Okay, last post about Dar’s October IEP.

I’d say the stakes were pretty high. Partly because the first month of Dar’s school year had been a train wreck. To say “three aides in two weeks” understates the problem. Counting subs, it was closer to six. And each new person required hours of training with Dar’s iPad. I feel sorry for Mary, the school’s special-needs coordinator, who had to do the training. I don’t feel sorry for the supervisor of these aides, who told me “see you at the IEP!”

No, she didn’t. She wasn’t there. That’s because the BUSD had hired her company…and fired them after all the chaos.

A few days before the IEP, the district hired a full-time aide for Dar. So one of my first questions at the IEP was about the process of hiring this aide, Erica. They said she had already been working for the district for a year, as a full-time teacher. (Oooo, a whole year, I thought.) I asked why she made this move to being a one-on-one aide; was it her idea, or theirs? They wouldn’t answer that.

Erica is great. But every day, I wait for her to quit, for her to decide this isn’t why she got into education. I’ve learned not to trust. Very different from last year.

Anyway, back to the IEP. I ask about Dar’s letter and number skills. His receptive skills are good, his expressive nearly non-existent. He can certainly find a letter or number when asked, upper and lower case. But he’s never proactive with it. So that’s a goal.

We talk about “functional communication.” Everyone keeps talking about Danielle, who the district has hired as an expert on these issues. Danielle’s goal is for Dar to prompt communication, and use it correctly, 20 times an hour. That seems laudable. I’ve never met Danielle, even though this IEP has been moved twice (at the request of the district). I hate that sort of thing. I guess she’s such an expert that she can’t stay at one site too long.

I also ask about two-syllable phrases. Yes, it’s a goal. He’s lost ground here. He used to have a lot of them down. The other day I spent an hour trying to get him to say “guh-muh” for gummi bears. Now, Dar LOVES gummi bears. He’ll do anything for them…except say “guh muh.” He can say “guh.” He can say “muh.” It goes like this: “Dar, say ‘guh.’” “Guh.” “Dar, say ‘muh.’” “Muh.” “Dar, say ‘guh muh.’” “Puh-tuh.” “Guh-muh!” “Puh-tuh.”

Dar has reverted to “puh-tuh” (which began as “open door”) for almost every two-syllable phrase. Regression happens, but I don’t like it.

His iPad work is going pretty well.

My other big issue at the IEP is tracking Dar’s immersion. It’s not so different from our routine from last year, but many of last year’s routines have been disrupted in the train wreck. I want to know how often Dar leaves class, and for how long. I want to know how much time Dar spends on his own work, and how much with the class. I want the goals, and I want the actuals. Every day.

So we talk about that at the IEP. We’re on the same page, more or less. The teachers chirp with enthusiasm when talking about Dar interacting with his fellow students. They effuse about the kids pressing the buttons on Dar’s iPad. I’m less certain that’s good. I ask about Dar touching kids. He certainly is touching them, especially their hair. He’s not violent, not really, but there are moments of what I call “collateral damage,” when his hand lashes out because of frustration at being asked to say/do something. 95% of the time, his hand hits himself. 4.9% of the time, it hits a teacher/adult. Once ever, that hand hit a fellow student. She’s his friend and didn’t mind too much. But I want to know how many more times that happens before Dar gets pushed out of the BUSD.

Nobody can answer that.

As a general rule, the BUSD isn’t into hard metrics, at least at this age. I don’t love that.

At the end of the IEP meeting, they ask for signatures from wifey and I. As usual, we politely decline, waiting until we get home and have had a chance to review.

We go home with a GRIP of paperwork. In the last two weeks, I’ve put some of it on this blog. There’s a lot more, but I don’t want you to drown in as much data as we do over here.

As of this writing, we haven’t signed. But we figure we will. How could we not? They’re trying with Dar. They’re trying hard. They seem to have hired a new aide just for him. It would seem…ungrateful not to sign.

But we wonder.

There’s a piece of good news to end this entry with. I am relatively clearing my calendar for next semester, not taking on as much work as usual, to devote myself to Dar and Rapid Prompting Method. I don’t know how many hours are going to be like this: “Dar, say ‘guh.’” “Guh.” “Dar, say ‘muh.’” “Muh.” “Dar, say ‘guh muh.’” “Puh-tuh.” “Guh-muh!” “Puh-tuh.” But I’m planning to devote a lot more of them.