We enrolled all three girls in school this year, online charter, not a brick and mortar school. I was worried about Amanda; she does not have academic skills to speak of and is very young developmentally. What would she get out of school?
Last spring I spoke to the school about our concerns about the current curriculum, it truly had to modified to such a degree that the books were useless. I found myself going to my homeschooling list serv and wishing wistfully for regular homeschooling with our own curriculum. Those parents seem to have the answers, AZVA did not want to listen. I was extremely frustrated.
A few weeks ago we did an interim IEP for Kara and Amanda, it will be in place until October. Because their last IEP was done when they were pre-school aged, they both need to see a psychiatrist to have their eligibility to receive special education services reaffirmed. Some typical children with speech delay often will not need additional services in Kindergarten, though states likely retest to save money, who are we kidding. :P Even though we find it silly, you have to follow the rules right? We have no doubt that Kara and Amanda still have Down syndrome with significant delays, Amanda still has autism too...This gentleman will meet us at a neutral place and evaluate their girls strengths and weaknesses. With Kara he may be able to get a clearer idea of what she can do, Amanda on the other hand will likely go into her "I do not like strangers" mode, drop her head and ignore him. Depends on how friendly or engaging this man will be.
Last month Tom and I "attended"the IEP via conference call with the team, the drafts of the IEP's viewed on an Elluminate screen. Just one of the peculiarities of on-line schooling, all of the team live in the Phoenix area and getting together in a room was not an option.
They asked us if we thought Kara would be able to write her name by October? What? We said no way, they said what about a K? Sigh, no, Kara is in the pre-writing phase of development, of course we would love it if she could do this, but not even Meghan can write her name yet. (This year, it has to happen this year)
Amanda is very delayed, and no one could figure out an academic goal for her. We all decided working on attention span and eye contact would be a step in the right direction for Amanda.
Prior to the IEP we received the girls curriculum and I was very disappointed to see the books were basically the same as last year, with very minor differences. I knew at once that none of the girls could do anything on those pages, and being emotional I just started crying. I was told that some things were changing this year, and I was so excited about it. Work pages that our girls could do, YES! Alas, NO was the answer.
In my frustration I complained to the special ed teacher who called to set up the IEP drafts and she said "Perhaps you should just send them to a brick and mortar self-contained classroom". I told her I felt her comments were out of line and insulting, I believed that if the school accepted children with special education needs, then that school should accommodate the children with a usable curriculum. She was a bit flustered, I could tell, she said that they were working on a self contained type of online classroom for their kids in special ed. Of course I was thinking, strange, they are schooled at home, how will that work exactly?
Today their self contained classroom teacher called me and said we were going to be able to use a different curriculum for the girls. There is a program for children with autism we can utilize, I cannot recall what she called it, my memory sometimes, oh boy. Even though Meghan and Kara do not have a diagnosis of autism, schools have had success with the program for children with various diagnosis. She was also very excited to tell me that we will be getting Edmark reading program for our children this year. We had used Zoo Phonics, regular phonics, and none of these are working, so I am hopeful the program will provide us with the breakthrough we have been hoping for.
The little girls start school on Friday, I will check back and let folks know how they are doing, I am certain I will do some mommy whining along the way. Fingers crossed we have a good year.