Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Getting Ready for an IEP

I'm getting ready for my son's 10th grade IEP. After homeschooling him through Junior High we now have him in High School. He is fully mainstreamed, without an assistant, with all college prep classes. My main goal is to prepare him to be as independent as possible while we still have the bubble of High School. I also want to make sure that he has the opportunity to learn and do well. So this is the list of educational concerns I have for G. (I always call them "considerations" in IEP's because I am very careful to use neutral language during IEP's, I may post on that another time.)

Educational Considerations for G Arnwine

Visual Learner:
G learns best by watching. It is important he has a clear view of the teacher and any demonstrations. Visual examples allow G to work independently.

Auditory Processing:
G does not always process all of the information he hears. He has learned to compensate by nodding & saying ‘yes’ or ‘OK’ when speaking to people. Note: he may not always realize he didn’t process what the teacher has told him. To be sure he understands directions or an explanation ask him to clarify for you or restate what you have said. You can ask him simple questions like:

  • “Tell me what you need to do.”
  • “What do you need to bring tomorrow?”
  • “How will you turn in your work?”
Background noise/ student distractions:
Because auditory processing is difficult for G it is very important that he not sit next to noisy students. If he tells you he can’t hear, or he can’t concentrate it will not get better, unless he is moved or the problem is dealt with.

Executive Functioning:
(Executive functions allow us to anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing situations. The ability to form concepts and think abstractly are often considered components of executive function. ) G is very good about doing assignments, he is conscientious and wants to do a good job. He may not know or remember how and when to turn in assignments especially if asked to do something in a manner that is not routine. This can be the case with make up assignments.

He needs help problem solving. What may seem like a simple solution to you may need to be spelled out for G. He has trouble connecting the dots.

Social Interaction:
G does not know how to initiate social interaction. This puts him at a disadvantage for group activities & partner quizzes he will need help getting into a group. This can be as simple as G why don’t you partner with _______ or G join group____.

G often interprets things people say literally. He often does not understand sarcasm. From time to time he has run into situations with his classmates that he will need help with. This also sets him up for bullying.

Social problems will affect G’s academic performance. G has problems focusing on more than one thing. If he is stuck trying to solve a social problem, he can’t focus on class work. We saw this first semester in Science.


Chynna said...

FANTASTIC, Bonnie. I just had an IEP meeting for Jaimie. This gives a great outline for what to tell the educators so it can all be included in the IEP.

Thanks for this. You reminded me that I have to get back in touch with our school as they haven't started any of the transitional stuff they PROMISED to for Jaimie. ;D


Sue from Oz said...

I think it's great too. We are going through the choosing a high school rigmarole at the moment, I haven't even begun to think about IEP type stuff

The Glasers said...

Will you need battle gear for this one? ;-)

Pamela is doing the "yes" and "right" thing now. For her language objective, we are working on encouraging her to listen, process, think, and formulate a fuller answer. That is how I learned yesterday that she used to eat Crispy Marshmallow Treats when she was a preschooler in Louisiana!

Bonnie said...

Thank you Chynna, I never leave it to the school to get in touch w/ me for transitional stuff. They tend to be very busy so I always initiate to make sure G doesn't fall through the cracks.

Sue, we chose to go with our local High School because kids from my son's church group are there. Also, it is the only High School in town! Good luck finding the best place for your son!

Tammy, I always have my battle gear on (Gal 6)! ;-) I don't anticipate any problems. I always tell everyone up front, "the IEP should run smooth as long as there are no surprises." In other words I tell them ahead of time what I want, if they plan on disagreeing w/ me they should send me an e-mail. So far this has been a good system.

Nancy said...

Very helpful. We really do have to spell things out this specifically!

Caitlin Wray said...

Bonnie, can I just say that you are a personal hero to me? I'm not being mushy. I'm being real. To have invested so much of yourself in your child, and to see the fruits of that labour in the truest sense...

To me, you define success as a mother, not because your son is in mainstream classes, without an assistant, or taking college prep classes - but because you knew all along that this is what he was capable of, and despite tremendous self sacrifice and barriers, you did what you had to do to get him there. Now he is growing into his own life to its full potential because of your relationship with him.

You know so many mothers of so-called normal kids never get to feel like this, that deep-down in your bones awareness that you have given your child the mother they needed, no matter how impossible it seemed some days. And in the end you don't resent or regret any of it, you just love them even more because of it. I admire you so deeply for this.

We have only homeschooled for (almost) one year and it was the best decision we could have made for Simon. I don't know what the future holds for us, as we have found a wonderful (private) school that would be a perfect fit for him, but it all hinges on gov't funding coming through for an assistant. I have done everything I can to get it for him, including contacting my local gov't reps and even tracking down the name of the bureaucrat who makes the final decision to lobby him personally. So I know that what is meant to be, will be.

But if we continue to homeschool, I will always have you and G, and the wings you've given him, in my thoughts to keep me strong.


LAA and Family said...

I'm in the same boat.. "getting ready for an IEP"!

I just finished the 3rd year of homeschooling my son. I serve on our county's local special education advisory committee to help stay informed of what is going on in the schools and after weighing all kinds of things have decided that I am going to try to put my son back into school. I will be starting the IEP process this month. I'm wondering where this is going to take us, I may be asking our school to go into "uncharted territory" as far as coming up with a truly INDIVIDUALIZED Education Plan! I don't want to give up educating him (and I know I don't have to completely), but this move is to help him in the direction of more independence.

I'm glad I'll have someone else to follow along with in this process!