There are the IFSP's. We had two years of those. Then came the IEP's. Two more years. Then the amendments. The Functional Behavior Plans. The transitional plans. Four schools worth, four teachers, two ASD specialists, and one Expulsion Hearing proceedings.
I have all of this spread on the kitchen island. I already feel beyond confused, frustrated, and am contemplating the bottle of Merlot on the counter. Piece by piece I pull the papers out, look them over, try to interpret all of the information from all of the professionals. Add to the pile pieces from the neurologist, speech therapist, and OHSU.
Isaac is transitioning. He is leaving his "behavioral boot camp" (my pet name for his Pioneer class), and leaving to test his new skills out on a SLP class at Alameda. And, with fingers crossed, moving into the mainstream.
This will not be our first attempt at an SLP class, nor creeping into the mainstream. Isaac started out in a typical Kindergarten class at Sabin, with a para-aide assigned to him for the first 8 weeks (she ended up staying with him for 10 weeks). We survived another 2.5 months without our safety net before it all came crashing down. His anxiety finally got the best of him, and Sabin had no resources to handle this. His kindergarten teacher (retiring at the end of that year) simply said she could do no more for him. And despite the fact that at this point I detested the woman (aren't K teachers supposed to be nurturing?) I had to agree with her. More damage was being done, so during spring break I moved him to Roseway Heights, to an a SLP class.
I had no idea SLP classes even existed. How ignorant was I? I always assumed that all options would be explained to me, that PPS and I were on a team working towards the same goal. It is most likely true in some situations, but not in this one. There was a slow leak on a need to know basis, and I was too naive to look up this information independently and ask the right questions.
Roseway was suggested because it was a small class with a stellar teacher. This was true. Ms. Margot was beyond fantastic. She was smart, organized, fully trained, and believed in each of her students' potential. And Isaac thrived. And then she left. Her husband's job took them east. Her replacement? That is another tale.
So here I am. We have been up and down, had great and then frankly crap teachers. He has been a tolerable, then an intolerable, and now a model student. For the first year and a half of his academic career, I dropped him at school with a feeling of dread. I never strayed too far away, knowing I would get a call to come help, or more often than not, come get Isaac. Since he arrived at Pioneer, nothing. I drop him off knowing he is going to have a good day. That he is going to learn, play with friends, have successes, and run out the door at the end of the day shouting "mom, I had a great day!".
Now we are getting ready for another transitional meeting, from Pioneer to Alameda, to an SLP class and then out into the world. It is a different ball game, to say the least. All of these papers, all of this experience, and naive no more, all of the information gathered from a dozen or more sources.
Feeling better equipped this time around. But still scared. A bit jaded. And, always, hopeful.