Thursday, March 11, 2010

What a Great Couple of Days

Oh my God, you guys, I have had an incredible couple of days. I have many good and exciting things to tell you.

First of all, I met with part of Jack's team at school for our pre-IEP/goal creating meeting yesterday. It was phenomenal. I walked out of that place feeling high. I was all prepared to argue why I thought Jack needs a peer buddy system, a la MOM-NOS. I walked in with my stack of papers and my charts of goals and looked at the papers they had prepared, and right there on top was a peer buddy system.

They looked at my list of goals and took it with them to add to their goals. They looked at my suggestions on the goals they'd already written and happily added in all my suggestions. The speech therapist and school counselor had just been to an autism seminar the day before and were all excited to help Jack.

When I handed them the My Friend With Autism coloring book I'd photocopied with a suggestion to give it to his classmates, their only question was, "Can we really keep this?" When I suggested that we have some peer education about autism for the other first graders, their only question was, "Would you like us to do it when Jack is there or when he's out of the room?" When I expressed my concern about Jack not knowing any of the other kids' names and being isolated in his classroom, they gave me their ideas to piggyback on my suggestions.

Even though many of my goal suggestions were social, not once did any of them say, "But what does this have to do with his academic success?" They never once suggested that because he is above grade level that he doesn't need the support he gets. They asked me if I wanted him in ESY (extended school year, special ed style) and agreed when I said I did.

It was incredible. Jack and I are lucky people to have this team. They really seem to care about him, from his aides all the way up to the principal who saw me in the hall and called me into his office because, "I haven't seen you for a while and I wanted to know how things are going."

Do I sound excited? I am. It was an amazing hour.

Then, as if that weren't enough, today I attended the first day of a three-day conference I'm attending called Diamonds in the Rough about "smart kids who learn differently."

Today was just the pre-conference, so I attended two three-hour sessions. They were both fantastic, but the first one completely blew my mind. Jonathan Mooney spoke about neurodiversity to a small group of about 30 people. I honestly can't remember the last time someone inspired me so much. And not in a gooey, faithy type of way, but in a hope, hope, HOPE! type of way.

I go to a fair number of these autism/special education events and, I gotta tell you, I often leave them feeling bummed out. The system is broken, or at least badly damaged, and while it is vital to learn that, it is depressing.

I left Mooney's lecture in happy tears. Yeah, I'm the idiot who burst out in tears after Mooney's rousing closing words, which included these three very important words for us to impart to our children: "YOU'RE NOT BROKEN."

I may or may not have told the lady next to me (through sobby tears, mind you), "I have a six-year-old with autism and he's perfect!"

I am such a dipshit.

I have a tremendous number of things rolling around in my head that I want to write about concerning that lecture, as well as the rest of the conference, past and yet-to-come. I'll probably end up writing about it over at Autism Unexpected, but will try to remember to link to it from here.

I know this is kind of a brain dump post, but there is just so much Happy and Hope and Good in my brain right now that I wanted to share it with you. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll soon be full of ennui again and be able to blog about ridiculous things that tiny animals do.

23 comments:

  1. I am like a sponge soaking up every ounce of your giddy, goofy,joyful energy tonight. It all sounds pretty freaking awesome and that's gotta be good, right!? :-)

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  2. This is awesome! What great news!

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  3. You sound so encouraged and hopeful and it's all such positive news!! I'm virtually dumping a concentration of green sugar on top of your head in celebration!

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  4. Wonderful, wonderful, hopeful! That talk sounds amazing!

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  5. So glad, so glad!! And I'm hoping some of your sunshine makes its way up north...I could use definitely use some!!

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  6. We SO have to have a beer together. Seriously. My first pre-IEP meeting is tomorrow, and I am SO not looking forward to it.

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  7. Our IEP (part II, after part I didn't even get close to addressing the issues) is tomorrow. You have no idea how badly I needed this pep talk...even if you weren't trying to pep me!

    He is not broken. He is not broken.

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  8. The first line made me laugh. LOve, love, love that you have such an amazing team for your boy. OH, and I have those "dipshit" moments quite often.

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  9. This post made me grin so hard my face is getting sore. So much good news! I'm so happy for you - and for Jack!

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  10. Now I'm in tears. So happy for you, for Jack, for everything. Just great.

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  11. Yea! I am doing the happy dance for you here! I am so bummed that I couldn't go to the conference with you (or the thing last night, I forgot that I had to go to something from my work). I would love to hear all about it when you are done.

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  12. Wow! So happy the good is still out there! :) My moment like this was listening to Kathie Snow at a Partners in Policymaking conference in 2006. I was the sobbing fool at the end of her session, snot coming out of my ears and everything. :P I encourage everyone to look into Partners if your state has one! http://miscthing.blogspot.com/2006/09/partners-in-policymaking.html

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  13. Maybe I should move up to MD (we live in NOVA but husband works in Montgomery cty) and get in your son's school. It sounds amazing!! I feel like my son's "issues" are constantly downplayed. Your happiness is infectious.

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  14. Yay! This post made me smile for you and your perfect boy :)

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  15. So good to hear that things are looking up!

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  16. Hooray! (BTW- You. Are. Not. A. Dipshit!)

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  17. I love this post, but I really have to join the chorus shouting at you.

    You? NOT. A. DIPSHIT.

    Not even a little squirt.

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  18. happy hope and good is good. really.

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  19. This weblog is being featured on Five Star Friday! http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2010/03/five-star-fridays-edition-94.html

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  20. I'm in a much better mood after reading this post - what an awesome experience for you, and I'm so glad Jack's got such a great group working with him!

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  21. Can I use your address to get my kids in your school? (Don't reply on the internet so we don't get caught, ok?)

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  22. I'm late to the party, but yay!! I'm so excited for you and Jack. What a wonderful team. Hope you're still riding high!

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