We’re into March already! Selena’s birthday was such a great time!! Our family and friends are the best. They really helped her have such a wonderful day. We did have a few meltdowns, but that was to be expected and she recovered pretty well from them. Everyone gets such a kick out of how Selena opens up presents. Every present is just as equally as intriguing and surprising as the last. She will make these cute comments as she’s opening each one, such as, “Ooo, I found something!” “A present? For meeeee?” and no matter what it is, every piece of tape and paper has to be ripped off and removed before she’ll check out the gift. Then comes the, “This is perfect.” “Just what I wanted!” “Ooooo I love it!”. But the proudest moment I can say I had, during her party, was that after she opened each present, she took a moment, looked for the person who gave it to her and thanked them. My family has mentioned that was one of the parts that people enjoyed. She may have her issues and she may not be able to handle things very well all the time, but she is one of the most caring and respectful kids I’ve had the pleasure to be around and it’s a good feeling to know that we’re doing it right (as parents).
I.E.P. meeting today. Oh joy. Oh…friggin…joy. But, I can say that it went so good and I learned quite a bit more about Selena today and how she acts when I am not around. It tends to be emotionally daunting for me to go to these meetings, but I think I’ve finally come to a point in our lives, that I can talk about her ‘disability’ and not well up with tears and feel an overabundance of emotions. I hate it. I hate talking about everything she can’t do right or do ‘up to par’ or ‘like normal kids’ so it can be challenging. 3 years in and I think I got it down! No tears today, well none that people caught onto anyway. So onto the good stuff. I may just take an excerpt from pieces so that it can be most accurate in what I’m relaying and her behaviors in class, plus the goals. Which I would like to add, that none of them are academic goals!! Smarty, smarty.
If you are unfamiliar with how an I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) meeting goes, then this is the post for you! Everyone that is involved with your child and the special needs that they receive (including the person who oversees them) are present. So today at the meeting, we had the LEA Representative, Evaluation Interpreter, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Speech/Language Pathologist, her teacher (x2), an intern for the OT and myself. It can be pretty intimidating on your first few meetings seeing as everyone is there to talk about your child, and what you’d like to see them achieve. Yes. The very first question they ask, is what are my concerns and goals for my child. Mind you, we haven’t even begun the meeting, I have no idea how she’s doing in class (on the formal, assessment level of course) so to answer that question is…a bit challenging. Do I want to come off as the “I’m hopeless parent”, “Go get em tiger parent”, “I don’t really care parent”, “nothing is wrong with my child parent” or “I have no friggin clue how to answer that parent”. Surely I am not hopeless and have huge faith in Selena and the amazing person she is growing up to be. So that’s out the the question. I like to think I was the “Go get em tiger” at this meeting!! Back to the question. What concerns do I have for my child’s education? Ugggggh. To be successful, to make friends while still learning the value of education, to not freak out when they want her to write her name and she doesn’t want to. TO BE “NORMAL”! Why couldn’t I have thought of that when I was there (except the normal part, she’s very normal for Selena). So I answered that I would like for her to grasp concepts better such as understanding there are 2 meanings for a word. That I would like to see her mainstreamed, but I don’t want to push it as Selena likes her current classroom. I am not happy with my answer. Can I have a redo?
All eyes on me… Breathe…you’ll be fine. You can do this. It’s all about Selena and I want the best for her. Don’t. Freak. Out. You can do this. <— my inner cheerleader through this meeting.
So we go into what she likes. Oh man, the list is never ending so to pick a few of the best. Her school says she loves to have tea parties, use the computer and activeboard and loves imaginative play. She enjoys dancing and making crafts for her mommy. (Awwwwwwwww!!!!!) So I added she likes Yo Gabba Gabba, robots and princesses. She just got a fish at the fair and likes helping take care of the garden. I could go on forever really. She enjoys so many things, hard to narrow it down to just a few. Good things about these meetings, is that since Selena doesn’t really ever tell me about her day, I get to hear all the cute things she does, all the funny moments that tend to stick out to the teachers, all the things that makes a parent smile.
Extended school year has been granted to her. That’s such a wonderful thing. Breaks in the school year and routine really have an affect on her and she will regress if she doesn’t stay in a school setting. We have learned this in the past and I’m thankful that I didn’t have to ask for it this time or inquire why it wasn’t already granted. Yay for Kindergarten, no more stupid private ‘vpk providers’ who don’t know WTH they are dealing with!!! Summer is taken care of, phew. Along with that comes the busing. Yay! She will still get the bus pick up. Which is good. But man, that means that she will have another year of ‘no summer’ so I’m going to have to make sure that she gets really awesome weekends!!
On to the good stuff. Communication. Selena had an assessment done and they had used the Preschool Language Scale-4th Edition which is used with children up to the age of 6 years 11 months..or so… Her Auditory Comprehension SS = 83 and her Expressive Communication SS = 79. With a total Language Score of 79. I have been searching and searching and searching the interwebs trying to recall the exact numbers she said the range was. 85-115 I think for each category for average children. She is almost there. Not quite. If you happen to decipher these dag’gone numbers, please let me know!!! ARRRRG!!! Anyways. Selena is currently demonstrating deficits in her receptive and expressive language skills when compared to same-aged peers. Her language difficulties primarily manifest in the areas of syntax, semantics and pragmatics. It is difficult for Selena to use/comprehend age appropriate language in academic tasks, conversations and social situations. So they have devised 2 goals this go round that say that she will correctly conjugate 20 irregular plurals (i.e. mouse/mice, tooth/teeth, man/men, etc) and conjugate 20 irregular past tense verbs (i.e. drink/drank, break/broke, swim/swam, etc). That’s AWESOME that those are the only 2 goals that are here. They are of course doing their usual speech therapy goodness along with working towards those 2 goals.
Classroom performance. She is on grade lever for all Kindergarten curriculum! Selena does not want to initiate all her academic tasks and activities. She has difficulty transitioning to non-preferred tasks. These non-preferred tasks can vary day by day. Frequently this occurs with fine-motor tasks and independent work time. When presented with a task she does not want to do, Selena will yell “No” and fall to the floor and cry that she “is stuck”. The crying will escalate if she does not immediately get attention. The average time it takes for Selena to initiate a non preferred task can range from 2 to 20 minutes (Which is pretty good, I added). Sometimes this does not occur at all during a school day. The average amount of times Selena does not initiate an activity without outbursts ranges from 8 to 14 times a day. 8 to 14 outbursts a day…that’s without me being around. It is always worse with me around. Just imagine how much we butt heads when asked to do a non preferred activity at home (which is usually everything). Goals for these problems are that when given a verbal paired with visual direction, Selena will initiate the non preferred tasks within 2 minutes on 8/10 occurances. That is going to be one of the most difficult goals for her to achieve. At least the benchmark for her is 3/10 days and 4/10 days, and they aren’t setting her up to fail..so to speak.
And the last one. Yea, I know this is long. Sorry to bore you, I’m sure you are snoring by now. More classroom performance. Selena tends to tell the other children what to do, she will grab the sides of their face to make sure they are looking at her and correct them or give directions. She will get upset if another child does not want to play the games she wants. Selena will upset other students by telling them they are not going to get their happy face or will walk by a child who is playing independently and take something away or try to take over. When the other child gets upset or cries, she smiles and walks away. One second, before I continue. WTF?! Really?! So the goal is when given a situation that Selena needs to determine what a good friend would do, Selena will verbally share and model a correct solution in 5/5 on 3 consecutive days. Ok, so that just stumps me. The making the kids cry then smile and walk away. I know she likes to take over and give directions and tell everyone what to do, but really? I’m going to try to have to decipher where THOSE behaviors are coming from, because we do NOT do that at home!
All in all, she is doing really well in school and it’s going awesome for her. These goals I feel are going to come naturally to her as she continues her education with these awesome teachers and educators.
Today is the first day of trial aftercare. EEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!! I’ll try to update on a more frequent basis and let ya know how aftercare is going. 90 kids, 1 cafeteria, 17 kids in her group. Seriously?? Day 1 might go well, but I’ll be surprised if it goes smooth after that. Ah well, Momma’s gotta try right? I need some longer work days!! *Praying it goes well* If not, then at least I can say that we tried and I didn’t let her disability decide the outcome, before the decision was made to keep her out of it.