This Friday. 1:30pm MST. Time to gather with all the professionals and talk Paul going to Kindergarten.
Yes, Paul and kindergarten. Just let that sink in for a moment.
I’ve been thinking, and I really think the two most important things for Paul in kindergarten is Communication and Behavior (see above photo).
Behavior is a new one for his team. Up until we privately sought and received the autism diagnosis, they claimed that his behavior was not an impediment to his learning and time in the classroom.
L to the O to the L.
They are so cute.
Ummm, they thought he just didn’t know anything, and wasn’t picking up on routines, and couldn’t physically “grasp an object.” No. He just did not want to. If he doesn’t want to point to the picture of a kite, he is not going to do it for you. If he doesn’t want to put his backpack in his cubby, he will bolt to whatever it is he does want. And for heaven’s sake- you’ve seen him cling for dear life to a spoon to scoop yogurt, so why do you think he has a physical problem holding onto a crayon? He hates coloring. That’s your problem.
Recognizing his behaviors as an issue sheds a new light on all of these things. Though, judging by the draft IEP I have, some members of his team still don’t get it, as evidenced by the OT goal of grasping, and gently placing down, an object instead of throwing it. That is not an OT problem. He puts toys down quite nicely at home. He can do it. He doesn’t do it at school, and they let him not do it at school.
They need to out stubborn him, and they are up against it because not only is this kid Ukrainian, he also has Down Syndrome, and in case you didn’t know, the stubborn gene is on the 21st chromosome, so he’s got an extra dose.
Next up, communication.
I’m not going to lie and say I’m super excited that Paul is going to kindergarten, and that I think it’s the perfect placement for him. I really don’t think that. I think his behavioral goals might best be addressed in a preschool setting, but I think his communication could improve more in Kindergarten. Kindergarten offers more time (we will do 5 half days, but we could do 5 full days, whereas preschool is only 3 half days, and the half days are extra short) during which he could be around his typical peers and hear all that language. It also offers us more time for speech therapy. His current draft IEP has 60 minutes of speech a week, but I’m hoping to increase that to 150 minutes a week (so 2.5 hours). We’ll see how far I get…
But he’s made some great strides with communication. He’s got a lot of signs now, and he really wants to communicate. Of course, it’s still at the level of things he wants, whether its a certain food, or music, or playing outside. But, you have to start somewhere, and kids usually start with what they want.
Anyways, the additional time is really why the kindergarten setting is preferred. Plus, as much as I love the preschool, especially the special ed teacher and the speech pathologist, I think it will be good to switch things up for Paul. With his new team at the elementary school, we can really set a tone for how we want his behaviors to be handled (draft of the behavior plan is coming to me soon, I hope!) and I think that can make a huge difference for Paul’s overall performance, and the expectations that people set for him.
I hope to blog about his IEP again before our meeting on Friday, with some things more specific to his goals.