May 24, 2011

Pre-Kindergarten IEP

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 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!


  1. Great recap. Our first ever IEP for C is in two weeks. I would love any advice you have. A is totally doing awesome but she has a great mom to set an example.

  2. That is awesome! How great that you KNEW what was best and she made spectacular progress. Glad you came out feeling good about her IEP.

  3. Glad to hear everyone was on the same page with what was in your daughter's best interests! Interesting to read a parent perspective; I'm a school psychologist in NJ. Just curious- do CA schools typically provide vision therapy to special education students? That's not something provided by my district as it is considered to fall under the medical umbrella moreso than education.

  4. Yes, if they qualify for the therapy as determined by a vision therapist. Here is a link:

  5. we had our first IEP this year. i was pretty pleased as well, i was expecting it to be a very difficult process. but then again, haley is only 3, im sure as she gets older and moves into the public school system it will get more difficult. right now she goes to a 1/2 day daycare and her "teachers" come to her. im glad you were pleased with this year's outcome!

  6. Congrats!!! When you say deaf/hard of hearing therapy do you mean with an audiologist? Also, will her PT and OT be school based or clinic based?

    I'm always curious to hear what other Districts are doing/offering.


  7. No, she's not an audiologist, although she works closely with one. She is an audiology expert though. She's been doing "listening" therapy all year with my daughter, reading stories, doing phoneme distinction, helping with directions and sequencing, etc. As for OT/PT, yes they are school based!

  8. Congrats to A and all of her hard work paying off!! What a sense of accomplsihment. I just love it when IEP's swing our way so I know y'all must've been thrilled. Here's to a fabulous 2011-2012 school year for her!!

  9. I think you need to change your blog name from "Grateful Mama" to "PROUD Mama"!! It's really great that the meeting went so well for A - from what you've written about her all this time she really seems like an amazing little girl!

  10. I am so happy for your family! This is great news and encouragement to other parents. Thanks for posting so much information and for answering questions. If I may add...

    Services for students who meet eligibility as vision impaired or hearing impaired are provided by specially-certified teachers - not therapists. Not being picky, but if other parents go looking for services and use the therapy-word, they are likely to not get what they expect.

    Also want to share the blog of this Mom whose daughter has similar 'diagnoses' as dd but is now a teen. She is also in CA but north of you.


  11. That's really great to hear! :) So happy that everything is working out for you and your family. And I agree, Grateful Mama = PROUD Mama!!

  12. Awesome news!!! So glad to hear that little A is doing so remarkably well!! (Not that I'm surprised at all!)


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