In October we are going to Japan (that's good news, but it's not the good news I'm talking about). The thing about that is that it comes right when fall IEPs are usually scheduled. So I went into the school today to ask various people whether they wanted to schedule the IEP before or after our trip. The VP and the Resource Coordinator felt that things were going really well, so there was no rush and we might as well have it afterwards.
I was OK with that, but I had one reservation. Last year, MK's teachers had refused to give him letter grades in anything but math, and I do not intend to allow that to continue. I particularly did not want to let the IEP meeting slide and find out at the meeting that this year's teacher also wanted to withhold letter grades. I have lined up a legal challenge to use if the school tries that again, but these things take time to implement, so if I was going to be getting a lawyer, I wanted lead time.
So I went to the teacher and asked what he thought about the timing, saying that, if he didn't think MK was keeping up academically then we should have the IEP meeting earlier rather than later, but if he thought MK was more or less keeping up (which, by definition means eligible for letter grades) we could schedule the IEP later.
Imagine my surprise to hear the teacher say that he wanted the IEP meeting sooner, rather than later, not because MK wasn't keeping up, but because he was completely up to speed in all areas, his behavior was really good, he is happy and engaged in class, and last year's IEP doesn't cut it anymore because he's doing so much better than that. (To quote Sweet M, who was herself quoting Austin Powers) Oh yeah, baby, that's what I'm talking about!
As I have blogged, MK has made great progress recently and is doing better in general, but he's still a particularly unique young man with a number of challenges. The big difference is that this year he has got a teacher who doesn't mind the "inappropriate" questions, or the unusual postures, gestures and facial expressions that his teachers complained about so much last year. He's eager to look at what MK can do, instead of obsessing on what he can't do, or what he does differently. And that's all it takes. It's just takes an open mind (... that and the one-to-one aide that MK has this year, but let's not start talking about details that might detract from an otherwise highly poetic argument).