I'm not sure if it contributed to the way the meeting went or not, but we wound up having our meeting on the last day of school before Christmas break. The Special Ed coordinator, Angela, was actually calling in from home where she was babysitting her grand-daughter, so I think it might be correct to say that she may have been a little distracted.
Vanessa conducted the meeting. She started it by summing up why we were here, then asked Tyler's teacher, Shauna, if she could summarize based on Tyler's academic the past year and a half (she has also his 4th grade teacher.)
Shauna's words were like a balm to my tattered soul: When you look at Tyler's grades, you see a strong A and B average student. But those grades are because of a mother who is involved in every aspect of her child's education. She sees his needs, and is constantly looking weeks ahead to anticipate the coursework and the accommodations he would need.
(Just so you know, this is not how I would choose to approach academics. Just ask my daughter.)
So often I feel like a complete failure, and that everyone is looking at me wondering "why doesn't she...?" It was so gratifying to hear someone affirm my actions.
Then Vanessa said: I asked Jennifer to fill out a Social Developmental form. Usually when I ask parents to fill this form out, I get back a sentence or two, or nothing. Jennifer gave me a book (ooops!). But I think that it gives a very clear picture of who we are dealing with here, so I'd like to just read it exactly as Jennifer wrote it.
So she read my words out loud.
I silently cried.
When Vanessa was done reading, it was silent for a moment, and then Vanessa began to move to the next portion of the meeting.
Angela, the Special Ed coordinator, broke in and said: Well, I think that we can go ahead and qualify him for Special Ed based on that. Is everyone in agreement?
Vanessa was taken aback and said: Uh, you want to go ahead and qualify him? Oh, okay. All in favor?
And just like that, the first part was done.
Then we moved on to qualifying him for Occupational Therapy. I had sent Vanessa a copy of the OT eval that had been done two years ago when Ty first started going to OT. It was long and Vanessa started reading it word for word. Angela cut in and asked her to just read the parts that were relevant to academics. So Vanessa read some information about Tyler's fine motor skills. I was a little worried that this brief information would not convey the strong need for sensory therapy through OT, so I also included an impassioned plea.
Angela cut in and when she first started talking, I thought all was lost. She has a "cut to the chase" attitude and makes quick decisions. She said that a sensory diet was not within the realm of academics, that she wasn't even sure if their OT did that kind of stuff, and so they couldn't provide OT for that. My heart sank. But then she said that she would qualify him for OT for his fine motor skills, and then said that the OT could address any sensory stuff at that time, too, if they were able.
Vanessa was taken aback, apparently, and said: So, you are qualifying him for in-person OT?
Yes, Angela was. Then she asked me if I'd ever had a speech evaluation done on Tyler. I was surprised by the question and said that we had not because he had never had a problem with talking. She suggested that we go ahead and have a speech eval done, saying that speech therapy would also help, not just with the mechanics of talking, but with social skills. I was thrilled with the suggestion.
Angela was then anxious to get off the phone, so that was that. Vanessa said she'd call me right back.
I was a little in shock, not exactly sure what all had just happened when Vanessa called me back.
Vanessa was ecstatic. She said that she was shocked by how positive the meeting had gone and how we had gotten everything we asked for, plus some. She said Angela almost never approves for in-person OT, she prefers to qualify for virtual OT, so she was amazed that Angela had approved Tyler for in-person OT so quickly.
Vanessa then said that she thinks that my form tipped things over into our favor. She praised my writing and said that it gave such a clear picture of things.
So now we were going forward...