Summer is coming. At the very least a summer attitude has been around for a while now: shorts, flip flops, and warm weather. By now many families on the Spectrum have had their annual CSE meetings to plan for the summer and next year. A funny thing happened; we had our meeting for Mike at our district’s Special Ed office. For the last few previous years when Mike was attending Nassau BOCES Rosemary Kennedy School, we went there and participated via phone conference at a table where his teachers and service providers sat. Those teachers and providers were all very much on the ball; having sent us copies of new goals and objectives to review before the meeting actually took place. Smooth as silk.
This year, not so much. Maybe it was the break in routines for both us and the district CSE, who hadn’t physically seen us in for at least 3 years. Everything was going really well as the teachers and service providers from Island Trees Memorial Middle School reviewed Mike’s progress this year, his first at the school. The district’s psychology chairman who was running our meeting suddenly realized that Mike was 14 this year, and started the discussion about pre-pre-planning his transition from middle school to high school and (presumably) beyond. He spoke glowingly about how much progress Mike had made both behaviorally and academically, and that maybe (!) Mike would make that transition back into district, since the district Special Ed programs and curricula had itself grown and expanded.
Blah, blah, blah…
As my wife and I looked at each other, we knew we had the same thought process simultaneously: no effing way in hell is Mike ever, ever, ever going back to district schools. Ever. He was what we termed their ‘guinea pig’ many years before as the district essentially began their fledgling, rudderless, eternally-incompetent start to their Special Education program; subjecting him to different, often divergent methodologies of teaching and addressing autistic behavior.
Ummm, no. Hell no.
Well, this started an avalanche of unforseen and unintended discussion, so much so that it wasn’t until we got back home that we realized that we were derailed, and did not go over any of next year’s goals and objectives. The good thing was that we never signed any documents at the end of the meeting indicating that we agreed with all that was discussed during the CSE. As we learned many years ago, never sign anything at a CSE other than an attendance sheet. As embarrassing as it was for 2 parents who consider themselves relatively ‘on top of things’ to forget to review our son’s goals, it was not an irrevocable faux pas.
My wife promptly called the district CSE, informed them of the oversight, and was able to have a copy of next year’s goals mailed to us for review. After the goals came in the mail, she went over each of the goals with the parent trainer who visits almost weekly, and was able to break down the goals, or tweak them. She scheduled a telephone conference with Island Trees’ teachers and providers and went through what changes we (she) wanted implemented in the goals. She then told them to make the changes or we would unfortunately need to schedule another CSE meeting before this school year ends.
Did I mention that my wife rocks? She is ‘Autism Warrior Mom’ personified.
Summer is coming. That means day camp, swimming, ice cream and all that good stuff. I hope all your kids’ goals and objectives have been addressed to your satisfaction, so that you can enjoy summer with them.