We had David's IEP meeting today. For those of you with neurotypical kids, an IEP is an education program that spells out exactly what David will be getting in school in the way of supportive services. This year, he'll still receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, and daily time with a learning support specialist, just like all his previous school years. There was one big difference to the plan this year, though.
They recommended that David's personal aide be "phased out".
When I read the first draft of the IEP, I have to admit I hyperventilated a bit. Taking his aide away! They can't do that! He only has her half a day as it is, and she's there to redirect him and keep him on task, because like most children on the autism spectrum, David's attention isn't always where it should be.
Taking his aide away. Taking. His aide. Away.
Then I read on. And I reread. And I decided I would wait and talk to them in person, so I could be sure I was understanding this correctly.
Which I was.
They are most definitely in favor of phasing out his aide. Even his aide (who has been with him since kindergarten and once threatened to quit if they assigned her to anyone but David) is in favor of being phased out. It turns out (and all the therapists, the teacher, and the aide were unanimous in their support) that he just plain doesn't need her much anymore.
He's staying on task, most of the time. Certainly about as much as any third grade boy.
Like any third grade boy.
[I had to take a break for a minute after typing that so I could cry for a bit. You'll never know what it feels like for me to have typed that.]
David is not only staying on task most of the time, but he's even redirecting himself if he catches himself off-course. Sometimes with a verbal prompt (like "I need to finish my math") and sometimes by physically removing himself from the distraction. He's doing it all on his own, and there really isn't much for his aide to do in that regard anymore. It's time for her to start scaling back, dwindling down her time with him so that she can go and assist other kids who need her help.
Because mine doesn't so much anymore.
And the day I was dreading is like a beacon of bright, bright light and I am dancing in the rays.