nterviewing the luminous Laura Shumaker for BlogHer, insisting that true autism awareness lies in one understanding: that behavior is communication, musing on what a Radiolab Autism Awareness Day show would be like, and hanging out on CafeMom all month long as one of their autism experts -- tomorrow's going to be a more hands-on kind of autism day.
It's Leo's annual IEP.
And it will be interesting, going into a meeting where everyone is on Leo's side, in which for the first time ever the staff and I corresponded on and brainstormed goals together. During which the staff and I agreed on several wish list items for Leo, like riding a two-wheeled bike, but also agreed not to include the wish list items in the IEP because then the activities will become a data-driven imperatives and Leo may reject them.
In which many services could be permanently stripped because despite Leo's significant needs (even in our large school district, only a handful of kids have non-public-school placements), California's budget is all f'd up, and word on the educational-email-forums-street is that deep, painful cuts are coming. And Leo's an expensive kid.
I'm looking over his goals right now, and they look good. Helpful. Ready to help Leo make a critical transition, one he seems poised to make: to conceptualize and articulate the abstract. His teacher and Supervisor M, who still consults on his program both at school and at home, both have faith in our boy.
The goals will need some fine-tuning to make them air-tight -- the idea being that if the entire class staff disappeared mysteriously, the replacement staff could pick up the goals, look at their current status, and resume implementing them as intended with nary a hiccup.
My chest is tightening as I write this, stupid nerves. At least Leelo could care less about IEPs or awareness campaigns. He spent the weekend being his own happy self: happy to wake us up in the morning by bounding into our bed for snuggles, happy to go to the opening weekend of the farmer's market with his dad, happy to hike along miles of beach with my cousin and me and Mali, happy to play with his iPad and his trains and all the shampoo bottles he's emptied into his tub, happy to try a bit of bacon (!) if followed by a bite of cinnamon toast, happy to let his little sister show him how to play the apps Quibble and Swapsies, and happy to put his head on my shoulder while he watches Teletubbies or Hamtaro two hours past his bedtime. Happy.
The awareness and goals will make a difference Leo's his future, and I'll never stop working on them -- but I truly appreciate the fact that he's happy. Right now. In this very moment.