I met with Olivia’s teacher, principal and therapists on Tuesday to discuss plans for next year. She’s heading to second grade. First grade has been awesome from an academic standpoint. Her teacher is thrilled with her progress.
I’ve been to more IEP meetings than I can count at this point. It’s not that big a deal. I feel lucky to be able to say that. I feel so, so lucky to feel like the school and I are on the same team, Olivia’s team. We all want the best for her. We all want to challenge her and yet not push her so hard that she shuts down.
The OT spoke first. She talked about Olivia’s weak little hands and how hard writing is for her. Yep, got it. We see this at home too. Coloring is something that can strengthen O’s hands. Awesome, right? Sure, for me and Alyssa. We love to color. Olivia isn’t as big a fan. Guess why…yep, weak hands. Coloring is hard work. Looks like someone will be getting some Frozen coloring books in her Easter basket.
The PT was next up. She said that while she’s keeping Olivia on for one more year, she isn’t sure how much farther she can take O. Olivia is very functional at school. She has no trouble keeping up with her peers when they’re walking down the hall from one class to another, she can keep up in gym class (if she’ll stay on task) , she can hold her own at recess when the kids race to the swings. All of this points to a strong core and excellent gross motor coordination.
I always kind of figured a kid who can do no-handed flips has pretty darned good gross motor skills. But sure, why not keep at PT for one more year, right?
Next came the ST. Ahh, speech therapy, how we love you. Olivia has excellent expressive and receptive language skills. Where she is weak is in socialization. She CAN do it all, but she doesn’t always choose to do it. She’s perfectly capable of interacting with her peers. She’s done it in the past. But she doesn’t choose to do so on a regular basis. If given enough time, like up to five minutes, Olivia WILL respond to a peer when greeted or when playing a game. But how often do we have five minutes to wait for her to say hi?
So for next year…Olivia will be heading back to the regular classroom. Her teacher and therapists feel like she needs more opportunity to interact with her peers than she’s gotten this year with the placement she’d had. Her academic progress is great but her social life, such as it can be in first grade, isn’t where they’d like it to be. They want her, we all want her to make friends. We want her to talk to her classmates, to interact, to play, to converse.
She’ll continue to receive some help from a one on one aide to keep her on task when in the classroom but she’ll not be pulled out of the classroom for special instruction more than 40% of her day.
I’m still processing it all, to be honest.
Last year I lamented the loss of the social time that came with her being in a self-contained classroom.
This year I’m lamenting the one on one time she’s losing by being back in the thick of a typical classroom.
I can’t seem to be satisfied, can I?
But I take comfort in the fact that she will be monitored and these things are never set in stone. We can adjust it as we go, as she indicates it needs to be adjusted.
Olivia is amazing. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s sweet. Her classmates want to know her. They want to interact with her. So we’re giving her the opportunity to do just that. And if she starts to lose ground academically, we’ll make adjustments as needed.
She’s got a great team behind her, at home and at school.
She’s going to be fine, we’re all going to make sure of that.