April 19, 2010

Great Meeting!!!

The meeting at the elementary school went so well! What a relief! Ms. Raegan had a list of her concerns, which were identical to my own. She showed me his vocabulary and overall language scores and said exactly what I say. She said he has an amazing vocabulary bank for his age and uses unusually long sentences, which makes it even harder to decode what he's saying with his ineffective articulation. Instead of trying to decode, "I want milk" you're having to decode something along the lines of, "I want milk in the Iron Man cup because he's my favorite super hero even though I haven't seen the movie yet because I'm too young." So all of that sounded great. His scores were above average in all language areas except articulation and conversational articulation is what they will focus on in his preschool time. They'll start with isolation articulation and move to phrases and the conversations.

We all laughed at the accuracy of the assessment of his speech delay that I gave her over the phone (I suppose she didn't know yet that I had been a special ed gal myself at one time) because I had told her that others can understand him about 30% of the time. She said, "You were so right! I calculated understanding him exactly 32% of the time! That's almost exactly what you predicted! Wow!" And my list of sounds in the different positions was identical to hers as well. I had already given him the standard assessments that she gave him and had a clear idea of what the deal was. But I decided not to barge in like Super Mom and tell her how it was going to be, so I kept all of my statistical data to myself unless she asked, and even then didn't tell her how I had gathered it up so accurately.

The teacher was so well organized and addressed my major concerns without me even having to ask. What I wanted to see was a list of measurable objectives and a time line for improvement. Basically, I wanted to know what she expected to accomplish in what span of time. She's thinking that within a year, he'll be caught up on his 3 sounds that are behind for his age and be able to use them properly within at least 30 mixed sentences with 90% accuracy within 3 separate sessions. All of this pleases me. Then she added that once he has mastered those that are age appropriate, they will assess what look like potential trouble sounds down the line and go ahead and start working on those in advance. This means that sounds like /sh/ and /ch/ that are not considered to be commonly mastered before the age of 6, but that many kids can say well before then will be assessed and addressed before he's actually 6 so that his habits don't get so set in stone before they fix them.

I like it all. I am super pleased with the teach, the principal, the class format, and the overall plan. The IEP was detailed to my satisfaction and they are super comfortable with our choice to home school and are willing to have him there the minimum amount of time to meet his needs and then release him when we're all happy with his success! All is well! Looks like I worried a little for nothing. But seriously, having worked in what I consider to have been the most dysfunctional special ed class on Earth, I am aware how how bad things can be and tend to make safeguarding against those things my top priority. After all, I wouldn't want him to learn how to pronounce things well only to use his new capacity for pronouncing swear words correctly or threatening other kids. I've seen it and it's ugly, but I have no doubt that this smart and compassionate woman has got her class in order and will nurture my little guy's mind and mouth in ways that I cannot.

So, when it was all said and done, we hit the DI to buy my little student a big boy backpack for school on Wednesday before popping into the doctor's office to get a copy of his immunization records. He's all ready to be a school boy. Kind of cute. I really never expected to get the joy of homeschooling and the funny first day of school weepiness at the same time. This is a good thing!

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