So, it’s December. I am always amazed when December arrives and it feels like school just started. Time certainly flies, doesn’t it?
In any event, if your family is anything like mine, your special education child is starting to settle into his or her school routines. In our family’s case, our middle son’s first few months of school this year have been dicey. He had a little honeymoon period for the first month or so and then started to rebel against his newfound status as a middle schooler. Honestly, I believe that his rebellion was a bit more complex than that, but suffice it to say that October and much of November were challenging for him, for the good folks working with him at school, and for us. Fortunately, however, he turned the corner last week. The school has done some things to improve the environment for him, and he seems to have settled into his new-and-very-different-from-elementary-school routine.
If your child has had similar challenges this year, let me say how sorry I am. I know how truly discouraging and frustrating it can be when you continually get bad reports home from school or when your child is miserable. If you feel like there are ongoing problems at school that need to be addressed, however, let me encourage you to address those issues with the school before the holiday break. I know how tempting it is to try and ride out these last few weeks and to hope for miraculous changes when school resumes in January. But if things aren’t right at school, or if your child isn’t being adequately supported, you should ask for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting before the break so that these concerns can be addressed. The team may not have the time to put measures into place to resolve the issues before the break, but they will be on notice that the problems exist and hopefully will be proactive after the break about addressing them. You might need to follow up with an email and school visits in January to make sure things are being resolved, or you may need to have another IEP meeting early in the new year. The point, though, is to be proactive, and to share your concerns now so that your child has the best chance of being successful in school in 2013.