Today was A's annual IEP (individualized education program). This time it was a triennial IEP, with her transitioning to kindergarten next year, so a huge battery of tests had been administered over the past few weeks. This was our third IEP with her, and both had gone very well. I was overall pleased with their recommendations last year, except for the fact that they had recommended a Special Day Class, mainly to contain all of her services to one site. Having nixed that, I kept A in her inclusion preschool all year. Seeing all the testing results, I am 100% sure that was the right choice.
Why? Because all of her testing (except for gross motor skills, which we knew would be below average) shows her at the average level.
Let me back up. There were a million people present at the meeting today: the program director, school psychologist, psychologist intern, occupational therapist, physical therapist, vision therapist, deaf/hard-of-hearing therapist, speech therapist, resource specialist, two of her preschool teachers, my husband and myself. Her adapted P.E. therapist and the district nurse were unable to attend, but they had sent their reports.
Most of the people in the room had done testing on A....and as I said, everything puts her in the average range. Academically, she scored in the average range (on two separate tests!) in writing, reading and math! I couldn't believe it....her writing is average! This is the same girl who could barely draw a circle last summer. Now she is writing most of her letters. Her language is in the average range. Her IQ is average! Average is my new favorite word!
Of course, A still has a long way to go. Her gross motor skills are very behind, and she still needs a lot of work on language pragmatics (that is, talking in socialized settings, having conversations, etc). The language is IN her, we just need to help her get it out. But I know that she will get to where we want her to be. Everyone present at the IEP, without exception, talked glowingly about my daughter, about how self-motivated she is and how she continues to make progress without plateau.
Because all of her testing was average, for the first time in our IEP history the words Special Day Class wasn't even brought up! She doesn't need it! She will go to regular, general ed kindergarten next year. Luckily, our school district offers an amazing two-year kindergarten for kids born June-November, who would otherwise be the youngest kids in the class, to give them an extra year of kindergarten, an extra year of growth. This is what I am going to enroll A in....to give her the gift of an extra year. She needs an extra year of growth, both physically and language-wise. Plus, it gives her an extra year at home when it's time for her to graduate high school. Her first year of life was spent in the hospital and doctor's appointments, so we get to make up that year during her teens.
So, she will go to a half-day kindergarten next year, then transition to a full-day kindergarten the following year. These are the therapies she will receive:
30 minutes, once a week, of speech therapy
30 minutes, twice a week, of deaf/hard-of-hearing therapy
30 minutes, once a week, of occupational therapy
30 minutes, once a week, of physical therapy
30 minutes, twice a week, of adapted P.E.
Some of her therapies will be pull-out (meaning they will take her out of the classroom for 1:1 time) and some of her therapies will be push-in (meaning the therapist will work with her in the classroom, which will be great for things like speech). She does not qualify for vision therapy or resource class (although she never has qualified for either of these!) Her qualifying diagnosis will remain "other health issues" as she has so many medical issues, with deaf/hard-of-hearing as a secondary diagnosis.
Another thing I was pleased with is that she qualifies for an FM system, which is a system that will have the teacher wear a microphone around her neck and the sound will transmit directly into her hearing aid. This will be great for her hearing, especially since she'll be in a noisy class with up to 25 other kids.
All in all, I am very pleased. I am beaming as I write this. My daughter is a miracle...and I can't wait to see her thrive next year in elementary school!
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