Exited: 5-23-11

Exit Meeting: Thirteen in all, most on conference call, gathered to finalize our daughter’s exit from the school system. Four institutions were represented: our district High School, Joel Barlow High, where our daughter spent her freshman year; Riverview School, the special education boarding school that our daughter has attended since the age of 16; Ability Beyond Disability, her future service agency; and DDS (Dept of Developmental Services, CT)

A Rite Of Passage: Our daughter sat through the entire meeting speaking up when asked or when she had something to add. Humorous and pleased, it seemed, to get the compliments. She is well accustomed to this format so the focus on her areas of challenge is nothing new to her. Staff and future staff reviewed the form required by the State of Connecticut, form 635 and the Summary For Issues of Funding form.

No IEP (Individualized Education Program) Here: I think for me the biggest marker of difference from other PPT meetings (Planning and Placement Team) was the absence of the word “goal(s)”. Throughout the thirteen years of our daughter’s special education, that word has been repeated over and over with its multiple descriptions “__ will identify nickels, dimes and quarters, six out of eight trials…___ will write a paragraph with five sentences, a topic and a conclusion…___will read and understand one bus schedule…___has mastered..,___ is making significant progress in meeting this objective/benchmark…and ___will demonstrate…” This has been the lingo of the last thirteen years and now it is over. Will I miss that lingo? Hell no. I was never skilled in following the details of it, nor in counting the number of successful trials to meet the objective. Clueless but always aware of the big picture. And now it is here.

The Players in Her Future: Everything is changing: the cast, the sets, the script, the directors, the crew. Only the leading lady and some of her supporting cast remain the same. And the focus: safety, growing independence, social outlets and skills, vocational training and occupational goals.

Exited With A Game Plan: The good news is that we have a plan, a new crew and a willing star. Thank you, Redding/Joel Barlow/Region 9 School District. Thank you, Riverview/Grow. Thank You, DDS Case Manager. Thank You Daughter, our star.

Merci Beaucoup; Gracias; Toda Raba. Looks Like We Made It. So far. Fingers crossed.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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