Wednesday, January 25, 2017


The world of special education is rampant with acronyms.  
An ARD meeting is a special education meeting that happens once a year.  Parents, teachers, the principal and special educators are present.  ARD stands for Annual Review and Dismissal. 
IEP is an Individual Education Plan and is discussed at the ARD.
BIP is a Behavior Intervention Plan and is also discussed at the ARD.
On with our story...

B's ARD meeting was last week.  This is our 7th ARD, one a year plus an extra that we had to have to put a BIP in place during a particularly rough spring.

I'm that weird parent that looks forward to B's ARDs.  The meeting usually starts with his strengths.  Then we talk about the goals we put into place last year.  B has made some tremendous progress this year so that part was very satisfying.  We set new goals and objectives for the coming year as well.  This year we had to talk about testing accommodations that B will need next school year when he has to start taking our state's standardized test.  I'm not going to lie, I did gasp when we got to the testing part.  I'm really not mentally prepared for B to take standardized tests on the regular.

Out of the 7 ARDs, I'd categorize only 1 as contentious.  During that rough spring, his teacher shook some papers at me that B wouldn't write on even though she knew he knew the answers.  The same teacher said that B's love of the word NO was causing the other kids to tell her NO as well.  You can imagine how that went over.  To be blunt, why should he have to write something if you know he knows the answer and other kids' behaviors are not my problem.   I know this puts us in a rarified air.  Lots of parents have to fight tooth and nail to get their kids what they need.  We don't have this problem.  And yes, I realize what a blessing it is.

Generally, our ARDs are a love fest.  B is a lovable kid and the people at school love him. He loves them and they love him.  They work hard with and for him.  We are all working towards a common goal: for B to flourish at school.

Our major goal for B this coming year is self advocacy.  This simply means that we'll be working on skills that will allow B to say when he's overwhelmed and when he needs help.  The fact that we can even THINK about this goal is such a blessing and testament to how far B's come.  I think about the days I spent carrying a huge backpack full of stuff to offer him because he couldn't tell me what he wanted.  He would cry and scream and I would pull stuff out of the backpack until he stopped.  I even had extra stuff I knew he didn't like to give other kids to leave him alone.  The idea that he's going to be learning how to tell people what he wants is so exciting!

This year did feature a major milestone - I didn't cry! I got a little choked up but I kept it in check. And they definitely would have been happy tears.

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