Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Shootout at OK Corral

I have to tell you, dear ones, that I have never stalked into a meeting so ready to fight, and then...I found that I didn't need to.

Niko's IEP meeting was on a ridiculously tight schedule.  We had about an hour to complete the entire thing, so I basically walked in and said, "We feel that this isn't the right placement for Niko.  Although wary about the autism placement, it's preferable to here.  We'll reassess again at the end of the school year.  Enough of that.  Let's talk about the abuse allegations that I'm hearing about."

Their jaws dropped.  DROPPED.  They were absolutely horrified.  We looked at their faces and realized that they genuinely didn't have anything to do with it.  I shared the information that I had, told them who I was warned about, and demanded that the earlier abuse allegations be documented and put into his folder immediately.  They did so while we watched.  And then there was smiling.  They held sweet Lil' Lil.  We talked about how amazing Niko's speech is coming along, and how best to control his extreme anxiety, and how much he wants to please us.  We discussed his mind-boggling aggressive behavior at school (kicking, hitting, singling out victims) and how that behavior was nonexistent at home.  When they gave him his own floater aid, the violence dropped to nearly nothing.  He had 17 kids in his class, and it was too much.

The autistic placement turned out to be a godsend.  It wasn't right for him before, and we made the best choice at the time, but right now he is thriving.  It's delightful to receive notes from his teacher saying, "Did you know that he knows his colors?"  She constantly tells me how well he responds to ABA therapy.  She uses words like "delighted" and "amazed" and "impressed".  There was a bus snafu (okay, so there were many) and his teacher swooped in, fiercely protective of him, even though he has only been in her class for a few weeks.  She's truly playing for Team Niko.

He's happy.  He comes home humming new songs that I'm not familiar with.  He asks to go to New School.  He's himself again.

I couldn't be more pleased.