Tomorrow, I meet with Team Charlie. Sure, it has an official name, ARD Committee, but I like my name better. As I was prepping sub plans (movies, movies and more movies) for tomorrow, something hit me. For nearly 3 years, I've been having meetings with different school personnel about Charlie. This is the first one I'm going into unprepared.

I don't have the giant file folder of evaluations from the neurologist, geneticist, pediatrician, occupational therapist, speech therapist and physical therapist. I don't have pamphlets and notes on the education rights of children with special needs. There is no legal representative with me. I have not spent weeks stressing over it.

I'm just showing up, empty-handed. This has never happened.

After struggling and fighting for so long to get him help, he is being helped. He is getting the help he needs and, gee, it is helping. The environment he is in works for him. His teacher works hard to get the best out of him. The speech and occupational therapists he sees at school collaborate with the speech and occupational therapists he sees after school.

In fact, the rehab center called today to say that he's met or exceeded all his OT goals. They reevaluated him and don't see a need to continue services at this time. They'll call back in three months to evaluate and see if he needs to start up again. In the meantime, he'll still receive his OT at school.

He's reading about 50 sight words, can name his letters and is wicked with numbers. He can relate a story plot and asks good questions. He finally is engaged enough with the world around him to want to know how it works. He's finally curious enough about the people around him to want to be friends with them.

I know this doesn't sound like much to parents of regular ed kids, but when he comes home from school he talks about the kids in his class. He knows their names. This from the kid who didn't know his own sisters' names until about a year ago.

I'm not worried that they'll kick him out of the program or give me more parenting suggestions. I'm not worried that I'll sit in a meeting and wonder what child they're talking about because it sounds nothing like mine. I'm not worried that I'll argue and argue only be to patted on the head and sent away.

For once, I'm not worried about Charlie. What a new and amazing feeling that is.

Go Team Charlie!


Kristin said...

It's great to not need anything for a MFE/IEP meeting.

Last month, I showed up with all 3 of Lauren's prior MFE. the psychologist asked me why I brought them and I said "Oh, Shelly (that her spec ed teacher) said she would fax them to MRDD after this meeting.

I was just using the school for their faxing ability not because I was fighting for what my kid needed.

Sally P said...

Love it!!!!!
It really does feel great. I just had the same experience last week. J's Team is so awesome and I could not be happier with his progress this last year. They love working with him & it shows.
By the way, I take the team goodies. You know a little something to say thank you. They eat it up! No one ever brings them something & they are working so hard. So if you can, bring them a candy bar or other treat. That's my ARD tip.
Go, Team Charlie!

PapillionMom said...

This is how the school system should work. This is how people who need the help should get the help. If the educational leaders at the state and federal level (to an extent) would pull their heads out of their butts and realize that the majority of the school system is broken and needs fixing, then Charlie would've been getting the help he needed so long ago.

I am thrilled to pieces he is making progress. It has been an amazingly long struggle for you and it is finally paying off.

Team Charlie, I'm rooting for you!