Friday, May 17, 2013

IEP meeting, lots of LONG info... beware

Ahhh yes, good 'ole IEP meeting time was today. This was the first time we had both IEPs done back-to-back, and it was definitely a very long meeting.
Let me first state that the teacher started off by telling us how much she loves these boys and her favorite thing about them that they both have is KINDNESS. I thought that was very sweet.

We started with Brady and his portion actually took up about 75% of the entire meeting because potty training in general for both boys was discussed. The Special Education Coordinator was there in addition to the teacher and speech therapist, and she was really pushing for us to all come up with a plan to help the boys. She doesn't want the boys to be singled out in 4k for diapers, so we all threw around ideas and suddenly the coordinator says, "Look at this educated group of people, we surely must be able to figure this out!". That was pretty funny.

So... back to Brady. There was nothing reported about him that surprised us per say, but there were definitely parts that made me look like a deer in the headlights. It's no surprise that Brady's speech disorder is rather profound and he tested at the 1% with an intelligibility of 10% at best with context, so we knew he'd have a lot of speech therapy next year. He'll get 4x/week sessions pulled from the classroom, and an extra 25 minute session inside the classroom. The first trimester will have an extra 25 minutes in the classroom working on the iPad (his "assistive technology") and how to integrate and communicate in the class with it.

The area of the meeting that took me aback the most was Brady's preacademic skills and his attention issues. His preacademic skills weren't as high as I expected since I assumed he knew all his colors, numbers, shapes and letters, but apparently he seems to get confused. Especially when there are many on a page. He has a hard time even picking the letters of his name out when they're with many letters around them.
When Brady is faced with one-on-one questions and/or testing, he seems to be distracted, or tries to distract the instructor (he does this at home, but we just haven't picked up on it as much). The teacher believes it may be due to Brady's inability to talk, therefore he tries to get out of the situations. So we don't really know if he's "inattentive" or getting insecure about verbal communication. Because of this, it was hard for the teacher and therapist to test him. They had to do it over the course of many days at short stints. At one point, the teacher said she was asking Brady to just point out letters, colors, shapes (testing his preacademic skills) and he put his face down on the table, then he turned around and pointed to the door.

The speech therapist said she conducted her testing over 4 sessions to keep him focused. She made notes of his off-task behaviors and during just ONE 20 minute session she noted that he: was flipping the lanyard nametag the examiner was wearing, hummed a song, flipped the pages of the presentation manual, twisted the examiner's bracelet, slid under the table, put feet up on the table and was pointing at and verbalizing about other things in the room.
And yeah... this is all written on his formal legal IEP among the pages of notes about his specific speech issues.

Also, we were told that he has immature play most of the time. Which is expected since he can't speak, so he chases kids with trucks and planes and tries to do more physical interactions rather than functional play. His inability to slow down without constant reminders and to be less distracted by people coming and going was reported, but it's all addressed in his 4k plan as "Specialized instruction in the areas of self-regulation, direction following, and social-emotional development" which he'll received for 50 minutes a week by a special education teacher in his regular class. Ok, so that one I didn't expect either, but he technically had that this entire year of 3k, so it's not that different. I guess.

(deep breaths!)

Now you'd think Jax's IEP paperwork would've been thicker than Brady's given the fact Jax gets therapy from 3 more areas, and 9 total people were in attendance for his portion, but it wasn't (!) which made me feel even crummier for Brady.
Jax was reported to have 'very good' preacademic skills (I won't list everything, but it's awesome). His biggest area of growth has been his ability to be understood in the classroom, although this resulted in him being very eager to share what he knows, despite reminders to wait his turn to be called on, and of course, he speaks for Brady. He likes being the first to do something, which results in him doing everything FAST, which results in him running into things and/or others. So SLOWING DOWN is addressed for 4k.
He'll have speech twice a week at longer sessions since the therapist can get more attention out of him, but attention in the classroom will be handled similar to how Brady's will be with a special ed teacher in the classroom helping with the skills. I did see a note that Jax is to be provided seating that is close to the individual providing instruction to limit distractions. I'm sure that will help. His intelligibility is up to 60-70% if context is known, which is such a major improvement.

He shows fine motor skills issues, which we knew, although the school OT (Occupational Therapist) was very flippant about his deficits. She actually doesn't plan to have Jax in actual "OT" for 4k, but rather to have the OT in his room for 15 minutes each week to review his writing and drawing skills and to model for the teacher how to correct him. I asked if they planned to help him with his buttons/zippers etc, and she said it wasn't important (?) so I guess I'm glad I have Jax in the OT-program at the hospital over the summer to work on those skills outside of school.

Otherwise it was great news for PT (Physical Therapy) because he GRADUATED from this therapy! He came so far in this department over the last two years, woot woot! Now... that's not to say Jax doesn't have gross motor delays still, but he is only seen by the "Specially Designed Physical Education" department for that now twice a week. That therapist said Jax needs to slow down while performing skills as well, but he'll be working hard on coordinating both sides of his body to perform bilateral coordination movements. He also needs help with establishing good balance and further developing eye/hand coordination. They want him wearing his braces all of next year yet, and said he still relies on them for core balance. I was kinda hoping they'd say he didn't require them anymore, but in the scheme of things, that is no big deal!

So there were some great things and not so great things, and I could actually write 10 more pages about all the things reported. Overall I feel better separating the boys for 4k after hearing how much Brady really leans on Jax socially. I always thought Brady was SO great at playing with others, and while he's friendly and wants to be included, he doesn't "properly" play with them, and ends up wrestling with Jax at times when he's not sure what else to do. They described him as the "physical one", which threw me a bit. They really hammered home the issue of attention and distractions for both of them, so I really hope they can get that under control over the next year.

It seems like Jax is really improving greatly in many areas, and Brady is drowning in this awful speech disorder, causing social issues to arise. I wish I could just FIX it for him. I wish I could just FIX everything for both of them. I know these can be long roads, I just pray the roads lead to normalcy for them both.

It was nice to not get any bad reports of them being purposely naughty, so I'll hang my hat on that. We definitely have some specific areas to really focus on over the summer and next school year, but overall they sure are some super fun little dudes. I know I'm incredibly lucky to call these boys mine.

Jay and the boys playing while I was grilling dinner on Thursday night.

Jay and the boys vegging OUT before bedtime while watching the Brewer game tonight. My bums!


Michele said...

I'll just throw this out there because both my daughters were recently diagnosed with hidden visual problems - you might try finding a highly regarded pediatric optometrist in your area for a developmental exam. Motor coordination issues with the eyes are surprisingly easy to miss (two schools, an educational therapist, our pediatrician and a regular pediatric optometrist all missed it!) and Brady's reluctance to point out letters, etc. on a page reminds me of my older daughter's inexplicable difficulty learning to read fluently - turns out it's an eye motor coordination issue, not ADHD or dyslexia or any other kind of learning disorder. Even if you don't get to it right away, just file the idea in the back of your mind. :)

Annie and Jason said...

Thanks Michele!