Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Difficult choices

First, a quick G-man update:  He will be in Boston until Thursday.  He is having to cancel his "guy weekend" but he seems ok about it.  We have a year to use his ticket.  I know he has been missing "home" so maybe we will try and schedule a long weekend for him to go home and see his mom.

He is safe, well fed, and although incredible tired....doing ok.  Thank you for your thoughts.

As a parent, we are responsible for making decisions for our children until the time they can do it for themselves.  Part of our job is to also teach them how to make decisions for themselves.  We start with the little ones.....do you want to wear the blue or red shirt?  You move up to larger ones....which class do you want to take?  And eventually they just announce to you that this is what they are doing.  That is the way it goes.

But when you have a child that isn't capable of moving into those higher order thinking decisions, it remains on you.  And some of those decisions are difficult, and daunting, and can be life changing for all parties.

Bossy had his "triennial" review this year in Special Ed.  Every 3 years, they test the kids in all areas to see if they still qualify for services.  It is federally mandated.  In our case, it really wasn't about seeing if he still qualifies....more to see where he is at.  And in typical Bossy fashion...he is all over.

He has some scores that are very low (like, 0.1%).  He has some scores that are in the low-average range.  And everything in between.  It is called a scattered profile. 

The problem with a scatter is that he has some skills that are so low that they can impact other areas.  And when you try and work on those, it can take away from the areas of strength.  His profile just doesn't fit neatly into a box (and never has!).

Additionally, when you have a child with a cognitive deficit, you have to make decisions about how far is far enough.  At some point, his learning ability will taper off, and his academic learning will more or less cease.  It is about finding where that line is, and accepting it.

We aren't flat-lined yet.  He still has learning to do.  But that is a piece of his program.  The other piece is the functional, life skill piece.  This is the piece where he needs to learn how to take care of himself, and use the academic knowledge to help him in the real world.  This piece is HARD.

So I sat in a 2.5 hour meeting yesterday (and a 2 hour meeting on Friday) to discuss all of this.  I was presented with about 40 pages of reports from all of his testing.  And heard all about his strengths and weaknesses.  None of this was a surprise....we are more than aware what he can and can't do.  But then we have to figure out next year.

The middle school is NOT happy about his program.  It is very unique.  His Special Ed teacher has worked incredibly hard to give him a program that is tailored to his needs.  And sadly, this is really what should be happening for all children....and doesn't.  His program is a balance of academic and function.  It envelopes life skills in a supported setting.  And it works.

I sat in the meeting listening to the Special Ed teacher say to the middle school Special Ed teacher....this is what he needs....figure it out.  We did.  Go Teacher!

I was also presented with another option that on the surface gave him the functional piece in a wonderful way....the academics were still there, but not as great, and the social piece.....that was a sticking point.  He would have to go to a completely different school than his peers.  With older kids.  And he would be "alone."  None of his classmates or peers would be there.

I had two options.....pros and cons to both.  And I had to choose.  It is overwhelming.  Having to decide what the priority is.....who he will be with.....and what is the outcome you want.   None of the programs eliminated any of the pieces....it was just how it would be balanced. 

I chose to send him to the middle school that all of his peers will be at.  And with the help of the team, convinced the middle school to drastically alter the standard program.  Like....I thought this lady's head was going to spin around with what we were asking for.  The proof will be in the pudding when we see what they come up with. 

I am really hoping that I made the right decision.....


  1. That's all we can do... make the best decision we can at the time then pray for the best!! :)

  2. Jesus I am really glad his current Special Ed teacher stuck up for him. I hope she can manage to check in or something. It's going to be a total pain in the ass staying on top of those people.