Today I experienced yet another drastic shift in my point of view. Over my 10 years in education, I have been a part of countless ARD's (Admission, Review & Dismissal). These are meetings required through Special Education for the state of Texas. The point of these meetings are for a team of educators along with the parents to determine an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) that best meets the students needs. Today I was escorted down the colorful hallways of our local elementary school filled with students and classes walking to and from daily activities. The hushed chatter as students snuck in quiet conversations with their friends conjured up memories from my classroom days. As familiar as I am with this environment, I walked through the doorway into the conference room as a parent this time. And as a parent, I was filled with feelings of anxiety and nervousness. The room was filled, and I mean FILLED, with educators...13 to be exact...14, if you include me. I know how I felt walking in with my years of experience and knowledge of the process. My heart immediately went out to all of the parents who have entered that room before me and to those who will come after me. It's overwhelming. If you are entering an ARD, for whatever the reason, you already know that your child doesn't meet the cookie cutter version of "normal." Whether it is big decisions that need to be made or small ones, anything discussed and decided upon isn't easy to hear as a parent. Just hearing the report of Drake's medical history was enough to bring back a flood of emotions (don't worry...I didn't cry). I'm used to being the one who has the regurgitate the facts at every appointment, with every new therapist, ect...I've learned to disconnect with my replay of events and robotically state the timeline and facts. Having someone else recite it to the group, caught me (and my emotions) off guard.
We came to an agreement of what we believe will be the best plan for Drake. He will continue with his Vision Therapy, and begin receiving homebound services with consults from OT, PT and ST. Even though this sounds like a lot, these services from the school district will consist of one hour per week. He can receive more, but we would like to start with a smaller amount to see how he tolerates everything. We will be adding this to his weekly OT, PT and ST that he receives twice a week for each discipline through Therapy 2000.
Kennedy made her dancing debut this weekend at Mistletoe and Magic! Our little shining star was not scared on the stage one bit! She even tried to go back out on stage and perform again with the next group. Luckily, one of her teachers spotted her and escorted her off of the stage. Gotta love her fearless spirit!
I have no doubt that our life perspectives will continue to evolve. Our plan is to take things one day at a time, and do our best to meet the needs of all 3 of our kiddos. Mistakes are bound to be made, but we will take those as lessons learned and move forward.