The Boy - Part Five, or The End of the Beginning
Thank you all so much for sticking through this. I promise, after today we will be up to date. (In case you're new here: One, Two Three, Four.)
First Grade. We made it.
When the year started, I wanted things to start off on the right foot with Ben’s new teacher. I wrote a long letter to Mrs. P, and let her know the issues that we were facing with him. I explained about the ADD diagnoses, and that we were trying our best to treat him without medication. I took the time to sit down with her and talk to her. She is amazing. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. She’s made as many accommodations as possible for him in the classroom. She’s gotten a wiggle cushion for him, allows him to use pencils with grippers and fidgets. She’s even set aside space for him to work quietly or stand, if that helps him focus.
Basically, she gets Ben.
Most days it’s a game - what works for Ben. I mean, let’s face it, there is a huge gray area of what the typical six year-old is going to want to focus on, and what the ADD brain is going to do. Ben lives in that space.
But now it’s November, and time to get serious. We’ve completed the first marking period, and his grades reflect his inability to sit and focus.
So, we have submitted paperwork for his first ever IEP. For those of you who are learning this along with me, an IEP is an Individualized Education Plan, and comes after a range of meetings. We had our final meeting on Friday and we found out what services Ben will be eligible for at school.
Ben will get twice--weekly sessions with the school occupational therapist, to help him address the attention issues and some of the fine-motor challenges. I hope there will be more. He can keep all the accommodations that have been made for him in the classroom. He can have extra time to complete tests if he needs it. They have also requested that a physical therapist evaluate him to see if he needs PT as well.
Lastly, we have a list of things to tackle at home. He has trouble with executive function, and needs to be guided along to learn how to break down tasks and transition from one activity to another.
In all of this I am so grateful for the support that I’ve found. From family offering their love and willingness to learn; to friends sharing their experience; to all of you reading - thank you, from the very bottom of my heart.