We had Julia’s last IEP meeting yesterday. She will leave the school system in January when she turns 22. The participants included transition specialists from DDS and MRC, both agencies will loom large in Julia’s future. Her inclusion facilitator conducted the meeting. Two aides, the speech therapist, Julia’s out of school therapist were also there.
Julia presented a power point about where she is and where she wants to go. She has done this for a few years and this one was the best. She likes working at the library, she wants to work more, she wants to live with room mates, she wants to take care of her nephew who is not yet born. She has gotten better at cooking and she is interested in making money. I am leaving a few things out that I’ve forgotten. Each slide was pretty appropriately illustrated with anime pictures that she copied.
We set two goals. One to work even more aggressively on anxious behavior and giving Julia more tools to deal with her feelings and the resultant behaviors. (I have a new idea.) And the other, for her to build more skills that can relate to work. She usually has four to five goals, but these two encompass the world!
Reminding me of: “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” The lawyer asked Jesus. And Jesus came up with two commandments that pretty much said everything and encompassed the world.
The devil is in the details. That means so much more than a cheap cliché, and I imagine Jesus adding it to his definitive two.
The transition person from DDS said she is willing to send a referral to the two day programs that I am most interested in right now. Both are art based. Outside the Lines Studio is an alternative arts-based day program, collectively run by artists, for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Gateway Arts is a studio art center providing individualized arts-based services to adults with disabilities and supporting meaningful lives and careers in art. Neither is a guarantee and one seems to be closed to new referrals at present, but they are possibilities.
Right now, my thinking runs along the lines of Julia having a day program a few days a week and a volunteer position for a few days. And to have it in place as early as December so Julia can truly transition, not just end school on Wednesday and go to some new experience on Thursday.
This is a tall order. Cross fingers and toes. Say prayers, light candles. Invoke patron saints, burn incense to the great mother. Want. Desire. Wish. Or as Jean-Luc would say, “Make it so.”