Friday, May 6, 2011

The Power of Compromise

The Kindergarten transition IEP meetings are now officially over.  Two sessions totalling 3 hours finally summed it all up in a manner that was mutually agreeable to all parties.  I have already posted about the first meeting, so I won't rehash it here, but needless to say, I did not burst into tears this time.  On the contrary, this last meeting, held on Wednesday afternoon, was almost festive


The royal wedding played a big part in the discussion at the beginning, while technical difficulties with the computer's IEP program were ironed out.  Even the people with whom we butted heads last time (notably Sammi's PT) were particularly nice, quite possibly owing to the fact that I had sent cards and small gifts to the teachers and therapists for Teacher Appreciation Week in Sammi's backpack that morning...  (Note to self:  remember this for next year...

Eh, can't hurt to butter them up, right?

We knew it wouldn't be a difficult discussion.  We had already pretty much decided on most of the details and just had to plead our case for ESY (summer school).  There's this weird thing where if no agreement can be made at the IEP sitting, it reverts back to the previous year's version, meaning classroom instruction, PT, Speech and OT (which was added as a recommendation by the therapist this year) for ESY.  Which was cool.  But we really didn't want to get it via default - we wanted them to agree, too.  And once we said we did not want Speech or PT and only wanted OT and classroom for her 3 days a week during the 5-week ESY session, and once her OT piped in that due to Sammi's issues with groups and transitions it would be pretty crucial to keep her in the school environment as much as possible prior to Kindergarten (YES!  This is what we've been saying for so long!!), everyone agreed, and the deal was signed.  Compromise, compromise, compromise.  Shoot high, scale back to where you actually want it to go and let them think they came to the decision on their own... (okay, if any of you school folks are reading this, which I don't think you are, just know that what we came up with is truly in Sammi's best interest.  We're not being arbitrary here...

Easy peasy.

I don't know if I had mentioned before how much we love her OT.  She has seriously been in our (well, Sammi's) corner 100% the whole way.  All through the year she's been the only person who has communicated with us consistently, putting entries in Sammi's notebook to inform us of exactly what they worked on each week.  She has also worked hard to create fun activities for Samantha, involving things that Samantha is interested in.  You could sense her sadness in one note she sent home accompanying a large, spiral-bound book of letter-building activities that she had been working on with Sammi all year.  Sad because it meant so much to her, and it was hard for her to pass it along to us.  I wrote her a heart-felt thank you note in return.  She has also been the one to champion our ideas in the last two IEP meetings, and has stated that while she is not necessarily the therapist-on-duty this summer for whatever summer school Samantha will be attending, she wants to be the one to do her OT herself, and will work with us to find the best times/locations in which to do the sessions outside of the classroom.   

So this is how Kindy's going to look:

*AM session 5 days per week, with a 1:1 aide for as long as is necessary (Sammi proved to us this year that once she became familiar and comfortable with the people and the routines in the classroom, she could do it on her own), to be re-assessed quarterly, or as-needed.

*An extra hour of resource time after the AM session, to review the lessons and reinforce what was learned in class that day.

*An extra 1/2 hour two days a week after the resource time for therapies.

And no transportation, as the school is about 100 yards from the house.  I'm actually quite looking forward to being able to walk her to school next year!  I so rarely get to have a glimpse into the classroom or school environment, and I think having those few moments to talk to her teacher or watch Sammi's interactions with the children will be invaluable.

All is done for another year.  Kindergarten starts in a mere 4 months.  Samantha turns 5 in a scant 3 weeks.  Mommy is adding new grey hairs by the handful (skillfully covered by that box of dye I treasure...), and the sun rises and sets right on schedule. 

It's all good.


Cathleen said...

Yay! I truly feel the relief that you have regarding this. Isn't it nice when the best intentions turn into the best scenario?

I'm already getting nervous about "next year" (3 months from now) for Lilly. While this school year turned out ok, there are so many issues with the other kids in Lilly's current class that she's getting frustrated; and I'm hoping when we leave this school behind she'll leave her anxiety behind as well. (Many of the kids in her current class are loud and disruptive which she doesn't like.) I'm hoping my fears for starting at her new school change from being nervous about how Lilly does, how she fits in, whether she likes it, etc, hopefully become "is she wearing the right outfit" and "which friends should we invite over for a playdate." Will be nice when we can have normalcy again in a long-term school and home.

Meanwhile, we won't be in DC until July 1, moving day. Will you guys be around at all in the first 2 weeks of July? Would love to get the girls together. You can come to our new house once we unpack a little!

my life: said...

LOVED your last post...I would probably struggle with her looking sad as well! ;0)

So I'm thinking...wanna come with us to Grace's IEP? :0) I am NOT looking forward to it...wanna chat? ;0) I find myself in a panic searching for an alternative...that's not going so well.

ANYWAY...super glad you guys worked it sounds like an awesome plan! Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised at ours. *i suppose that COULD happen*

Cate said...

That sounds good. We're facing kindergarten next year. eek.

Alicia said...

hey! im glad you Sammi's got what she deserves and needs!
looking forward to see her enjoying her new school :D

Rochelle said...

Sounds like a great schedule! So excited to see her soar in Kindergarten! I totally get the grey hair thing...keep washing them away and they come right back.
LOVE that you can walk her to school, so awesome!

Zoey's mom said...

She is going to fly and soar and thrive an grow and what an amazing journey it will be to watch1

Melissa said...

I'm so glad everything worked out in the IEP just like you wanted and needed it to. It sounds like Sammi is going to have great Kindy year!