It's that time of year again. ARD. We get to go over N-Zilla's IEP. For of you that don't know A.R.D stands for Admissions. Review. Dismissal. and IEP is Individual Education Plan.
When N-Zilla's PPCD (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities) pre-k teacher, Mrs J taught him last year the ARD's were a piece of gluten free cake. Now...not so much. I will never forget a private conversation we had earlier this year (Mrs. J was moved to a different elementary school...I was told that the PPCD program had closed and N-Zilla's wonderful teacher had to move) with Mrs. J. Earlier in the year around October, the ARD committee wanted to have N-Zilla move to another campus that had a PPCD program in place since the one where he was at was closing. I disagreed. For many reasons. Mostly how they closed the program and moved a wonderful teacher was wrong. On a Thursday she was told that Friday she would be moving to another school. And how it screwed N-Zilla. I disagreed, and disagreed some more. Finally after many phone calls. Searching on the Web, reading and reading the IDEA parent booklet, late night convo's,coffee and tears with the Bestie AND speaking with a advocate, it was decided that staying at his current school would be the LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) for N-Zilla. At work I ran into Mrs. J and we talked about the situation. I told her that I couldn't believe it was going to be this hard to be heard and make a decision for my son. I will never forget the words that she said to me, "It's only going to get harder. You've got to be prepared and continue to be N-Zilla's advocate".
Gulp. She was right. I was kinda hoping that the whole N-Zilla get's to stay debacle was a one time thing. This is our first ARD after the great ARD of October and it is just as heated.
N-Zilla will be going to Kindergarten next fall...he currently is the only PPCD student at his present school and our home campus is not "PPCD qualified" or has the "PPCD qualified staff" equipet to service N-Zilla
so it's being told to me. It is being suggested strongly that N-Zilla attends an other campus that is PPCD "ready". He will be in a General Ed class with a kinder teacher and a Para-Aid (Paraprofessional), the Spec Ed teacher will over-see his progress and be a resource for his Kinder teacher. I can not understand why this can not happen at his home campus. N-Zilla can not be the only student that has PPD-NOS (Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified) or has ASD ( Autism Spectrum Disorder). N-Zilla can not be the only student at our home campus that needs Spec Ed resources. He just can't be the only one!
I have a very dear friend...I refer to her as The Bestie. She is also going through this right now. Tis the season. I won't go into her ARD's and IEP's and BIP's (Behavioral Intervention Plan) because that is her business to share or not...but I will say, I feel ya Gurl. When making the best educational decision for your child and attending your ARD-you feel out numbered.
And before you get into your car or mini-van...what ever, you feel like you are going to be fighting in a MMA match. Your heart is pumping out of your eyeballs and you've got cotton mouth from drinking 20 cups of coffee. You wonder if you should have taken your friend up on that offer for a Xanny.
At some point in the ARD you wanna say AW HELL NO, MY SON WILL NOT RIDE THE BUS AT 5:45 IN THE MORNING OR BE IN THE APPLE UNIT. But you don't because you're the parent and no one will take you seriously if you do.
After it all, I day dream that my husband said things like this before and after these meeting. I bet you do too Bestie ;)