handle this transition with Red...how they will ease him into it, in attempt to make it less stressful for him.  She tells me how they deal with kids having a bad day, cool-downs, natural consequences... not criminalizing behaviors related to their disability. Innately, I know...they are not bullshitting me!  This is not placation.  This is real...this is good.  His village is ready to get to work.  We are on our way...

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