So, the IEP meeting we expected to be “meh” was anything but. The biggest piece of news came about 2/3’s of the way through the meeting when the AT evaluator arrived with The Device. ((FYI, it’s the SpringboardLite, he will get the VantageLite in July.)) That’s huge but the other parts of the meeting were even better and I am saying that sincerely not sarcastically, as I am wont to do.
We did not spend hours going over the reports that they had written which is typical of these meetings. I’ve never really understood why they would write a report, present it to us 48 hours in advance and then proceed to read it to us at the meeting. I know they have to do the first two but it seems like such a waste of time reading them aloud at the meeting. It is primarily why our IEP meetings tend to stretch unnecessarily into 3 hour marathons. So we skipped it. They assumed we’d done our homework and we had. We’re suck-ups that way.
Each of the evaluators started by asking us if we had any questions about what they’d provided. We didn’t really have any questions. The reports were all very well written which shouldn’t be noteworthy, given the fact that they’re written by teachers, but it is. I’ve been shocked by some of the reports and IEPs we’ve seen in the past. Hello, spell check anyone? (Cheeses priced! My thoughts always run this way…as do my conversations…another reason that our IEP meetings tend to stretch unnecessarily into 3 hour marathons, ahem.)
Back to the subject at hand. The reports were well written. They started with the assumption that we’d read them and we just jumped right to the question and answer sessions. They each made sure to hit the highlights of the reports. We asked his teacher to take some additional notes and write up yet another letter for our developmental pediatrician. I think we’re going to try to skip to the Focalin sooner rather than later since Monkey’s emotional fragility has not eased. In fact, he was so emotional last Friday that the teacher worried about him all night. She called us on Saturday to check on him. I love her. He was fine.
I mentioned that the reports were a bit depressing, the numbers are not what any parent wants to hear. 1 percentile ranking in skills is heartbreaking no matter how many times you’ve seen it. What was amazing to us though was the reason for this. Want to know why the numbers were low? Because for the first time ever, in his life, he was able to tolerate standardized tests. He sat through entire tests and remained focused. He didn’t melt down. He sat down for long periods of time and responded to direct questions. Totally unprecedented. They didn’t even plan on using standardized tests when we talked in April because no one thought he’d ever be able to handle it. And he DID IT! I am so amazed and proud of him.
They also used observations of him in the classroom and knowledge they possess because they have been working with him directly for 2 years now and included that information in the reports as well to give a more accurate picture of his abilities since the standardized tests did not. Both the ST and the OT commented on the fact that there were lots of times when they couldn’t give him credit for an answer because he didn’t quite do it correctly even though he understood what they were asking. For example, there was a picture of a kitchen with lots of forks hidden in it. He was told to circle the forks. His fine motor skills are enough of a struggle for him that drawing the circles was taking up way too much of his focus so the OT had him POINT at the forks and she marked them. Twice she had to mark him as giving incorrect answers because he pointed to a knife once and a spoon once but she didn’t want to mark it down because even though he’d pointed at it, he’d done so while shaking his head no. He told her they weren’t forks but because he touched them she had to record them as incorrect responses. See why standardized tests suck?
The teacher had also administered the ABLLS, we’ll be getting a copy of the results soon…she forgot to bring them. She was AMAZED by how well he did. He is showing huge gains in his skills in all areas and there are a lot of “emerging” skills that we’ll work toward mastering. She also noted that he’s made huge gains in his pre-academic areas. His pre-literacy and math skills have made big jumps in the last two months so she had to re-write some of his goals. TWO MONTHS!
So, the percentile rankings…meh…we knew that they wouldn’t give us a good picture of his abilities but the very fact that he could sit and take them is amazing. He’s showing huge gains everywhere. He’s even started talking in SENTENCES this week. I wish all our IEP meetings went like this!