Don't forget to Listen.
I know all of us parents worry about those across the table hearing us. But don't forget you can learn a lot about your child by hearing how they interact with others. You can learn if they fight for their own independence. You can learn if they play the victim. You can learn if they have resources that you have been hitherto unaware of. I am sure that all the teachers and therapists think that I wander off topic during meetings, but I have found sharing funny stories on your child at home and listening to funny stories of things that happen at school can be exceedingly revealing. You can learn about your child and, also, by their tones, and the words used, you can comprehend the deeper perspective that the teachers, principals, and therapists have on your child. Plus, it keeps it positive and a little fun...and it can add to the cameraderie among those serving your child.
I found out something interesting about Elise at the last IEP meeting. Not only is she licking all metal surfaces at school as well as at home...we will be pursuing testing for a lack of mineral metals in her system as an explanation for the possible pica. But she has figured out a new system for Activity Support. On her own.
Last year, she decided that she was old enough to get to her class on her own. There were "tails" assigned to her, so she didn't run off to somewhere weird, like another classroom or the kitchens... They did end up having to step in and head her off a couple of times...thereby revealing their presence... This made her very angry, and she would stop the tail and reprimand them with stern "NO"s with a dramatic finger point. That resulted in phone chains. The secretary would call a principal whose office was partway, who would call her classroom teachers...there would be time limits placed on the travel times...and the tagged adult would go looking for her if she failed to show within the time window. Toward the end of the year there was only a phone call between the secretaries and her classroom teachers. She was so proud of her independence.
THIS YEAR, Elise has decided that she has proved her independence, and wants company. She asked the secretaries to walk her down one day, and they told her no, to go ahead and go to class. So, my resourceful little cookie went around the office hall, in the back door, through the office labyrinth, and into the seecretaries island. She confronted them, and pointed at one and said, "You. With me. Come." And that secretary came. Success. And so this is her new MO in the mornings. Each morning, she sneaks in the back way and demands that one of them come with her, with an official police point and finger cock. And they do her bidding. Every morning. And look forward to it.