Thursday, March 12, 2009

The ARD: A Real Downer

Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee Meetings, aka ARD Meetings, are critical events for parents of children with special needs. During these meetings, parents meet with key representatives of their child's school, such as the teacher, special education administrator, speech pathologist, vice principal and principal, to discuss the child's Individual Education Plan or IEP.

I've been attending ARD meetings for nearly three years and I have to admit, I can't stand them. It has nothing to do with the participants. The people from Robbie's school and the school district are top notch. It's the meetings themselves - the fact we have to have them at all. Each time I want to run from the conference room screaming.

Today's ARD was the hardest thus far - only because I've blocked out all memory of the others. The good news is that Robbie is smart - scary smart. Everyone in attendance was unanimous about this. Last year, this was a concern; a concern I'm quite glad to be relieved of. However, he's having a hard time taking direction (translation - he won't do any work). The solution is to have him change classrooms for the rest of the year. It's a good suggestion. I don't love it but I think it's the right thing to do. After hearing the enumeration of things he won't do (reinforced by the absence of anything to see at the school's open house later that evening), it's clear our planned focus on improving his social skills has escalated to an immediate priority.

Autism World is relentless. Days like today make me want to crawl back in to bed, pull the sheets over my head, and make the whole thing go away.

Oh, wait. That's what I did the first year and a half after hearing Robbie might be autistic.


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