We had our IEP meeting nearly two weeks ago and we left with the realization that our work has only just begun and it is onging.
Johnny is doing well being integrated into a regular Senior Kindergarten classroom. He transitions well between activities, follows the lead of the other children, tries to do all activities but sometimes need extra help where fine or gross motors skills are being challenged. He gets along most of the time with his peers and is happy at school. He has visual supports, an education assistant, a sensory diet, movement breaks, and a communication book for speech augmentation.
Concerns? Johnny is trying very hard to “go with the flow” and be just like the other children so we are concerned about Johnny’s ability to self-regulate and how his sensory diet is working. Also the teacher’s admission that Johnny barely speaks in class to his peers or the teachers and when he does its one or two words is troubling.
Our goals are to make sure all accommodations are in place so that Johnny can learn and stay self-regulated at regular levels throughout the day so he can have positive learning opportunities. We also want to advocate for much more speech and language support so that Johnny can participate fully in the classroom experience. As a Mother it leaves me with a very uncomfortable feeling inside to hear that her son does not feel comfortable in his class and is not doing what he can do in other social skills groups or therapy sessions.
Nuggets of wisdom we learned from this?
1) Its hard to not feel frustrated when professionals talk like they know more about your child then you do.
3 There is a constant push and pull between addressing challenges and keeping the meeting positive and child-centered.
4) Its challenging when you bring up problem solving ideas that are adimittedly “out of the box” and they are dismissed or discussion is quickly re-directed.
5) We were not expecting the classroom teacher to be on the defensive and feeling frustrated that Johnny is presenting himself and his skills differently elsewhere.
6) Schools, teachers, and everyone on the team are going to have to get used to having well informed parents at IEP meetings.
We realize that even though we are focusing on what is happening for Johnny right now that our goal is “ongoing advocacy.”
The IEP meeting was to discuss what the school was doing for Johnny. We are now setting up a meeting with team members and higher ups from the school board to see what they can do for Johnny.
Every child is an individual and an “Individual Education Plan” is suppose to be about setting up an “individual” unique plan for that child’s needs. In the end, Autism is a “spectrum” disorder and like all children, presents themselves uniquely so the school and board must also strive to present a unique plan geared to that unique little person.
***Previous post on IEP https://sunflowercyn.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/iep-or-lets-see-where-the-magic-happens/