Wednesday, November 16, 2011


N's annual IEP meeting is Monday.

I've been prepping. Like crazy. Emphasis not on the 'like,' but very much on the 'crazy.'

I've talked to his OT, and I know what she's planning on recommending. It involves a reduction in services, but not an annihilation of them. I'm OK with it.

I've talked to his psychologist, and I know what she's planning on recommending. It involves more social-skills related goals, and no reduction in services.

I haven't talked to--or met--his SLT, though Baroy has. From his report, I'm not sure I really care what happens there. (He's not impressed.)

Neither of us has talked to his RSP teacher recently, but I know she won't be suggesting a reduction in his time with her, and that she'll be open to the ideas I want to bring up.

And I also know that his classroom teacher will bring ideas and thoughtful experience with her, having worked with him not only these past few months quite successfully, but as his classroom teacher in second grade.

I've written out a list of questions. I've printed out blog posts and emails to remind me of what I want to say. I have five days, and I'm already pretty much ready.

So why the emphasis on the crazy?

I don't know. That's why it's crazy.

But also, I do know, a little. I know that no matter how well Baroy and I prep for this meeting, something's going to blindside me, and probably not in a good way. Some comment; some thought. Maybe just the putting into words of where he is and/or isn't. That's what IEPs do. They hurt.

I also know that no matter how well Baroy and I prep for this meeting, the plan we put together won't be perfect. Not even close. What N needs doesn't exist at this school, and possibly not in this school district. I say that as if I know what he needs; I don't. But I know that whatever it is, it's not what he's getting, and he's getting pretty much the best of the best they have to offer. He's getting all sorts of services, and some of them have been exceptional, and some of them are just "the best they have to offer," but not the best thing for him.

I also ALSO know that pretty much every single word Stimey wrote here could have been and still could be written about N rather than Jack; in fact, I said so in the comments. And that makes me sad. It makes me wonder if the choices I've made, and the choices I'm about to make, are the right ones, the best ones, all things considered.

Yesterday, in a meeting with my boss that (clearly) veered very much off-topic, I was talking about this very subject. She understands; she has a nephew on the spectrum, and a niece who needs evaluating for some kind of learning difference.

"The problem," I told her, "is that I spend my working life writing about science. But this? This parenting thing? It's blind faith. No way to make a different choice, see how that would have come out. No way to explore the N-related data for various outcomes, and use that information to inform what I do going forward. I know how this particular arm of the experiment is turning out, so far. But I'll never know if he would have thrived in the special day class, or in a private school for special needs kids. I'll never know if he would have been destroyed in that setting, either. I will, simply, never know if what I did was the right thing."

And so on Monday Baroy and I will go in and make some more decisions. We'll push on some things; we'll back off on others. We'll trust, and we'll question. We'll smile, and we'll break a little inside. But we won't know the one thing I need to know. We'll never know if this is the right thing, the best thing, for N.

No matter how much I prep.