Sunday, December 5, 2010

Individualized Education Plans

“Emily Dickinson wrote that “Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.” And so too youth is also counted sweetest by those who are no longer young. Nostalgia is inevitably a yearning for a past that never existed. And when I’m writing there are no bees to sting me out of my sentimentality. For me at least, fiction is the only way I can even begin to twist my lying memories into something true.” - John Green

I started reading Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine today. It's about a 10 year-old girl with Asperger's syndrome trying to deal with her brother's recent death. It's amazing so far. Go read it.

I haven't been diagnosed with any sort of "condition," but I found pieces of myself within Caitlin. This got me to thinking, of course.
Most of them (like autism) have many different levels. With some people, you can scarcely tell, whereas with others its blindingly obvious.
So where exactly is the line that divides diagnosis with "normal"? What if we all have everything, and its just that most of us have such low levels with most of them that no one bothers to define it?
Yet if we all have these difficulties, shouldn't we all get some sort of treatment for it, even if its just monthly talks with a counselor about random stuff? I don't even want to use the word "treatment." It's too strong.
Reading this book, I wish I'd had "Mrs. Brooks time" (her counselor) every now and then when I was in elementary school. I don't think I needed it-- far from it-- but no one ever talked to me about myself in such objective terms. I got my IQ tested in 1st grade, but no one ever discussed the results with me. That might have been a good decision, but I'd rather that I had been more involved. 
I had AG status, but the program, to be frank, sucked.
All students supposedly have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), but I've seen nothing of the kind in regards to me or the majority of my classmates. We don't "need" interventions-- so? It would be useful. It would help each individual to grow more, academically and as people.
Talk to kids about themselves in grown-up terms. I think it would be good in most cases, some of the time. Of course, this won't apply to every kid or every situation, but still. We may be young, but we can still, as Caitlin would say, "Get It."

I also find the concept of having a psychologist interesting--just not enough to actually start seeing one. How to explain that? 
Psychologist: "So Olivia, why did you want to come see me? Have you lost a loved one recently?"
Me: "No, I just find the relationship between a psychologist and his or her patient fascinating and wanted to experience it first-hand."

If I suddenly get ridiculously rich...

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