I know...sooo professional!
Today's IEP was scary for me because it was the first one since she entered the elementary school. With real report cards and typical classrooms and all kinds of areas where Ruby needs help. The year has not been going perfectly, and that definitely caused me some anxiety when it comes to what her team might suggest for placement going forward. She started the year in the inclusion class (typical kids, about 4 of them have IEPs), with only one segment of pull-out services (this is considered a big win for a child with Down syndrome in our county). One of my many fears was that they would suggest that she be pulled out more often, or (even scarier for me at this time), that she be in a different classroom altogether. For the last month I have been meeting with friends who have gone before me, acquaintances online who are in the know, peers who have insight, therapists who know Ruby - all in preparation for this meeting. I've been over and through everything from what we think her placement should be for her to be successful, to what is legally required, to what is actually realistic, and everything in between. I've said it before: it feels like I'm cramming for a semester exam, but I'm not sure of the specific class I'll be tested on. When I went into this meeting today, I wasn't sure what they planned to recommend for Ruby, which means I didn't know what kind of defense, or offense, I needed to pull out.
So, the battle is not over. There is much hard work still ahead, for Ruby, for the team and teachers, and for us, but there will be some new supports in place that should help her achieve more success. But more importantly - no, MOST importantly - today gave us a glimpse of at least two 'new' people that see Ruby. Truly see her, and are in her corner. That is what I want. That is what we have with some of our therapists, that is what we had with her Pre-K teacher(s), that is what makes all of the difference, in my opinion. People in her corner give us hope. People in her corner see her potential and work harder to help her achieve it. People in her corner are God's way of giving me renewed strength in my advocacy for Ruby. So as far as I'm concerned, today was a rainbow!