Thursday, March 29, 2007

Robert Update

After spending a lot of time over the last few months talking to people, asking questions, etc., it seems to me as though things in the Montgomery County school system are starting to shift for the better for Robert. His special education teacher and aide have been great this year. They're really focused on helping him learn. Having an academic designation has loosened up resources for him. We finally have the eye gaze communication system in the schools for him, and although his progress on it is incremental right now, he is learning the skills to use it, and he is making progress.

I was also heartened to know that one of the people in charge of special education is someone they've hired away from Howard County, which is light years ahead of Montgomery right now in terms of inclusion and special ed. He'll be at our IEP meeting tomorrow. They've even changed the IEP form so it's easier to understand and read and has better information on it, including a list of services available to children with disabilities. In the past, you got what they offered, you apparently had no right to know what your child might be entitled to, or what was available.

The IEP is now starting to go digital, too. It's available in electronic document format and will start to move that way within the school system.

I paid some more attention to some of the budget issues this year, and learned that Jerry Weast is actually pro-inclusion, something I didn't understand before. That's not really my fault. The school superintendent and the school board have not been good at all about communicating with their constituents. It's been a huge weakness. But it might help Dr. Weast if he actually thought about trying to consensus build and look for friends, rather than just assume that everyone was against him to begin with. We're pro-inclusion. There are some, though, who aren't sure if Dr. Weast really understands inclusion, but we'll see.

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for a good IEP meeting tomorrow for us.

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