Janet Kinstetter- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Moorcroft
The start of a new school year for a typical child can be stressful but for the parent of a child with a disability it can be a challenging time and often very stressful. More than likely you have had your annual IEP meeting in May to discuss the next new school year. You have discussed strategies to use to make transition easier for your child. You have prepared all you can for the upcoming school year.
The first nine weeks are now over. How is your child doing? You eagerly await your child’s progress report that you should receive as regularly as parents of children without disabilities.
You receive your child’s report, either through mail or at a P/T meeting. The report says that your child is making progress toward achieving the annual goals contained in the IEP. This is great news. You visit with the teacher generally about your child. Does the teacher have any questions about how to work with your child? Does the teacher have any concerns?
If you go in and find your child is not making adequate progress the IEP team may need to meet and reevaluate the appropriateness of one or more of the annual goals. The IEP must be revised to address any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals. There must be an IEP team meeting for any change to be made to the IEP (unless parent and school agree otherwise). The school would send you a notice of the IEP meeting. You would receive a Prior Written Notice of Proposed Action to be taken in regards to the IEP.
If you still have concerns regarding your child’s progress and changes have been made to the IEP give the IEP time to work. Be in communication with the teachers on how you can help the IEP be successful for your child!
Natalie Pique- PEN Outreach Liaison Casper Area
Our family is always sad to see summer go, but we always look forward to fall in Wyoming. We have several “fall” traditions that make this time of the year fun for everyone in our family. As we live in a 60 year old neighborhood with very mature trees, there are always plenty of leaves to make piles to jump in. With 11 kids on our block, there is always fun to be found by simply gathering the leaves in big piles and taking turns jumping in! Another fall activity that we always make the time to do is to take the short trip up to Casper Mountain to see all the beautiful leaves and their brilliant fall colors. The best place to see the leaves is to take a hike around the falls or Beartrap Meadows. My kids always seem to have a “Fall Leaves” project at school, and they get their best collection from these trips to the mountain.
Our very favorite activity in the fall is a tradition that we started when we moved to Casper from Colorado 10 years ago. When we first moved here, we didn’t know many of our neighbors, so we planned a “Soup before Trick-or-Treating” dinner at our home. We had 4 crock-pots full of various kinds of soup and invited all of the neighbors on our block over for a warm-up before going out to Trick-or-Treat. This was a big hit for kids and parents alike: The kids all got to show off their costumes, the parents got to visit with neighbors while knowing their kids had something in their stomachs other than mini Hershey Bars & candy. This tradition has grown to include friends, family, and new neighbors throughout the years, and it is something our family will treasure forever. Happy Fall!
Natalie Pique- Casper Area PEN Outreach Parent Liaison
My ten year old son came home from school last Friday and said, “Mom, my friend Paisley is SO lucky! She is going to the Superbowl with her dad and his new wife!” I told him that she was very lucky indeed, and right out of nowhere, he asked if his dad & I ever got divorced, would either one of us marry someone else. This sparked a discussion about divorce, remarriage, and step-families. He commented that most of his friends have step-parents & siblings and that he had very few friends that have their “original” parents. I explained that families look different all over the world, and there is not a right or wrong way to have a family.
Growing up, our family experienced several divorces over the course of 18 years, which meant that I had several step-parents and step sisters. Although at times it was difficult, I learned to love all of those people and considered them my family. The one constant in my life was going to my dad’s house every weekend, which sparked my life-long love for sports (hockey & football especially!). When I was 13, he remarried and moved out of state and I dearly missed those weekends.
My husband & I have been married for 21 years, and our boy’s have never known any different than what they have experienced a “family” to be. I have talked before about my step parents & step sisters with them, but I hope that this discussion about different kinds of families made my son realize that all families are not the same, and that’s okay! Whether it is a single parent, grandparent, foster or step family, it is still a family…and that is what counts!
Juanita Bybee- PHP Office Manager
I moved in with my mom after my father died a little over a year ago. In no way, shape or form did I expect to be living with or taking care of my mother (I use the term loosely because I will always be my mothers’ child and she will always think that she is in charge). I could have not predicted that I would be living with a parent. Change is unexpected and sometimes feared but none the less it happens to each and every one of us. How do you deal with change? Do you accept that things will change? Are you in denial that things will change? Are you in scared that things will change?
Looking back at my life, I think that life has just happened to me. I have been on cruise control, upset about things that happened in the past, angry at people that I felt have wronged me somehow. I have not thought about my present because I have always been looking back. Holding on to… I wish I would have done this different or I wish I didn’t do that, always looking back. I am missing my present because my eyes and thoughts are thinking about the past.
My father is gone now and I will no longer be able to ask him questions about his childhood or stories about him misbehaving as a teenager. I am here with my mother now. I need to be present in the moment and savor every gem of knowledge, story, recipe that she has to share.
Since my mom fell and broke her leg in two places, life once again has changed. It seems that I am to be more present than even before. Sometimes circumstances force you to do things that in the long run are a blessing in disguise. Now I have the time to spend with my mom that forces us to talk about things. Time spent doing mundane tasks bring up memories from the past that I never would have learned from my mom if circumstances were different. I guess that I never really knew my parents as anything other than my parents. My mom enjoyed roller-skating as a child, just as I did. She enjoyed dancing as well, just as I do. She worried about her kids and how they would turn out. I guess I never really took the time to get to know my parents as people. With the circumstances that I have been placed in, I really have seen my mom in a new light. If change didn’t take place, I guess I never would have been able to see my mom in a different role. Looking back, I know that I will not regret the time that I got to spend with my mom getting to know her as a person. I know now that she went through some of the same struggles and triumphs that I am working through being a parent myself. Change really can be a good thing.