The annual IEP review went pretty much as I expected it would: all the teachers think Ryan is adorable and they love to hug him; he can read 20 sight words and can tell you that 10 is greater than 4; and he's not ready for mainstreaming; see you in summer school. One of the only surprises was that I managed not to cry.
I mentioned my concern about the regression we've seen over the past few weeks - loss of language use in contexts in which he used to use words; acts of civil disobedience that would make Martin Luther King blush - and after much discussion, we decided Ryan is probably acting out because he misses his sessions with Chrissy, his beloved at-home teacher (SEIT). Chrissy used to come over and play several times a week, then once a week, but then her work schedule picked up and their playdates became limited to once a month or so.
I had been avoiding finding another SEIT because Ryan has such a wonderful relationship with Chrissy, but now it seems unavoidable, because he really needs the extra help. Last night I finally broke down and asked Chrissy for recommendations of SEITs with more open schedules. Even asking for this feels like a betrayal of the relationship - 1,000 times worse than cheating on your hairdresser - but I'm sure Ryan will be able to bond with another special teacher.
The only other surprise from the IEP meeting concerned Ryan's placement for next year. I asked if he would be placed in first grade or if he would be repeating kindergarten, and in an exciting twist, he will be doing neither. Students in first grade are expected to take standardized tests. As Ryan will be incapable of taking these tests, and will instead require "alternate assessment," he will be considered "non-graded." So he'll just go to School. For convenience I'll probably tell people he's in kindergarten, but that won't really be true.
And that's fine. That's appropriate for him.
That's so far from mainstreaming, I'm kind of shocked I haven't cried about it yet.