March 2, 2007


Many of my friends are shepherding their first borns, now high school juniors and seniors, through the college application process. These parents fully understand the import of such a decision and the huge financial burden they will incur. To a one, they are being driven to distraction by their sons' indecision and inaction.

I can watch neutrally from the sidelines (Jeff and Hart are only in 7th grade), secure in the knowledge that I will never have to go through this. Frankly, for myself, I can envision a more likely scenario of periodic appearances at parole board hearings, than campus visits.

However, at Jeff's annual IEP* meeting last week, the school district official asked what consideration had been given to mainstreaming experience for Jeff next year. I looked stricken. Hart and Jeff have never had any more mainstream experience than an occasional lunch in the cafeteria when they attended public school, and that was not a success. We, all three of us, are quite comfortable in the caring, nurturing milieu of special education, thank you very much.

She must have sensed my surprise. "Next year when we meet, we will be discussing high school for Jeff, and that will be another major transition." Hardly comforting. The wisdom of her words was irrefutable. Time marches on, swiftly and relentlessly, for both the college-bound and the vocational candidate alike. We may not be making the traditional post-high school plans, but we do have to make PLANS.

* Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities.

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