Now that I'm done ranting, I can move on to much happier topics. Like the fact that we had Zoe's I.E.P. meeting at school today. For those of you out there that haven't dealt with special education before, and IEP stands for Individual Education Plan. Every year we have a meeting at school with Zoe's teachers, speech therapists, the school psychologist, and the school's language specialist. We determine where Zoe is as far as meeting her educational needs, and then establish goals and plans for the follow school year.
The meeting went extremely well. Everyone had comments about how wonderfully Zoe is doing in school and how much she has matured. She has never really had a problem with the academic stuff--she's got recall like you cannot believe and she's excellent at decoding and solving math problems. Her primary area of opportunity lies in the areas of socialization and behavior. It is very difficult for a child like her to sit still for a long period of time and work independently; but even that is improving greatly. She oftentimes has a hard time expressing herself verbally, particularly in times of stress or when she's having a rough day (like if she's accidentally eaten stuff not on her diet). Zoe's working hard to get better at that, and the results of her hard work can be seen every day.
The great news is that she has improved to the point that the team has decided to begin the process of mainstreaming her. She'll start to spend portions of her day in a "regular class" with kids in her grade who don't have her issues. The goal here is to see how well she copes in that setting, gradually increasing the amount of time she spends there (at a comfortable rate for her, of course) until the team reconvenes and decides she's ready to go full-time. The biggest difference between her current classroom setting and general ed is the class size. Currently there are seven kids in her class, with one teacher. The general ed classes at the school have as many as fifteen kids and one teacher.
As her mom, I'm so eager to see her be challenged because I know she is a very capable student. However, I also grapple with wanting to protect her. I worry about her being able to do well in a different class setting. I don't want her to get frustrated and then have school be a negative thing for her. My baby is growing up. She is literally changing before my eyes, which is sad and exhilirating at the same time.