February 27, 2012

First IEP Meeting

Today I met with the special needs preschool team for Chase's first Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting. As he turns 3 next month, he will be start preschool at the local public school and we needed to set forth the goals we want the teachers and therapists to work towards in order to maximize his time there.

Apart from myself, we met with two preschool teachers (one was the team leader and the other was his future teacher), the speech pathologist, physical therapist, and occupational therapist. Everyone was very nice and very accomodating. They had all prepared goals for Chase based on the evaluation that he had a couple weeks ago (click here for that post) and they were all reasonable based on the evaluation team's assessment. I enjoyed the fact that they had studied up on Chase and didn't rely on me for the wording of the goals, but they still listened to what I said and added additional goals that I thought were needed.

All in all, they recommended that Chase be placed in a 5-day-per-week preschool class with 5 students, two or three of which have Down syndrome, and all of which are similar to Chase in terms of abilities. The teacher and therapists (I have been told by another parent) are fantastic, which makes me very excited! It is hard to decide whether the 5 day-per-week plan is best, or if Chase ought to do only three days with the other two days at a typical preschool. But since all the other kids in the class come 5 days per week, it seems to be better that Chase not miss out on what they're doing. If it turns out that Chase would be better suited to three-days-per-week, we can always change things around down the road.

The team said that most kids take the bus because it just seems so exciting, and this made sense based on Trent's excitement towards his bus ride. Although it will be a bit odd for the two brothers to take different buses, it makes sense that Chase needs to be on the bus with the little kids and car seats. So we'll try it out and give it a go. As excited as Chase gets about those big yellow buses, I think he'll enjoy the ride!

There were only a couple things that made me feel a little uncomfortable, but I think these were natural being that it was our first IEP meeting and they are supposed to be a little intimidating. First, it was hard not being the expert at a table of professionals on this subject. Second, there was one goal that I offered that they said would be better to wait to add until the next year, though they promised they would work on it this year despite it not being on the IEP. (That goal was related to self help, working with fasteners such as velcro shoe straps, jacket zippers, and pant snaps.) Third, they introduced the fact that they use simple augmentitive communication devices in the classes - tech boards that show a range of images which the kids can press to show what they're thinking or wanting. (Basically a talking pictoral dictionary where you press the image that represents what you want) I wasn't to excited about this, as I want Chase to rely on spoken language rather than the device, though they promised that the teachers try to illicit verbalizations at the same time the kids are using those tools.

Thankfully everyone was super-nice, willing to work with me, excited about meeting Chase, and nothing they said was way off base or different from my expectations. I got to see his future classroom, and it was really cute and kid-friendly. I really think he's going to have a fantastic next couple months, and with spring around the corner, we'll have a chance to re-evaluate things if we need to tweak the plan. Praise God that we had a great IEP and that all the people we're working with are so friendly and helpful. Although I'm sure these meetings will get quite stressful down the road, it seems like we're off to a good start.

Come March 13th, Chase will be a big boy going off to the exciting public school preschool!



(For our DS friends with IEP's coming up, I'll try to post our goals soon as it seems that might be heplful to some. Although I can't say these are the ideal goals, it will show what the team came up with and what we decided on. And who knows, maybe someone has a suggestion for us for next time!)

3 comments:

  1. Happy to hear that all went well! As long as you & Chase are happy....that's all that matters!! 3 already....Wowza!!!!

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  2. Mer,this is such exciting news! I can't wait to read up on how preschool is going for Chase, I just bet he'll love it.

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  3. cheers Mer on.. it sounds good so far:) I know you will stay up on it. xxoo sissy

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