Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Big Changes!

    I specifically saved this post until after Johnny's IEP meeting, so I could share all the good news at one time. I can't even begin to describe the pride I feel in how well Sweet Pea and Monkey are doing. Within in a few weeks of each other, I had Jordan's 3 year re-eval/IEP meeting and Johnny's very first meeting. They went very well and are going to help pave the road to success for both of them.

     Before an IEP is established, the student has to be evaluated to assess their skills and see if they qualify for special needs services. Once it is in place, the student is eligible for 3 years and the goals on the plan are updated yearly. Before the end of the third year, the student has to be reassessed for eligibility. Believe it or not, this was Jordan's third year! Her physical, occupational, educational and speech testing took place over the month of April. She was also given a psychological assessment. All the results were gone over at her meeting at the beginning of May.

    I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous going in. I know that because of her autism she automatically qualifies, but for some reason I had it in my head that they were going to reduce her services and I was going to have to go to battle for her. Of course I was wrong. As well as she's doing, Jordan still has hurdles she needs to overcome. She is learning to read and can write her name like a champ. She is fairly good at following directions, but can easily get distracted and will sometimes forget a step. She has some issues with math fluency, which doesn't surprise me because math has never been a strong suit on my side of the family. Her phys ed skills are coming along, though she has some work to do on object control (running and dribbling a ball, kicking a ball while running, etc.) and motor planning, which is manipulating her hands and body to accomplish certain tasks.  Her social skills are budding. She knows how to start a conversation but has difficulty carrying it on, and she is also apprehensive about initiating play with another student. She is very determined to do well, which is working to her benefit. One thing that I was very pleased to hear was that the school psychologist said she couldn't have picked Jordan out of the entire integrated kindergarten class as the student with autism! She was the most well behaved! Overall, her team is very impressed with her progress and adjustment. Next fall she will still be receiving speech, physical and occupational therapy, but she will be in the fully integrated first grade class!  I am confident she's going to do great!

    Johnny had his PT and OT assessments done together, and his speech done separately on a different day. Because he's so high energy, much of the formal testing couldn't be done. However, he is showing emerging skills. He has good motor control and planning, and though it may not be aimed at someone specific he can throw and kick a ball. He can hold a crayon and can manipulate small objects with his hands. He makes great eye contact and is able to convey to us his needs by leading us to what he wants and pointing. He jargons frequently and has very few true words. He does use intonation, so it is clear what he may be feeling or if he is asking a question. What isn't clear however, is what he is trying to say.  The speech pathologist did note, though, that he has all of the vowel and consonant sounds, and at it is just a matter of forming those sounds into words. Due to his autism, he also qualifies for special needs services and will be receiving physical, occupational and speech therapies at Mt. Pleasant Preschool. He will be attending a full day program, but will be in the ASD class as he's not quite ready for the integrated class yet. We are more than pleased that he will be seeing Miss Roxanne, who was Jordan's first teacher and worked wonders with her!  We had our first visit with Miss Roxanne's class today, and Johnny loved it! He explored the whole classroom, and was very excited when the other kids started to file in. He even sought out another student and was playing along side him. This is huge, as he usually just plays by himself. He was very sad to leave, which excites me to no end because that means he will probably acclimate well to preschool. We're going back for another visit on Thursday and are going to stay through circle time to see how it goes. Hopefully by then his IEP will be done and I can sign it so he can officially start next Monday. Yes, I know it is close to the end of the school year, but this will at least give him the opportunity to get used to the routine of going to school before summer school starts in July.

    Ah, yes. Summer school. This year, both Johnny and Jordan will be attending! It's the same deal as before. A six week program starting after the fourth of July and running through mid August, three days a week 9am - 2pm. As it stands, Johnny will only be going for a half day. However, that could change depending on how well he does over the next month in Miss Roxanne's class. I think he's going to do great and the full day will be in the cards for him. As a bonus, cousin Genevieve will also be in summer school, so Johnny will have a friend! It's going to be a challenging but fun summer  for our little Monkey as he conquers his biggest hurdle yet!

    As sad as it was for EI to end, Johnny has only benefited from seeing his Heather every week. The skills we've both learned over the past year will help us tremendously in the coming months. Through our work together not only have gained valuable knowledge, but also a treasured friendship. We just want to say thank you, Heather, for all you've done for us and we love you!

   This summer will bring new and exciting experiences for us all. I can hardly wait to see how it all turns out!

Until next time, friends!

All smiles for the beach!

Running in the waves with my big sis! 
A beautiful backdrop for a beautiful girl!

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