December 27, 2011

Mrs. Nice Pants

No more Mrs. Nice Pants.  My buddy's teachers are about to see the Mama and Papa Bear come out of hibernation.  I've been concerned about the amount of speech therapy my buddy was receiving at school.  We recently had an informal meeting with his teacher and speech therapist about it and the response we got was - we're still getting to know him.

My mom is in town and she also happens to be a retired Special Education Teacher.  We talked about what my buddy was receiving - she couldn't believe how little speech therapy he was getting.   I also showed her the IEP (which they never reviewed with me, just stuck into my buddy's backpack one day) and apparently a lot of the goals are poor.

The most frustrating thing as a parent is I don't speak special ed.  I am more than willing to fight for what he needs, but I need a professional to help me figure out what he needs.  Silly me thought his teacher and team of specialists would be there for me and want to do everything they can to help my buddy succeed. 

The good news is my mom still has many friends in the education field and we will have no problem finding an advocate to help us.  She will know the proper words to use and what is reasonable to ask for... and fight for if it comes to that.

I really wanted to have a positive experience our first year in school with no battles.  I assumed the school would offer everything they could giving my buddy the opportunity he needs to grow and learn.  The rose colored glasses are off.

December 12, 2011


My buddy had his first parent teacher conference last week.  I have gotten very used to having my buddy assessed by Birth to 3.  I never expect him to perform above age range and I am thrilled when he does something on a typical timeline.  Birth to 3 concentrated on areas he needed help with in a more clinical way.

I'm not sure if my buddy's preschool teacher is more lenient or she is looking at him in a very different light.  There are 30 different Performance Standards in which he has been observed and assessed on.  Only 3 of those he performed at a less than 3 year old range.  Of course those all dealt with communication.  Over half he was rated at a 3 year old level and three areas he performs at a 4 year old level.

Of course my favorite is 'Shows empathy and caring for others.'  He has been known to approach crying children and give them a gentle rub on the back - even if he is the reason they are crying.

I don't want to underestimate my buddy and I think he is doing great at school, but the more I think about his progress report, the more I wonder about it.  At first I was over the moon.  Finally a report that shows how amazing he is. 

I don't know a lot about typical behavior of a 3 year old, but I'd be willing to bet most can 'use words to express emotions or feelings' and 'sustains attention to task' and 'uses writing to convey meaning' at a higher level than my buddy.  Yet he was assessed at a 3 year old level in all these areas. 

I know in the big picture none of these things matter.  My buddy will make it through school fine - doing better in some areas than other areas.  As long as he continues to show empathy and caring for others, I'm fine with whatever assessments come our way.