Saturday, April 18, 2009

IEP meeting

At the IEP meeting were: 2 principals, the director of special ed, the assistant director of special ed, the school nurse, Nea’s classroom teacher , her speech therapist, the modified instructional kindergarten teacher, a regular kindergarten teacher, and us. Absent were the school social worker and her occupational therapist. Pretty amazing, really. 11 adults sitting around trying to figure out a good placement for one child. On a Friday, starting at 2 pm, during the school musical.

So, first we discussed the evaluations. Then we wrote the goals for next year, and then we figured out where she would best be served to reach those goals. The goals they first presented were pathetic. “Will be able to write 20 out of 26 letters independently.” I mean, she’s supposed to eventually catch up to her peers at this rate? I watched her at school this week, and she wrote her name. I was amazed! She did it just as well as any kid in her private preschool, where she is in with the “entering kindergarten in 2010” crowd. She’s also trying out a red PRC Springboard, which she loves. She had her phone number on a piece of paper, and she typed it into her talker and pressed the bar, and it said her phone number. So, she could answer the teacher just like all the other kids when it was her turn to speak.

Anyway. Our concerns are that she is bright, but will probably have learning disabilities that keep her from moving forward quickly, even as her speech slowly improves. I want her to be challenged academically, but not overwhelmed. I expect that someday she will be fully mainstreamed, possibly without any special services (reading, math). This means that the problem with continuing in Early Childhood and private preschool next year won't move her forward academically enough.

So, we did not come to a decision yet as to her final placement. We meet again in two weeks. Right now, this is our tentative plan.
  • She will attend the modified instructional program at our home school. This is a self-contained K, 1, 2 (combined grades) class.
  • After 30 days, we will review the placement to see whether it seems to be a good fit.
    She will have lunch, art, music, PE with the regular class IF we decide that’s what works best for her.
  • We have the option to bus her to Early Childhood in the afternoons, if we feel she would fit in socially better with the younger kids. Or she can stay all day in the modified program. Or hang out with the regular class. Or she can go home.
  • At the end of the year, we will meet again to decide whether she will repeat Kindergarten (hopefully spending more time with the regular class, with better academic skills) or move forward to first grade.

A big big shout-out to my Core Four, my friends that listened and listened and then (get this!) called me so they could listen some more. You are all that has been standing between me and total insanity. I treasure your friendship and hope to repay you someday.

And a big thank you to Sharon, the parent liaison at Easter Seals, who was pivotal in helping me arm myself with the knowledge I needed to open up more choices for Nea’s future.


arlopop said...

hang in there B, your blazing a trail we will no doubt follow. Thanks. I dread the the same meetings we will certainly experience.

Laura said...

We will miss Nea in preschool :( It sounds like there are many services in this new game plan, so I guess you won't need my hired goons after all ;)

Bluestem said...

Arlopop, I sincerely hope not. By the age of kindergarten, it could all be a distant memory. Other favorite IEP moment -- when the spec ed director brightly said, "Remember, special services are legally due her until the day before she turns 22!" Yeah, great. We're hoping to be in the system a much shorter span, but thanks for the depressing long view.

Laura, one can never have too many hired goons on retainer. I can't believe our 4 years at the preschool will be over in a month. I'm sure I'll be a big honking-in-a-tissue mess on the last day. Wah! I can't even think about it.

Laura said...

If you ever miss the Co-op that much feel free to take one of my helper days next year :) I will have 2 there--ahhhhh!