Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Today was Gus's ever-stressful, anxiety-provoking annual review. I've been mentally preparing myself for weeks now, preparing for an epic battle. I anticipated that there would be fists banging on tables and possibly threats to call lawyers or to remove Gus from the school system. (Okay, so my imagination can get a little overactive, and I'm a sucker for a worst case scenario.)
DH took the day off to attend the meeting, and just prior to the meeting we made our last pre-battle preparations: We stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for a sugar and caffeine boost (French vanilla with extra sugar). If I've learned nothing else today, I've learned that a non-coffee drinker should never drink coffee before a meeting that will last more than 5 minutes.
So there we were, ready for the smackdown, doing mental calisthenics, readying our arguments and rebuttal. The smackdown. Never. Came.
Not that I'm complaining.
Gus will remain in his program next year with the same services (OT reduced by half an hour, but I'm okay with that). Since state testing starts next year, he will have a multitude of accommodations: word processor availability, extra time, separate room, redirection prompts, reading of directions...there may have been more, but I lost count. Summer services are in the package as well. If our luck holds, he may even be able to stay in this program (barring any drastic changes) until the end when he transitions to middle school, but I won't count my chickens just yet. A win all around.
There were some annoying moments, or maybe it was just my caffeine enhanced scrappiness. The minute I was asked about my visit to the other school that had been suggested, I started throwing around the word 'safety.' But there was no rebuttal. The chairperson agreed that it wasn't as appropriate as she thought. I got a little miffed that she mentioned that we might want to eventually consider medication for Gus (that always gets me bristling, even if we happen to be thinking about it). I let DH handle that topic, which he did very tactfully. The psychologist irked me a little when he wondered if Gus was really getting all that he could academically. My response was something along the lines of, "He's performing at grade level or higher; how much more do we need him to get right now?" Low expectations? No. I just don't feel the need to pressure Gus to be a super-genius.
There was one nice moment when the physical therapist gave her recommendations. She mentioned that Gus often runs into the middle of kickball games because he lacks safety awareness. Apparently, the kids know him now, and when they see him coming, they just wait until he's in a safe place and then resume their games. I found that to be sweet, especially when contrasted against the neighborhood kid who was giving him funny looks at the bowling alley. They haven't teased him or been mean - what a nice thing to hear!
I'll admit, I was having a really hard time behaving at the meeting this year. I'm sure the coffee had something to do with it. Maybe it had something to do with knowing that the chairperson had lied in the past regarding my son. She did get a little closer to my good side once I saw that she was being at least somewhat sincere about how much she likes Gus. A few sarcastic comments escaped, but I bit my tongue when standardized testing came up. (Because of course that's an accurate measure of what a kid can do - we all know that. Don't get me started on that one.) When the psychologist asked me to sign a permission form for something, I very nearly said, "no," just to see what he would do, but I controlled myself. However, the guy sitting next to me didn't escape my mischievous streak. He loaned me a pen and when he asked for it back, I said, "What would you do if I said no?" He didn't seem amused by that. The next time he loaned me the pen, I said I wasn't giving it back. No reaction. And they say my son is robotic. Pfft.
By the end of the meeting I was really antsy, but fortunately we had to run out of there or we'd miss the school bus. So that was our day - we were very lucky. I'm very glad to be working with the same team next year. I'll also be very glad when this caffeine buzz wears off - there's a good reason I drink tea.
So fess up, have you ever been tempted to misbehave in one of those meetings for any reason? They're long; they're stressful. It's hard not to crack under the pressure! C'mon, share your story!
P.S. I know at least one teacher friend who really ought to weigh in on the whole question of standardized testing. I threw that in just for you!