1. On the way I wanted to put on some upbeat, encouraging music, but I chose poorly and ended up slightly more emotional by the time I got to the school than when I was in my driveway. Oops. Still, it was prayerful music, so it was good. Plus, I used the Facebook to get some extra prayer support, and I think that was a huge help, because in the end, I didn’t even cry!
2. We discussed goals- toilet training preparation like pulling pants up/down for diaper changes, practicing sitting on the potty, signing toilet, and washing hands. We didn’t make it a goal, but a supplemental service that the aids will do, and in some ways, already do. So that’s great.
3. Discussed some of the sensory/motor goals and ended up including some more supplemental services, again, things that the aids would probably do anyways, like help Paul learn how to scoop with a spoon and stab with a fork during snack time. He does this at home, but hasn’t mastered it. It tends to be messy…
4. Not super excited about our OT goals for Paul next year, but it wasn’t the ditch I was going to die in. We discussed them and there is just a HUGE discrepancy in what they see/do there compared to what Paul does at home. I felt like the goals were just not challenging enough for him. But I know I can call a meeting anytime, and we do all plan to meet in December, so we can update at that time, or even sooner.
5. I (not so) secretly hope to get Paul kicking some serious butt this Summer just to throw everyone for a loop. I fear that sometimes people decide that Paul is low functioning and won’t accomplish much, so why bother challenging him too much; let’s just keep him moving through the system. To be honest, I would say he is low functioning, and I think he may always be. But, he also deserves the gift of time. Most kids with DS are diagnosed prenatally or at birth and receive therapy services right then and there. Paul didn’t start until he was 2. He. deserves. time.
6. One member of the team made the same mistake for the second time, and that was talking about Kindergarten. My brilliant and experienced mother, who works as a speech path in the public schools, doing lots of birth to 3 and preschool, educated me that really, school staff is not supposed to discuss future years during the IEP meeting. To say, “We need to do this next year, to get him ready for the year after” isn’t appropriate. So when it came up (again), I said, “It’s smart to look and consider the future, but at the same time, the IEP is just about the next year, not about the year after. We can’t potentially sacrifice next year of preschool in the name of preparing for the following year in Kindergarten.” And truthfully, Paul cannot afford to sacrifice any time because he is so behind. If we don’t have a good year next year, Kindergarten is even more screwed than it probably already is. I got some good nods of support for that during the meeting, so that was positive. My mom was quite pleased too. :)
7. And the “big” issue (which really shouldn’t have been so big in my opinion, but whatever) – AM or PM Preschool. We are keeping Paul in the AM for all of next year, or at least that is the plan! We will meet in December to touch base and to just see if it would benefit him to switch to the afternoon, but it’s not a transition meeting. It’s possible that we could expect lots of benefits in the PM class that would merit a mid school year change. If that’s the case, we could give it a try. There are definitely things in the PM that I want for Paul, it just has to be at the right time for him.
So, overall, a very positive meeting and I’m thankful for the team working with Paul. Now I have a year to educate myself for the next IEP when we would discuss transition to Kindergarten. Sigh. But for today, I’ll just enjoy the small victory.