Sunday, March 23, 2014

IEP Meeting

We had our first IEP meeting for Middle Son at his new school (in our new school district) last week.  There were several noteworthy things.

First off was his use of his iPad.  He is doing much more with it than he has previously.  They described what he is doing.   They showed me how they have the communication app set it up.  Middle is using it to ask for breaks, to choose activities, and to select his lunch.  This is an order of magnitude more than we've seen him do before.  I am setting it up for him to use at home.  Now that My Beloved Wife is staying home we can put a lot more effort into using it with him at home.

Second was the way they interacted with Middle.  They had him "sign" his name on the papers.  They brought a puzzle along to give him something to do during the meeting.  They also had him play a game on the iPad (not his iPad, one of the teacher's).  He actually seemed interested in the game, which is also noteworthy.

Third, and perhaps most important, was the resources that the Bellevue School District has available and their attitudes about using them.  His IEP said that he is not eligible for Extended School Year (summer school).  We discussed that.  I said that I'd like him to do ESY.  The program administrator said that they can create an exception based on the fact that Middle is new to the district.  Then she opened up her laptop and wrote up the exception on the spot.  This is very unusual.  ESY costs money.  Schools usually resist spending money.  Later we were talking about Middle's iPad.  They asked if we were backing it up.  We are not.  I mentioned that I want to buy a second iPad for him.  That way he has back up hardware.  The speech pathologist said she could write a grant for him.    The school district could provide one that he could take home.  Including over the summer.  Which costs money.  Which would require a fight in most school districts.  And they did in a casual, off-handed manner.

We paid a premium when we decided to rent a house in Bellevue, largely because of the quality of the schools.  Bellevue has some of the best-rated public schools in the country.  I see why.

I am thankful that we can afford to live here.  Middle (and Oldest) can have so much help available to them that they didn't have in our old district.

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