Monday, June 02, 2008

Our First KISD ARD

Being married to a school administrator, I have heard the word ARD a lot. It is a meeting to assess a special needs student in terms of progress, etc.. It stands for Admission, Review and Dismissal. It is funny how we found ourselves "on the other side of the table" at this morning's meeting and it was a whole new ballgame.
It is sort of strange to sit in a room of eight people and discuss your child in a formal meeting. These people have spent a lot of time and energy reviewing Benjamin and assessing him. It was quite a process. I am so thankful to those of you who steered us in the school direction, because we will be utilizing their services starting in August. More on that in a bit.
First of all, it was a little bit of a different outcome than we expected. For one thing, Benjamin is now officially classified in KISD on the Autistic level-- a word we hadn't prepared ourselves to hear. One of the ladies used the word autistic child several times and for a moment, I felt myself almost tear up. But I stopped her to ask for a little clarification before I became a blubbering mess in the middle of this meeting.
An Autistic child scores between 85-115 on the scale they use to rate them, Benjamin is at an 85. Which is good. This means he is extremely high-functioning in terms of the label Autism. On the Asperger's scale (same thing 85-115), he is at a 97. This was what we truly expected to hear. But, since Asperger's is a form of Autism, he is classified as Autistic. A little over-whelming? Yes. But, we were also given some good news that this diagnosis is still "fluid" and at his age and the early intervention, in a couple of years his numbers on these two scales can decrease-- even significantly.
We will be receiving in-home therapy for him from the school twice a week starting in the fall. Someone will actually be coming to us-- very cool! I was so happy to hear this. Benjamin is already enrolled in the Christian Preschool at our church for the next year. I was a little worried that we were going to have to take him out of that and send him (gasp!) to elementary school two years early for a few days a week to receive services there. I wasn't exactly ready to send him on his way to real school, yet. We also do two therapy sessions at Camp Hope every week, which we start Thursday (hooray, love CH)! So, we are well into this whole world of Asperger's and finding out what we can do as parents to help our little boy thrive. Ironically, two of the KISD women in our ARD both have children with severe Autism and they were sooooo helpful. They made us feel good when they said they would rather be in our shoes (with Asperger's) anyday. One of them has also advised us to join the local support group for Autism. We will also be going to an Autism workshop at the end of June that the school highly recommended for us to take part in, too.
I know this journey is just beginning. Right now, we are still trying to wrap our minds around the situation. But, I feel so happy to have an entire plan in place for the next year on how to begin to help Benjamin learn some amazing things. I know God has been with us every step of the way. At first, we struggled to deal with our insurance, but that too had a silver lining in the brand new Camp Hope facility. Then we wondered about a diagnosis and KISD was there to help.
Thanks again for your prayers and support. We continue to be blessed by them.


Becky said...


Lovin' your new look!! I like the colors and tab labels on the side...CUTE...CUTE!!!!
So happy to hear all went well with the ARD and that your first experience with the process was a good one. It certainly sounds like there are some wonderful resources there, who are willing to help in EVERY way possible. God is certainly watching out for you all...Benjamin is a sweetie...God has special plans for all of his most precious little ones :) May our sweet Lord continue to be glorified through his life!

Rebecca said...

I am so glad to hear that Benjamin is going to get what he needs. That is awesome that they are going to come to your house too, very convenient :)

Amanda said...

Kristi - I posted a comment in response to this yesterday and now I see it isn't there! Anyway, I just said it sounds like yesterday was quite an emotional day for you guys. You are such great parents to Benjamin and I'm so glad he's going to be routinely getting the therapy and services he needs. Our prayers continue to be with you guys through this journey. You are such a special family to us!

MelissaT said...

You must be so relieved to actually have a plan! How wonderful that there are so many resources to help Benjamin. We'll keep praying for all of you!

Happy Mama said...

SO SO SO happy to hear all your good news! It just reminds me that God has such specific plans for us and He gets us just where we need to be. Your move there was God placing Benjamin in just the right hands. Plus, you get valet treatment right at home! So very Kristi! :) Praise God in advance for the progress Benjamin will make and for every door being opened at just the right time. Love you!

Monica said...

So glad you have gotten set up with great resources. I hope things continue to go well. You are doing a great job. Reading your plan for the fall it sounded like my nephew a few years ago. Glad you have all those programs there too!