Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sam's annual IEP

They started with the OT, and when she said that it was group setting, I kind of stopped the whole IEP. I started by saying to the teacher that I had challenges and that if we needed to talk after the meeting, that was fine. They let me go on. I let them know I wasn't all that happy with the program and that while I didn't want to be the pain in the butt parent, I felt that his services were being reduced even though he'd been making great progress. that the more progress he made, the less he was getting. Granted, that's what we want, but it seems that the older he is, the less services he's receiving one-on-one. And in order for him to continue on the same pace, he needs the same level, not less.

I told them that in the last 18 months he's gone from daily one-on-one services to none. That I understood we went from a phenomenal EI program supported by Arnold Palmer Hospital (Orlando's big children's hospital) and a school district with multiple elementary schools to a district with only three elementaries and one pre-k special ed program. This program is our only option right now unless I look at school of choice and make my own transportation arrangements. (which is something I may look into depending on the job hunt....if it meant a better program, I'd work 2nd or 3rd shift)

They responded by telling me that with a small class (8 kids) and already two adults, the kids are getting 1:4 help. When the OT is there, she has an intern, making it 1:2. They also sometimes have half the kids at gym, making it 1:1. I felt MUCH better after this.

Then they said they wanted to change his diagnosis classification. No one felt, after having spent 5 weeks with Sam and looking at his scores from May 08, that he needed the "developmentally delayed" label. They have now placed him solely in the "speech and language impaired" program.

This made my heart very happy that we could get rid of the PDD label for now, but sad because it was really something Eric needed to hear.

They all agreed that Sam's main problem is (and always has been) his expressive communication, but there is a receptive communication problem. Knew this, but okay.

The teacher said that she feels Sam needs visual cues for listening. Almost like he's still trying to learn to read facial cues. I said it could be that he had to read faces to listen before getting tubes that it's almost like a crutch for him. She said he sometimes doesn't respond when she talks to him if he's facing away from her. We agreed that some of that was probably selective, but that the majority of it was that he just really needs to face you to hear and understand what's being said.

I had every intention of asking for him to be retested since it's been 2.5 years and he's an entirely different kid. But they brought it up first saying they would redo it in the spring if I felt that we needed to.

We talked about kindergarten readiness for next year. And that's where I feel more of my frustrations came out. His program last year was ALL about getting every kid in the class ready for kindergarten, with or without services. They did a lot of academics, he was doing the Letter People, cutting/gluing/coloring/writing, even some math. The teacher admitted their program is basically a preschool for special needs kids. It's the only program in the district and right now Sam is one of the higher functioning kids, whereas last year he was middle ground.

The speech therapist gave me a few more ideas of how to get Sam's face muscles working harder. She also gave me an explanation of why my kid thinks he needs to shovel food in. With the low muscle tone, he's not feeling the stretch in his cheeks until it's bordering on way too much in his mouth. She said to use the electric toothbrush on the insides of his cheeks to get them stimulated.

Eric and I are fine with him going to kindergarten next year (w/ or w/o services) and repeating the following year. He turns 5 in July, so while he'll be ahead of the deadline (Dec. 1 in MI), but that doesn't mean he'd be totally ready. I told the teacher today, I'd be fine with him doing two years in her class then kindergarten in 2011 at age 6.

I signed my papers, happily that I got my frustrations out and that they understood where I was coming from.


M said...

What do I have to say? BE THAT PAIN IN THE ASS PARENT. And the school district? Is not qualified to take or give diagnosises. I highly recommend keeping ANY diagnosis FOREVER because those labels = more help and give you a fighting chance when your child is doing well but not well enough for nothing.

So basically they do not have a special needs preschool. They have a special needs daycare center. Unacceptable. The goal should ALWAYS be to have ALL kids in a typical classroom after preschool even if there are still additional help.

Also? Peer models? Why are there none in the class? A special needs child should never be the top of the barrel. Peer models are SO important.

Oh. I'm frustrated for you. i'm frustrated for me as well but haven't type out Liam's IEP.

And actually if that school cannot provide your son services you have PLENTY of options even if the district only has a single program they are responsible for keeping your child ealt with. Even if that means elsewhere.

Duck's Mom said...

M, diagnosis was the wrong word, I mean classification. They've placed him under a different classification. In Florida, they can't use speech as a primary impairment for services. They can here in Michigan. Since that's Sam's biggest issue, that's how he qualifies. He's still getting OT even though they don't have him listed as POHI. I guess it's just a better fit with the speech and language impairment on him.

Sorry, you know me and my choice of words!