All we needed was a principal and a teacher. Argh - I tell you, I think I showed remarkable self-restraint. An hour+ drive one way in morning traffic and they can't even have the right people there. And they wonder why I'm crabby. Anyway, lots of time for thought on the Dan Ryan this morning. I looked back over almost 20 years of various plans with my 2 oldest. We started out with Boo's IFSP when he was 3 months old. Thought about where I goofed, what I could have done better, what I should have done differently, and what I did right. The best thing I ever did was attend a training on sped law back in '92 or '93, though thank you was still a easy child and when the trainer offered to cover kids with behavior problems, all the parents in the training said "Oh, we don't need that". LOL - just goes to show karma can be real funny sometimes. If you have a kid who you think is going to need Special Education services at any point, find a parent training group and take the training on IDEA. It really is the best thing I ever did for my boys. There are maybe a very few things I could have done differently with thank you's IEPs but I don't think it would have made a difference in the long run. I allowed school district to go through a "step-wise" progression of lesser restrictive placements rather than insisting they go straight to therapeutic school - well, actually I did insist but was told about this step-wise junk. It was junk and we wasted 6 months going through the steps. I also should have fought harder when they started in 3rd grade grading him on the work he did rather than the work he should have been doing. Yes, on paper that year looks great - mostly A's in the therapeutic school. What his grades don't reflect was that he did at most 10% of the assigned work. I did ask that they hold him back that year. It was refused because he's so doggone bright. Not sure it would have made a difference - but my gut says now that I should have fought that one harder. Therapeutic schools, both in and out of Residential Treatment Center (RTC), in our experience have been near-worthless in terms of academics. The vast majority of the school day was spent containing the more out-of-control kids (aka thank you). I cannot fault the staff - how can anyone teach when there's a kid crawling around on the ground, making animal noises, provoking peers, or tossing furniture? It simply cannot be done. When the opportunity was there to present work, thank you has *never* done it and no one can make him. I think one thing I definitely should have done much sooner was start to recognize the gaping sinkhole between what he's capable of doing and what he will do. I should have really hunkered down at the beginning of his HS years and insisted that the academics be ditched. He can come up with a million and one reasons why he won't/shouldn't have to do the work. I fought that for too long. I should've moved on to a straight voc. ed. program, period. (Of course, no guarantee he'll do anything in that either.) So... case manager had pre-written IEP goals from teacher (yeah, I know, that's a no-no). school district rep and I threw a monkey wrench in there real fast. No more academics. Straight voc. ed./lifeskills. GET HIM A JOB already. Job coach was there and said he met with thank you at least weekly in May, he had filled out an app and was set up for an interview at a local grocery store, but then he bagged the interview (knew he wouldn't pass the pee test) and job coach hasn't seen him since. I told him that I know it goes against TLP philosophy of having the clients "self-direct" but someone needs to stay on top of him. His response was unexpected, honest, and I think the first time *anyone* at the TLP has shown that they might have a clue. He told me that sometimes people have to hit rock bottom before they start helping themselves, and that it can get very ugly. And the choir started singing!!! Here I thought they were all complete idiots. I get what he's saying but I did tell him that as thank you's mom, I'd really like every effort to be made to get him a job, get him an apt, get him a life before he starts that fall. I may be delirious or overly hopeful, but I pray that if he sees that independent responsible life is actually pretty cool then maybe we won't have to go to the dark places. I think job coach heard me but I also think they will not force the issue. I guess I'm resigned. They will get him the information to sign up for GED classes at local community college. thank you will have to make the call. It will not happen. Given the fact that we woke him up in class to attend IEP meeting, which he mostly slept through, and his response to every question we woke him for was "I don't care", I'm pretty sure come May (or sooner) he'll be a homeless dropout. I hope not but .... he adamantly refuses to do a thing to help himself. We are still going to have to have the official IEP mtg but we're going to do it via conference call. school district rep and I both agreed that we're not schlepping back up to the city for a maybe IEP mtg. I love this man. He replaced the sped dir witch from Hades, who I still have not very nice thoughts about. This guy has been the *most* cooperative school district person I've ever worked with and he actually seems to care about the kids. He's unfortunately retiring in the spring. So, one conference call and my days of thank you's IEPs are over. I finally extricated Boo out of the so-called Special Education co-op this fall (if I got one more worksheet indicating my almost 20-year-old son was learning the seasons of the year, I was going to stroke out - we live in Chicago - he gets "seasons" already!!!) and he's in an adult program through UCP so the IEPs for the next 2 years on him will be virtually identical to what he has now - voc. ed/lifeskills. I just pray that the next sped dir will be more like Mr. Wonderful and not like Mrs. Hades. Just a little reflection and thought this afternoon. I'm not happy with how I anticipate things are going to go with thank you but I'm surprisingly not beating myself up a whole lot for making mistakes. I did the best I could and the things I could've done differently would not have made a significant difference in where we are now.