Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm Freaking Out: IEP Edition

     In a little over a week, we will be having Skeletor's first IEP meeting of the school year.  And I am FREAKING OUT!  This is how I feel, right now.  Or, rather, right meow.  Skeletor was in Pre-K at the same school last year, and we had no problems whatsoever.  (I don't even know if that's really a word.  It doesn't look like a word.  I'm freaking out!)  The main cause of my spazz attack is kind of weird.  I don't know what to request.  I spoke to his Pre-K teacher, the teacher's assistant, and his speech therapist on a near daily basis, so I never really had to ask for something to be put in the IEP.  We all just kind of figured things out together.  You know, all go with the flow and loosy goosy-like.  But because my dear, sweet, precious, angel baby is in Kindergarten this year, I'm not in his classroom as much.  Which makes this IEP meeting seem so much more important...and scary.  Also, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty with this whole "formal education" business.  So, obviously I should have lots of things to put into the IEP to make Skeletor's school year go as smoothly as possible, right?  Except I don't.  I have two things on my list of demands: I want to walk him to class every morning so he doesn't end up hiding under a bench somewhere after he has touched each block on the wall that happens to be at his eye level.  And I want him to use the smaller Handwriting Without Tears pencils.  That is the entirety of my demand list.  I would make a terrible hostage taker.  So, I rambled all that, to ask this: What kind of things should I ask to put in his IEP?  I know, I know.  Every child is a perfect, unique snowflake and stuff.  But if anyone would like to help a sister out by maybe telling me some examples of things you have requested in your IEP's so I can get an idea of what I'm doing, that would be super sweet.  Because I am lost in the sauce, and freaking out.

26 comments:

  1. Maybe you could talk with his pre-k teachers and staff and see what they suggest? I'm sure this isn't the first time they've transitioned a child to kindy. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks! I'm going to email them tonight to see what kind of things they are thinking for him.

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  2. I don't remember what my son had on his IEP exactly in those early grades. I do remember some of the later ones that might have been on the earlier ones too. One was for him to have a desk in the front of the class so he could hear the teacher and pay attention hopefullly, another was for the teacher to make sure he started his class work and not just assume he was starting because all the other kids did. He never started anything unless the teacher helped him start one on one. In later grades the teachers were suppose to ask him for his projects, homework etc to turn in because he NEVER would turn them in even though sometimes I was up all night helping him finish them. Also, the more structured the classroom and teacher the better for my son. That's all I remember and I don't have an IEP with me right now. Hope it helps.

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  3. My son has ADD. Things on his IEP include him being allowed to stand at a table and do work instead of sit in a chair, Speech Therapy to address social issues like keeping his hands to himself and controlling his body, and an OT consult who will check in every other week to observe him and help the teacher make any other necessary accommodations for him.

    If you have anyone helping Skeletor this summer (like an OT, PT, or social classes) ask those experts what things will help your dude.

    Try to ask for MORE in your IEP, not less because it's easier to scale back than add to. You can also look on the internet for ideas for available IEP services. Good luck!

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    1. Since he was officially diagnosed with Autism, you could request an aid to help him through the day so the teacher doesn't have to dedicate too much time to any issues that might arise with him. (They do that in my area.)

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    2. This year, he is pulled out during English and math to work one on one with a resource teacher. But it's my hope that next year, he will be able to have an aid in the class with him.

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  4. We are also extremely new to this experience ourselves, so all I can think of to say is that these meetings freak me out, too. It is so intimidating sitting there at that big conference table with all of those people who seem to know so much more than I do. If I don't go in with a list of questions, I know I would forget to address half of what I want to. I would address your concerns and ask them what they suggest based on your sons abilities and limitations and go from there.

    Good luck at your meeting. I hope everything goes well for him this school year. :)

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    1. Thanks, I hope everything goes good for you guys, too!

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  5. Here's the thing... the IEP is a LIVING document. That means that if you need to add more things as you go, you just call another IEP meeting. I think we had at least three meetings last year for Little Miss -- and all of them were based on the learning process of how she did in school and what new challenges popped up on the way.

    So, take the pressure off, my friend. You can add to the IEP!

    That said, I do have one suggestion that has been HUGE for us -- our IEP mandates a daily communication from the teacher. With Little Miss's limited communication skills, this is the only way I know what she has been up to each day. I blogged about the letter here ==> http://beyondthedryervent.blogspot.com/2011/09/and-updated-iep.html

    Good luck!

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    1. Yes! Daily letters, definitely going on there!

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  6. Lord, let me think on this....we have written into his IEP a list of fidgets---hand held squeezies, rubberband on his chair, chewies on his penciles to he doesn't eat thru them, scheduled and random sensory breaks, a communication note---daily--is a must. I don't care if it's the SPED teacher or gen ed teacher, you need a note to tell what happened during the day, we have written in that I drop off and pick up---they hand him off to me as he's been lost at the school two times. I'm trying to think what else....we have headsets and they prep him for any new changes---fire alarm or tornado drill, assembly, field trip or a simple change in routine, etc....

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    1. I never even thought about sensory breaks...among other things!

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  7. When our guy started Kindergarten, he had reached man of his IEP goals from preschool. His big challenges have been speech, his fingers, and tripping and falling down. I met with our son's Kindergarten teacher to check in on what goals would be for the class and tried to think of things to build into the IEP that would help support him working at class levels.

    I requested and got Adaptive P.E., which made a huge difference in our son's overall coordination and muscle tone. We requested a special cube chair to help him sit still during circle time. The O/T was consulted for his sensory diet and provided items that helped with his feet and hand fidgets -- the IEP was written to include these tools.

    Hope this sparks something for you, and Mom2LitleMiss is so right, you can call and IEP meeting whenever *you* think it's appropriate, to add, subtract, or adjust Skeletor's goals. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks! I really never would have thought to contact the teacher before hand. This is how lost I am!

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  8. The biggest thing about an IEP is the goals and the accommodations. If it is not in the IEP they won't work on it so you really need to make sure you ask for what he needs.

    Don't worry if something pops up in the middle of the school year, you can call another IEP to amend the yearly one

    I am guessing he is mainstream? Anyway here are some things we got for our son in his Kindergarten IEP - this is just food for thought.

    ACCOMODATIONS
    -sitting close to the front of the class
    -one sided homework (as opposed to double sided sheets)
    -additional time for tests & in class assignments

    SPEECH
    -a phonetics goal (if it is needed)
    -a goal toward raising his hand and answering a question in class
    -a reading goal (this is when they will start with it and you want to make sure he is not just 'decoding' a book but learning comprehension as well

    BEHAVIOR/SOCIALIZATION GOALS
    - goals toward age appropriate behavior with his peers

    You didn't mention Adaptive PE or OT? If he isn't getting either of those services yet, request assessments. Adaptive PE will work on gross motor skills in a PE setting. And for boys sports is how they socialize as they get older.

    OT is both gross and fine motor skills. The biggie will be how he hold his pencil. He should have a proper tripod grip which a lot of our kids struggle with.

    Last, if he has trouble with distractability or other behaviors, you may want to request an aide.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to email me or FB if you have any questions or want to get into any specifics.

    IEPs suck - no doubt - but as someone else commented above it is a living document and can be changed if needed. It can also be contested if needed.

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    1. Oh, yes, we fight about our "go fingers" every day! He gets ST and OT through the school, so that makes that part of it a lot easier. He gets pulled out during English and reading to work one on one with the resource teacher. I really hope we can mainstream him next year with an aid. Thanks so much for your help!

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    2. Me again - I was actually thinking of this last night. The one biggest mistake we made with the initial IEP was signing right away. You don't have to agree to anything the school suggests. You can agree to part and not all. You can disagree altogether. But don't sign the IEP during the meeting. Tell them you want to take it home to re-read it over and you will hand it back into them. They will try to dissuade you of this but it is your right.

      Even if you agree with every single thing they say during the meeting, take the IEP home and just digest it.

      That would probably be my biggest suggestion of all.

      I will stop now.

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    3. Mind = blown. That is definitely happening! Thanks so much, and don't stop if you've got something to say, girl!

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  10. I would just like to thank you guys for your help. You all kick so much ass!

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  11. I'm such a knob. I JUST discovered your tab on your blog that led to info about you and your family. So, now I can call you Kristi, rather than 'sanstrousers.' Seriously. I'll never be a contender.

    That being said, I wouldn't worry about not having enough requests for the IEP this year. You don't know what you need yet, because you haven't been through it, nor has Skeletor been subjected to the retardation that can be school.

    My advice is to expect the kindergarten teacher, or other teachers, to potentially be overly grave, and serious, and maybe even a little melodramatic. They SAY they have empathy, but in kindergarten all they really want those kids to do is become little robots and sit quietly during CIRCLE TIME and never frigging act up.

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    1. God help us all, he will NEVER sit still during circle time!

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  12. oh my god. I hate captcha so much, that pms karen wants to weep, just weep. it took me three tries to get past their high security "PROVE YOUR NOT A ROBOT" protection. Sigh.

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  13. prove YOU'RE not a robot. For eff's sake, I'm having a hard day.

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    1. Literally lol'd. Usually when I type lol, I am sitting there with a straight face. Hope your day got better!

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