Thursday, October 15, 2009

Scenes from summer

IEP- where we are at now

After starting the transition process back in April, 6 months later we are basically getting ready to start the whole process over. Here's what has happened so far.
1. In April we had a regular meeting with our Early Steps coordinator. She told me someone from the school board would be coming to it to start the transition process out of Early Steps into the school system. The lady from the school board came and left in under 5 minutes. She said she had paperwork for me to sign that would get the process started. She asked a few questions about his medical history and what type of therapy we had been doing. I told her we were specifically looking for continuing AV therapy. Point blank told her we were not looking to put him in a preschool program at that time and asked what would be our options. She told me based on his age he would qualify for in-home services or if they didn't have an opening available I could bring him to the school for his hour of therapy. Like I said, she was here maybe 5 minutes. I was told it was just a meeting for signing the paperwork to get everything going.
2. We got a letter in the mail with a time for a screening. The letter says "should the results of the screening indicate the need for an evaluation we must obtain written consent". That being said, we showed up for what we thought was just another meeting to find out it was his evaluation. I touched on this some in the previous post. I was waiting in the car with the other kids and they were gone just under an hour and Eric said most of that was them just talking and going over stuff with him. He said they started by signing with him, then started using exaggerated lip movements trying to get him to lip read. After 10 minutes of this, they finally asked Eric if were we able to communicate with him at all. EXCUSE ME??? Did they not read any of his history?? So Eric told them to just talk to him normally. Eric said by that point Landon was just looking at these people like they were nuts because they were making all these gestures,wild hand movements, and funny facial expressions he had never seen so he was starting to act timid and wanted to stay with Eric. Then they put Landon in-between two strangers who were bombarding him with different tasks. Eric said they tried to get him to do 50 things in less than 20 minutes. Example - asked him to count to 10. He didn't know what they were asking so he didn't do anything. So they said he couldn't do it. A few minutes later they took out 10 blocks and on his own he counted them 1 through 10. But because he didn't do it they way they asked he can't count to 10.

To give you an idea of how off the evaluation was, here's just a little comparison between the school board's evaluation and his exit evaluation from Early Steps in one section.
Under attention and memory, school board has him age equivalent of 14 months. Early Steps eval had him age equivalent 34 months. Reasoning and academic school board has him at 21 months - early steps has him 30 months. Perception and Concepts school board is 23 months - early steps is 34 months.
Both tests were the Battelle Developmental so it wasn't a difference in tests administered. I would expect a little difference but to have a difference of 20 months in a child that was only around 31/32 months at the time is a HUGE difference!!
I'll get into our "planning meeting" in the next post.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Summer? I think I missed it.

WOW!! Time is flying! I can't believe I haven't updated since July. It's been crazy around here - and about to get crazier :) We were busy this summer working on projects outside. Eric, with the help of my dad, put up a fence around the backyard, we tore down and rebuilt the flower beds, painted the shed, painted the swing set and made a play area for the kids, and made a bird garden (Connor's request). We've now started back to school which has been an adjustment. Connor is in 2nd grade, Garrett is in Kindergarten, and I'm doing preschool with Landon. It was definitely easier when it was just me and Connor working at the table. Now trying to keep all 3 on tasks (and quiet so the others can work) is a job!!

We are also in the middle of doing Landon's IEP and I've reached the conclusion - DO WE REALLY HAVE TO DO THIS??? It's been an experience. I had our initial meeting where I signed all the paperwork to start the process the day before Bella went into the hospital (back in April). I told her point blank we were not looking for preschool at this time but just wanted to continue speech therapy and if he qualified physical therapy. We got a letter about what we thought was another meeting to discuss what we were looking for. Showed up for that to find out it was his evaluation. Eric took him in while I waited with the other kids. He said they put Landon between 2 strangers who alternated trying to get him to do 50 things in about 20 minutes time. It was a joke!! Example-they asked him to count. He doesn't know the word count but if you start or ask him how many, he can count to 12. Since he didn't know what they were asking they said he couldn't do it. Every thing they tried to get him to do they asked directly using terminology he doesn't know yet. The result - they basically said he was only age equivalent of 1 yr 3 months and has ADD. HORRIBLE EVALUATION!!! For comparison, we just had his exit evaluation for Early Steps and the lady that conducted it kept saying how advanced he was for his age. She couldn't believe how off their evaluation was. I'll save our IEP meeting for my next post - that was an even bigger waste of time!!

Update on Landon - he knows the entire alphabet, can identify any letter and knows what comes next, and has started writing the letters now. Now we are working on learning colors and being able to differentiate between on/in/under.

Update on Bella - crawling all over the place!! Nothing is safe now :)

Update on Garrett - loves Kindergarten. He asks for more work every day after he finishes his lessons.

Update on Connor - we went ahead and put him in catechism classes this year. Because our homeschool curriculum is Catholic based, we can do his religion classes at home, which we've done the last two years. This year he'll be making his First Communion so I figured it would be easier for him to do his first confession if he did it with other kids. He loves going to the classes so I asked him if he wanted to start regular school instead of homeschool and he said no, that he loves religion classes because they just do activities and crafts. He doesn't want to have to sit in a class all day doing "boring" work as he calls it. The thinking of a seven year old :)

I'm going to make a slide show of all our projects this summer. Which leads to our next announcement - we are moving:) We are busting out of this house with 4 kids so we've decided to sell the house; get into an apt for a year or so to give us time to decide where we want to build/move, if we are building to plan the house, and save up a good downpayment. We've been talking about it since before Landon was born but kept putting it off. We've finally decided we need to do it now while they are little and it won't be so hard to be crammed into an apartment. Plus after all the problems with Landon's IEP, we are looking at moving to another parish/school system that will hopefully be better (yes, that is how bad it's going with his IEP). So it's even crazier around here with trying to pack stuff up and get ready to put the house up for sale. We had a garage sale Saturday and could probably have another by the time we go through everything.

I'll do a post about our IEP plan later.