Thursday, April 26, 2007

Aidan's IEP

Aidan had his IEP today. It isn’t like your standard school IEP since the only service he receives is speech. He is not enrolled in school and one of the things we tossed about a little bit was the possibility of enrolling him in the school independent study program so that he could still be home-based but get services from the school district. This is not something I am very serious about but we discuss it each year.

For speech, the SLP figured he had met about 50% of his speech goals for the year which were:

  • using prepositions
  • adjectives
  • social speech
  • length of utterance

and one more that I can’t remember right now.

He only got in about 50% of his visits, too, for various reasons. We had 12 visits planned and just finished #6. We have about 3 more visits scheduled.

The main area where we are changing directions a bit is that we planned more formal assignments for him to take home. Both of us have hesitated to put too much formal work on him too soon. This is one of the things I appreciate about this SLP. She operates by games and conversation. He was horribly averse to therapy by the time he was three and so his post-EI therapists had to spend their first year just developing relationships of trust with him. But now he is getting to a point where he enjoys a bit of structured work and so we are going to try some take-homes and see how that goes.

Today he worked on developmental puzzles while the SLP and I talked and formulated goals. He exhausted himself in the process and came over to me as white as a sheet and said, I want to go home. I rubbed his back while we finished up the IEP talk and then the SLP did a Q & A game with him. To provide reinforcement she has a sort of beaker where you can set a measurement and then put in these counters that make a satisfying clink when you put them in. Every time he answered a question he’d get another counter. She started with questions like “What’s your name? How old are you? ” and then moved to a set of functional cards. To both our surprise he coasted on these: questions like “What do you pour milk into?” and “What do you use to unlock a door?” (reinforced with pictures showing the scenario).

He aced the ten questions! He loved the game too. As a further reinforcement he got to choose a piece of candy. I’m not much into Pavlovian behavior modification but he took this as a game, a challenge. It woke him up and he exited the room in a great mood.

IEPs serve a useful purpose in that they let you see progress and get some ideas for things to work on. I know this is not the experience for every parent of an SN child but I think they work for us because we aren’t really expecting much out of the school system and they don’t think they have ownership over him. So it’s usually just a conversation about progress and future direction.

It would be nice to be able to do this with my other kids. Sometimes Kevin and I talk a bit about future direction or where the kids have progressed. He likes to know what is going on and because he’s around a lot he usually has a sense of where they are. Whenever we do talk specifically about homeschooling he is usually on the same page as I am — not because he’s being agreeable but just because we seem to generally have the same views on education. But we don’t spend very much time talking about curriculum or day to day logistics because honestly, we usually have other things to talk about. : ).

When my friend from N CA was here we chatted about high school plans. I keep meaning to write that out on here (to help me think it through a bit more) but can’t seem to get my thoughts together enough to start.