On the calendar later this month, it says Team Grace Meeting, 8am. In other words, round three of IEP meetings for us at Grace's school.
IEPs are so stressful to me --- and so stressful in fact, that most of the time I read through things and defer to whatever plan the teachers have come up with. For the most part it works. She has access to all the different therapies offered at the school from speech to extra help in reading and math and even occupational therapy. In first grade, she did okay. But wow --- when that report card and IEP report came home this past grading quarter.....finally, it all seems to be coming together for Grace. Several of her goals are checked off as "Mastered Skill" and others are moving quickly in that direction. She is finally catching up. Finally reading books with confidence and finally showing that she likes to learn and that she knows she is smart. There is no cognitive delay -- her IQ is perfectly normal.
Marfan Syndrome causes many of her issues handled by occupational therapy and speech --- and those things (handwriting, clear speech) have improved so much that she only needs those therapies once a week (we started with three times a week in kindergarten!). Her reading skills came later than other kids -- she could recognize sight words on a flashcard but print those words in a book and she would not be able to recall the word. Its focus --- she just seems to lose focus as soon as something seems hard or if she needs to wprk independently. Grace simply benefits from active attention throughout school work -- showing her paper to you after she is done with those 10 math problems or reading the book aloud or talking about the story immediately after reading time. She rushes through things that she knows well and thats where mistakes happen, although I think this is more a general thing and is fairly normal cause I do it all the time too. But right now, that affects her grades so its on my IEP radar.
She is also starting to notice that she is different than the rest of the class. Grace and three other kids go to a different class for reading and math every day. The other kids in her class move around for math based on the unit they are studying. Grace's class gives her more one-on-one instruction; it helps Grace learn to stay on task and it keeps the four of them together with other people on the same level as they are -- hopefully increasing their confidence to try out new math problems, for instance.
I can handle logistics and managing the plan. Its the emotional side of things that is getting harder and harder as she grows up. Gone are the days when I can say "Mom and Dad want you to be even smarter so you have two teachers!" and expect that to be it. How can I make sure she knows that getting extra help doesn't make you
the dumb kid in class? 2nd graders don't want to hear that later in
life it wont matter whose math class you were in in elementary school
--- cause for them, that is their world.
Academically, all these therapies have been great for her. Whats
next? Now that she is older and understands more of what Team Grace
means, what changes do we need to make?