It’s IEP time

This Friday.  1:30pm MST.  Time to gather with all the professionals and talk Paul going to Kindergarten.

Yes, Paul and kindergarten.  Just let that sink in for a moment.

IMG_3796

His antics never cease. Not even outside, on a sidewalk.

Ok.

I’ve been thinking, and I really think the two most important things for Paul in kindergarten is Communication and Behavior (see above photo).

Behavior is a new one for his team.  Up until we privately sought and received the autism diagnosis, they claimed that his behavior was not an impediment to his learning and time in the classroom.

L to the O to the L.

They are so cute.

Ummm, they thought he just didn’t know anything, and wasn’t picking up on routines, and couldn’t physically “grasp an object.”  No.  He just did not want to.  If he doesn’t want to point to the picture of a kite, he is not going to do it for you.  If he doesn’t want to put his backpack in his cubby, he will bolt to whatever it is he does want.  And for heaven’s sake- you’ve seen him cling for dear life to a spoon to scoop yogurt, so why do you think he has a physical problem holding onto a crayon?  He hates coloring.  That’s your problem.

Recognizing his behaviors as an issue sheds a new light on all of these things.  Though, judging by the draft IEP I have, some members of his team still don’t get it, as evidenced by the OT goal of grasping, and gently placing down, an object instead of throwing it.  That is not an OT problem.  He puts toys down quite nicely at home.  He can do it.  He doesn’t do it at school, and they let him not do it at school.

They need to out stubborn him, and they are up against it because not only is this kid Ukrainian, he also has Down Syndrome, and in case you didn’t know, the stubborn gene is on the 21st chromosome, so he’s got an extra dose.

Next up, communication.

I’m not going to lie and say I’m super excited that Paul is going to kindergarten, and that I think it’s the perfect placement for him.  I really don’t think that.  I think his behavioral goals might best be addressed in a preschool setting, but I think his communication could improve more in Kindergarten.  Kindergarten offers more time (we will do 5 half days, but we could do 5 full days, whereas preschool is only 3 half days, and the half days are extra short) during which he could be around his typical peers and hear all that language.  It also offers us more time for speech therapy.  His current draft IEP has 60 minutes of speech a week, but I’m hoping to increase that to 150 minutes a week (so 2.5 hours).  We’ll see how far I get…

But he’s made some great strides with communication.  He’s got a lot of signs now, and he really wants to communicate.  Of course, it’s still at the level of things he wants, whether its a certain food, or music, or playing outside.  But, you have to start somewhere, and kids usually start with what they want.

Anyways, the additional time is really why the kindergarten setting is preferred.  Plus, as much as I love the preschool, especially the special ed teacher and the speech pathologist, I think it will be good to switch things up for Paul.  With his new team at the elementary school, we can really set a tone for how we want his behaviors to be handled (draft of the behavior plan is coming to me soon, I hope!) and I think that can make a huge difference for Paul’s overall performance, and the expectations that people set for him.

I hope to blog about his IEP again before our meeting on Friday, with some things more specific to his goals.

 

On prom dates

You know those videos that go viral- the ones where a typical teen asks a classmate or friend with Down Syndrome to the prom?  It’s posted on social media, and people share it, and then NBC picks it up, and all of a sudden it has 20k views.  And everyone is all like…

“So glad to see her parents raised her right!”

“Her parents that instilled great morals and a foundation for loving those less fortunate deserve all the credit.”

“I hope to raise kids that would be willing to do this.”

“People need to learn special needs are people too…. How nice… Have a awesome time.. Nice upbringing parents… Did a terrific job!”

“What a warm gesture! This is a real friend! Hope you both have a great time!”

“nice job young lady,,,,,,,,”

 

I don’t know.  I’m not super cranky about it.  Maybe just a little cranky.  And my husband is out and my kids are sleeping, so why not blog about it?

I get it, ok.  I don’t think that every teen who invites a friend with a disability to prom has some desire for attention, even if they foresee they may receive it.  I’ve worked with teens; I think they’re great.  I think, more often than not, they do things like this because they know their friend would enjoy it, and they know they’d have fun too.  I assume her intentions are pure and not in some weird way self-serving.

It’s just…the comments.

I know the commenters I quoted above have good intentions.

I guess I just end up feeling like the kid with the disability is the charity case.   The comments almost drip with pity.  How the girl is “willing” to do this.  What a “warm gesture.”   How she was “raised right.”

I mean, I’ll admit, she really did a “terrific job” asking someone out to the prom.  It can be really hard to say the words, “Would you go to prom with me?” and she didn’t even struggle through the sentence.  She did a “nice job!”

You see what I’m getting at?  You would never, with sincerity, praise someone like this for asking someone else on a date.  Unless, of course, you viewed the “someone else” as “less than.”  As a cause.  As a person who couldn’t possibly be chosen as a date if it weren’t for the generosity and sacrifice of another.

Is it just so beyond our comprehension that this girl could have asked him to prom because she knew she would have the most fun with him?  They’re friends- presumably, there’d be none of the typical pressure that a girl may experience on prom night.  They probably have a great time just being themselves together and not having to worry about making a certain impression on each other.  Maybe the boy has some killer dance moves she knows about.  Maybe he has a way to make her laugh and let loose.  Maybe he always holds the door for her, and treats her like a lady.

But when outside eyes look at the video (and granted, they’ve been invited to look), they don’t see two friends who plan to go to prom together.

They see an awesome girl who is “loving the less fortunate.”

And that kind of hurts.

I hope that someday, Paul has a friend like this.  A friend who just enjoys him for who he is.  And if she asks him to prom, I’ll be thrilled for the both of them.  But maybe we’ll forego the video.

 

Catching up with bullet points

  • Since coming back from the Getaway 2016, things have been pretty great.  We got the bug to do some cleaning and decluttering which feels really good.  I’ve managed to keep *somewhat* on top of things like laundry and dishes, and vacuuming, etc so generally, it looks pretty good over here.  You know, for having 3 kids.  And a husband.
  • I’m currently getting bids to have everything that needs to be stained, stained.  That would be our fence, decks, front porch and gables.  And for kicks and giggles, I’m asking for separate bids on our trim and, what the heck, the entire exterior.  Because I’ve never loved reddish orange trim, no matter how rustic it’s supposed to be.
    29670_539488330350_5810194_n

    This photo is from 2010. So in 2016 it’s not looking any better.

    Want to see my photoshoppin’?


    Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.38.18 PM

    Just throwing some white up there to get rid of the orange. 

    Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 6.59.23 PM

    Ok, maybe white is too crazy. How about brown? And let’s make the house BLUE!

    Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 8.49.15 PM

    But what if we did white AND blue!

I know, it’s so special.  But hey, I’m self taught and I do this at night while watching Big Bang         Theory Reruns. So…  Anyways, the most likely scenario is the top one, because painting our         whole house is probably going to cost some serious dollar bills.  I’m only considering it
because our siding is getting a little chippy in places and I think when we eventually go to
sell, it will have to happen anyways.   But we may want to just live in the moment for this
one.

  • I stopped drinking soda and started drinking a million gallons of water a day two weeks ago.  I didn’t even think it through.  I just ran out of soda and thought, “How about you don’t buy more?  Ok.”  It’s easier and better than I thought, though I’m a bit of a cheater because I do squeeze a itty bit of flavor in the water.  I figure this is like a step down unit and eventually I’ll get to plain, old, boring water.  I mean, delicious, crisp, refreshing water.  But a bonus: since I have to go to the bathroom so much more, I’m getting more quiet, alone time than I ever have in my life as a mother.
  • It’s that special time of year.  IEP time.  You may not recall the gloriousness of this time last year.  Oh, it was fun!  Is fun the right word?  Well, this year, we have an IEP meeting and a kindergarten transition meeting all in one.  I hope they scheduled this for like 2 hours minimum because, seriously, Paulie is going to kindergarten and I have things I need to say. More on that later.
  • Sadly I have to wrap this up because Xander has physical therapy for torticollis and torticollis related things he’s doing (or not doing?) so we have to be out the door shortly.   So thanks for reading.  Be back soon with IEP seriousness!

    IMG_3627

    This is the best we could do.

The Getaway- wrap up

We have been home for a little over a week.  It’s always nice to be home, and this morning the boys are playing outside (or napping in the case of the little one).  But we do miss our tropical destination.  We had so many simple adventures.  Driving around taking in the sights, grabbing dinner and heading to a park so the kids could run around.  Going to the beach.  Making friends with the family next door and playing with them in the yard.

So here’s a bunch of photos.  (This is probably more for me than it is for you, but you get it.)

 

IMG_3265 IMG_3018 IMG_2939 IMG_2952 IMG_3075 IMG_3031 IMG_3025 IMG_3018 IMG_2979 IMG_2961 IMG_3222 IMG_3204 IMG_3162 IMG_3124 IMG_3117 IMG_3078 IMG_3378 IMG_3329 IMG_3314 IMG_3267 IMG_3264 IMG_3254 IMG_3441 IMG_3440 IMG_3439 IMG_3428 IMG_3423 IMG_3387 IMG_3501_2 IMG_3495 IMG_3494_2 IMG_3487_2 IMG_3464 IMG_3449

Getaway

We are at an undisclosed location, for an undisclosed amount of time.

We expect it to be lovely, and refreshing, and peaceful.  That last one, only to the extend that 3 boys will allow.  *winky face emoji*

Byeeeee!

IMG_2907