Thursday, January 22, 2009

School Worries

So we're just starting to really gear up for Connor's transition to school. I have to admit: I'm totally, completely, NOT READY for him to be in school. I've been in denial for the last few months. Surely my BABY won't be three that soon?

But here we are less then three months away, and suddenly whether I want to or not I have to start getting him ready. It's IEP time.

For those of you who aren't teachers or parents of special needs children, an Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is a contract with a school that outlines the educational goals of the student, any aid, programs, or supports to be provided by the school, and any other accommodations needed. Every special education student is required by law to have one.

Now in Connor's case, we feel that we should do a little something extra for his teacher or teachers. After all, if I was a teacher and received an IEP for a child that included the kind of medical report and evaluation Connor's folder will likely have, I would be very intimidated and a bit at a loss about what to do with the child. I want to let Connor's teachers know what his strengths are and the most effective teaching methods for him without making them defensive or having them feel like I'm overbearing or interfering. I think a friendly, not antagonistic relationship would be the best for all parties involved.

So here's what I'm thinking. I'd like to make a notebook for Connor's teacher. It would be a three ring binder (easily updated) divided it into three main sections: About Connor, Communication, and Medical. Here's what would go in each section:

About Connor:
Areas of Interests and Favorite Games
Likes And Dislikes
Strengths and Areas of Difficulty

Connor's Signs
Vocalizations and Their Causes
Other Methods of Communication (eye-pointing, picture communication, etc)
This section would also include a DVD of as many of Connors signs as we can capture on tape, and me or one of Connor's therapists signing the rest. We'd also try and film some of Connor's games and common behaviors as a resource for the teachers.

A brief explanation of Connor's medical issues in layman's terms
How these issues will affect Connor in the classroom
Medications Connor is taking
Special Dietary Issues and Allergies
Emergency Contact Guide
Emergency procedures in the event Connor has his g-tube pulled out, has a seizure, goes into heart failure, etc.
Instructions for all of Connor's equipment-- hearing aids, FM system, wheelchair, g-tube, oxygen, etc.

So I'm kind of wondering whether or not this is really a good idea or would be useful to a teacher, or if it would be totally overbearing. Some of this info will probably be in the IEP-- I figured it might be a little easier to wade through if it was organized like this, though. What do you all think? Am I being silly?



Kierstyn said...

Hmmmm. As a former teacher, it sounds a little overwhelming. Like you said, being hit with too much possibly.

As a momma, do it!! Do everything you can to help him make a smoothe transition, and have a good experience.

Anonymous said...

Hey super mommy! I think you should totally do it. It might come off as a bit much at first, but I'm sure the teacher would appreciate it as they spend more time with Conner


Merritt said...

If I were Connor's new teacher, I would be delighted to receive such a user-friendly resource and supplement to the IEP! Plus it gives the teaching staff the opportunity to peruse the information at their own pace and to reference it when necessary. Fabulous idea!

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