Wednesday, November 30, 2011

random thoughts on this year's IEP stuff

I'm not sure I can organize my thoughts in any reasonable fashion, so I'm just going to spew forth some randomness and hope for the best.

Quick catch-up for any newcomers . . . well, no let's just do this: if you're new to this blog and this whole special needs journey we've been through, take a browse through the posts labeled "special needs" on my sidebar. That will help. There's still some holes since I switched from a blog with real names (which is now inactive and privatized) to this blog with fake names - so there are a whole lot of posts that haven't made their way over here. But, oh goodness. For all the time it took me to write all that, I could have just summarized the whole thing. Hmph. Oh well.

Anyway, this year Samuel was mainstreamed, and he got into the charter school with his siblings (as opposed to the self-contained special needs class he was in last year in the public school) and we held him back a year. They decided to re-assess him to better be able to see where he's at and how he's doing and what kind of services he needs. All that stuff. For his "Individualized Education Plan" (IEP).

So, essentially, the interesting parts of this were that the teacher sees the well-behaved quiet cooperative Samuel - or what I interpret as the anxiety overriding his ADHD. When he meets one-on-one with the specialty teachers though (and the psychologist who did the testing), they see the hyper, easily distracted, can't keep still and concentrate on anything Samuel. This was a huge relief to me, though, that these specialty teachers are seeing what we see at home. I'm not crazy after all!! And it fits with what we think is going on. With why we think he behaves so differently in those 2 different settings. We think the bigger group just makes him anxious and he is able, somehow, to suppress the ADHD in those situations. In some ways, it is good that he is able to do that. In other ways, I still think he's needing to use a whole lot of mental energy to maintain that. So far that's not affecting his school performance. So they're not concerned about it. It makes for some really crazy times at home though. Sigh.

Anyway - he is right where he needs to be for the grade level he is in. They all agreed that this decision to retain him was good for him. He is more confident than I have seen him before. He participates in class. He fits in socially and physically. And he is so happy to be at the same school as his siblings. He plays with Elisabeth at recess and does great with going into school with them and meeting Isaac afterschool. He does his homework. He just seems to be doing well and it is such a huge relief to me.

The cognitive testing showed that he has a strength in processing speed, which means when he knows something, he can work through a task really quick. He has a weakness in one of the memory recall areas (can't remember the technical name). But the areas where he showed issues weren't statistically significant to qualify as any sort of learning disability. But he has obvious struggles with speech and language (some receptive, mostly expressive). He's in about the 3rd percentile. Meaning 97% of kids his age speak more clearly than he does.

So we've reclassified him as Speech Language Impairment instead of Developmental Delay. I have been nervous about having him only classified in speech because I still feel there are other issues going in, but they reassured me that the classification just kind of opens the door for special education services, but it in no way limits the type of services he can receive. So I feel ok about that right now. I think I need to look into getting some sort of private help again for the issues we're having at home that won't be addressed at school because they aren't causing "school problems" and that's just the way it's going to be.

And we set some new goals for speech and language that I think will be good for him. I don't know. I need to get to the school to observe him some more. I still worry about his peer relationships and how his speech affects him. His teacher did say he is really reluctant to read aloud in reading groups. But he does answer questions when asked. I need to think some more about some of the things I still worry about.

But overall, I feel good about the meeting. I feel like they took my concerns seriously and left options open for revision if we feel like new needs arise over time. I guess that's all I can really ask for at this point.

Now, we're beginning the process of having Elisabeth evaluated for some concerns we're having with her (and shared by her teacher and also noticed by the Occupational Therapist who informally observed her). Sooo, here we go again, right??
We just keep moving forward . . . with whatever we've got.:) Phew!

1 comment:

Jennifer Pelo Rawlings said...

I'm so glad to hear that he is doing so much better in the new situation.

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