Friday, August 31, 2007

Fall is in the Air

Fall is in the air. There is nothing better than sitting in a stadium, drinking an overpriced hot chocolate (preferably spiked with a bit of peppermint schnapps) and watching a football game. However, fall also means back to school. And for me, back to school means 4 IEPs.

My oldest, by 4 minutes, was a preemie born at 25 weeks gestation. He weighed 1 pound 6 ounces and spent 100 days in the NNICU. His stay was relatively uneventful. (I can see the neo right now, clutching his chest near his heart and gasping, “Uneventful? I was dancing on the head of a pin!” But, I said “relatively.”

He did have PDA, which was closed with medication. He had a small brain bleed, which resolved itself. And, ROP, which also resolved on its own. Today he is in the 75th percentile for height and 50th percentile for weight. Since kindergarten, he has been fully included. This fall, he enters 6th grade where he will continue to do grade level work with few accommodations. (He gets to go to the resource room to take tests if he is too stressed out.) Also, this will be his second year singing in the choir and his first attempt at band. He will play clarinet.

Given these accomplishments you might be surprised to learn that it takes all my will-power NOT to be a helicopter parent. He does get teased due to some of his “quirks.” He can be manipulated into doing almost anything, which is NOT GOOD. We still don’t know if he will live independently or ever have a career. Maybe a job, but we are holding out for a career.

So, in a week or two, I will meet with the “team” (of which I am a part, after 12 years they have learned, do not mess with me or mine) and we will come up with his goals and objectives for the year. I plan on focusing on “executive functions.” I also want to have him learn to advocate for himself. And we need to plan for the transition to middle school. Oh, and he wants to learn Mandarin. Why can’t he pick a language that I can help him with?

After his IEP, I will move on to the other 3. Hopefully, I will be done by Thanksgiving.

Click here to learn more about IEPs and Special Education Services.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I hate Holland. Oh, not the province of Holland in the Netherlands or even the cities of Holland in various states. But the essay, Welcome to Holland. Every time someone sends this essay to me, I respond in a less than flattering manner. Then, generally, I am told “I don’t get it.” Oh, I get it all right. I don’t think the author had an agenda when she wrote it but I do think that she may have been slightly brainwashed by society.

As a mom to 4 kids with special needs I look at it like this; who in the heck are you to tell me where I may go and where I may stay? Hey, my plane may have been diverted to Holland but I’m not staying unless we, as a family, want to stay. It may please society to “keep my children in their places” but my mission in life is not to please society but to advocate for my children. Yes, as the rest of the country comes and goes to Italy, I am not going to sit idly by, wave, and holler, “Hey, have a good trip!”

Many parents with special needs children will stay in Holland but as for me and my house, we are going to Italy. Or, maybe Greece, Spain, Portugal or Machu Picchu. And we aren’t taking the “short bus” to get there.