Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An IEP Update

Today we had a very nice and lovely IEP meeting with Elizabeth teacher and special needs team. I am optomistic that Elizabeth will struggle, but succeed once we move. We discussed the fact that had we moved last year, the team would have worried because she wasn't ready to move or handle change. Now though, we are all confident that she is going to do well and will succeed.

We agreed to set up SKYPE for Elizabeth and this way she can talk to Mrs. Silveous the first few weeks or so while she gets readjusted. While we have some areas that need some work - like her gender pronoun confusion and we are still working a little bit on the TH sound. She's learning how to stand up for herself - some days are better than other, but we are making progress. We have agreed that the first few weeks in her new school we should do a half day or so as she gets to know her teachers and her new classmates.

We also learned something very touching. Mrs. Silveous shared with us that she chose to pursue her Master's Degree in Special Education because of Elizabeth. I didn't realize that the school was at a loss on how to deal with Elizabeth when I chose it and she first entered Spaght. They did a good job of making me believe in Mrs. Silveous and that she could handle Elizabeth's needs. Might I add, she did so with amazing clarity. She got in there rolled up her sleeves and she got the job done. She implemented the happy face/sad face for each activity. She had Elizabeth's day broken down into small sections - she looked into different ways to help Elizabeth. This was all in Elizabeth's first year of public school and Kindergarten. She looked at the teachers who would or wouldn't be a good fit for Elizabeth. Too strict would mean Elizabeth would dig her heels in and do nothing to help herself, but a teacher who is too nice isn't good for her either. Elizabeth is very smart and she would have worked a teacher who was too nice and manipulated him/her into getting what she wanted. So each year we've met and discussed who would be a good teacher for Elizabeth in the next grade. Mrs. Silveous has been Elizabeth's guardian angel at Spaght and honestly, I'm not quite sure how we will get along without her.

On an extremely positive note, Elizabeth has gone from reading only 6 words a minute to being able to read 50 words a minute with only 5 errors! That is a 72% improvement from the beginning of the year to now. And I was so concerned about the possiblity that she might not be able to read last year.

The first IEP is the toughest for you when you are just beginning to realize that your child has special needs. There is no more delusions that your child is fine; the thin veneer of denial you live in is gone and you must face that your child needs help and it's more than you can give to her. Chris and I were talking about when we left the first meeting we ever had with a special needs team and how it felt like our insides had been ripped out and trampled on. However, diagnosis is the first step and once this occurs it opens the door to services that your child might not otherwise receive.

I hope you all have a good evening and a good week.

Love in Christ,
Maureen

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