|Image from Self Advocacy for Young Adults|
This, and some other posts from Autistics Speaking Day have got me wondering about when we should get msk involved in his own IEP meetings. He's getting older, and at some point he will need to make decisions about his life. On the other hand, lots of talking, especially about him, makes him uncomfortable. Trying to involve him in these types of conversations, by asking questions or prompting him to speak, is therapy, and pretty hard therapy at that.
One thing I love about his middle school is that they have team report card conferences for every kid in the school. These remind me of IEP team meetings, with much less paperwork and formalities. Even at that, msk attends, but is only pulled into the discussion occasionally. We look at his work and talk to his teachers. He moves between observing us from across the room (and listening, I'm sure, with his incredible hearing), and being pulled in to answer a question or display some work. I think he's at least a little uncomfortable. I know I am. But we plug through, and I believe it's good for him to see that we all care about what he's doing in his classes.
IEP meetings, though... I'm just not sure. There are a lot of people in a small place. The most useful parts of the meeting (at least in my eyes) are when we brainstorm about issues or problems or possible paths forward. We discuss, with smiles, about some of his special skills. I wonder if this kind of talk, even if we didn't ask for his contribution, would make him uncomfortable to the point of him acting out. And during the meetings, I really work hard on listening, taking notes, contributing, and thanking team members. I'm not sure I could focus that well if I was keeping an eye on msk and honestly, feeling a little uncomfortable about his interaction, or lack thereof.
It's got to happen at some point. We're talking about a kid who is at least as sharp as your average 12 year old. And we're talking about big decisions as we come towards a high school transition. We just need to figure out a way to implement something that pulls him in in a positive way.
I'd love to hear some suggestions. What experiences do any readers have with significantly disabled students attending their own IEP meetings?
Please check out my fellow Bmore Ed NaBloPoMo Crew:
Epiphany in Baltimore
Maryland Math Madness
and The Smallest Twine