Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Little Cricket’s Delay: IEP Round 2

I walked into the meeting for our second IEP round. It was in the same room as both our assessments and our previous meeting and I of course brought another box of goodies. This time I stopped at my favorite local donut shop and got half a dozen assorted flavors. Driving over I could have devoured the entire box, I am an emotional eater and GOD, with the break-in last night and the anxiety of maybe not getting what I wanted out of this meeting, I feeling super emotional. But I walked into the school, box still shut, donuts intact. WIN! Today we would go over the goals, finalize them and then we would decide on a placement for my son.


The goals ended up being pretty easy. With our week break I had worked hard at trying to decide how far to push the goals and what were the most important points. With the teams help we spent the next hour finessing and massaging them so that everyone was happy. And they are as follows.


Adaptive Skills: SELF-HELP
Child will use self-help skills during classroom routines (e.g. meal/snack time, toileting, arrival, departure) without reminders, on 4 out of 5 occasions during a school day.

Communication: RESPOND/REQUEST
Child will request a desired object, a feeling, a want or a need, from an adult or peer (e.g. ‘I want milk’ or ‘I feel sad’) on 4 opportunities during a school day.

Communication: WITH A PEER
Child will verbally/non-verbally initiate an interaction with a peer and maintain the interaction over two to three verbal exchanges in 3 out of 5 opportunities.

Communication: SOUNDS
Child will be able to produce age appropriate sounds in all positions of vocabulary words related to the classroom curriculum with 75% accuracy and modeling/cueing.


Communication: SPEECH
Child will be able to spontaneously produce 3-4 word sentences related to the classroom curriculum with 75% accuracy and modeling/cueing.

Child will follow a novel 2-step direction in the classroom with 75% accuracy.

Rules and Routines: SELF DIRECTION
Child will independently follow classroom routines (e.g. returns puzzles to shelf when finished, washes hands after using toilet) with a maximum of 2 adult reminders during the school day.

Child will attend to teacher directed, non-preferred task (even when encountering difficulties), for 10 minutes, with minimal (2 or less) supports and prompts.

Sensory Modulation: TABLETOP ATTENTION
Child will demonstrate appropriate arousal (no bolting or getting up from chair) to participate in tabletop non-preferred fine motor activity for 10 minutes following vestibular or proprioceptive sensory activity with minimal (2 or less) verbal and or physical prompts 4 out of 5 times.

Fine/Motor: PLANNING
Child will be able to complete a novel, adult directed 3-step fine motor activity with minimal (2 or less) prompts with the use of sensory strategies as needed in 4 out of 5 trials.

Object Control: CATCH BALL - SOCIAL
Child will independently trap-catch a 6-8 inch nerf type ball, tossed underhanded by a peer from 3 feet, and toss it back to peer, 3 out of 5 times.

Locomotor Skills: JUMPING
With a model and prompts, child will independently jump forwards 6-8 inches, 3 consecutive times, landing evenly on both feet, 4 out of 5 times.

After our goals were set we talked about the 9 placement options I visited that the school district can offer for my son. Sadly none of them fit what I was looking for:
1. a short afternoon classroom for 2-3 hours a day that does not include therapy time since I want to stay with our current therapists
2. the least restrictive environment for my high functioning autistic son which would include children with good language skills and typical children
3. A calm environment hopefully with around 8 children in the classroom and a collaborative teacher

I set goals that I thought were reasonable and that I thought should be achievable for a just turning 3 year old child. The programs that they have available are all in the morning, and they are 8:00-2:00 programs including OT and speech. 30 hours a week away from me, using OT and Speech therapists I didn’t know and couldn’t sit in on the sessions with, and all in a school environment where there are several low functioning students was unacceptable. Thankfully the team listened to my arguments and agreed. HURRAH.

I was awarded a placement at a non-public school that we all agree would be appropriate for my son. They are making several recommendations of private special schools vendored through them and I will also be calling and touring other private preschools that I find. I am still totally on the fence between sending my son to a typical preschool with support or sending him to an autism specialty preschool. Regardless in the end I hope to find a school that fits my criteria.


This is a long, messy, emotional, exhausting process. I am happy for the wins that I am achiving, but I am also aware of the mess I am leaving in my wake. This type of razor focus (because autism and learning about this whole world of special needs is consuming everything) leaves so many other parts of my life limping along. In the mean time I will celebrate my little victory.

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