Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Finding the Right Path

Leah has her CSE meeting this week.

We will be setting up her plan for school next year.

These meetings usually bring parents lots of stress.  Most of the time the stress is relieved shortly after the meeting is over; when the committee who is working on the plan comes to agreement about what they feel is the best education plan and goals for the child.

Usually most of the stress is unwarranted. 

Sometimes it's not.

Luckily, we live in a district where those meetings are as comfortable as could be.

There's always a little sadness when talking about your child's special needs, but our district tries to give us hope.  They work to better the children.  Test scores are just part of the plan.  Our district is more focused on helping to develop positive and productive members of society, who reach for the stars and find their true potential, than passing tests.

They do this for all of the children, in every grade, whether or not they have special needs.

We are blessed.

So Leah's meeting…

I am having a hard time trying to figure out the best path for her.

Leah's skills are very scattered and if she has a particularly tough day it is hard to get her to focus without a lot of intervention and prompting.

When she has a good day though, she is on!  She doesn't need much help, she can follow along with her routine, and she even initiates communication!  Good days are very good!

Tough days are very tough.

I have noticed when Leah has less assistance at home, her dance class, and church classes, she usually does pretty well.  She does need strict discipline, but once those lines are drawn between adult and child, she gets it.

For example…

The dance teacher's assistant was out of town for a week.

Leah didn't have anyone to rely on to help her or redirect her.  She had to listen to her teacher and she was expected to behave.

It was her best week at dance!


At church her class is small and she is often at her teacher's side.  When she goes to group activities she is also usually sitting right next to a teacher.

A few weeks ago I explained to her teacher that we are tough on Leah and when she is naughty, she gets into trouble.  I told her that we expect her to behave and mind her manners.  

The next week her teacher was a little "tougher".

It was one of her best weeks at church!


When the bathroom door is open, Leah is completely self-sufficient going potty (although she sometimes finds herself trying Mama's make-up out).

When the bathroom door is closed, she often needs help.

It's like she can't do it on her own, even though we all know she can, when that door is closed.

I just realized this was the connection yesterday and we will now always have the door open. J

Her fine and gross motor skills are her worst skills, they always have been.  I am wondering if she just gets discouraged by not being able to turn the door knob to the bathroom, so she shuts down and won't do much by herself.

But when she has the ability to be independent, she usually is.

I saw a sample of an IEP in which the child had her therapies pushed in, or in small groups, at particular times of the day.

This girl's IEP had her PT at gym or lunch.  Her OT was there to help with her seat work exercises.  Her speech therapist was with her during circle time, or other group activities.

This allowed for the child to be fully included into a regular ed. classroom.

Leah will be in a blended classroom  and 1/2 of the children will have special needs and the other 1/2 won't.

There will be a regular ed. teacher, a special ed. teacher, and an aid in the class.

I kinda think that's enough help.

I'm not really feeling the need for a 1:1 aid.

But on those tough days…

I'm afraid she will be too disruptive to the class.

I don't want her to shut down when things get tough, and not have anyone there to wake her back up.

I want to give her space but I don't want to frustrate her.

I was thinking about giving her the first 10 weeks to adjust.

I know the first 4-5 weeks will be hard.  But maybe on the 6th or 7th week she'll come around?

Maybe if she's given time to learn the routine and adjust to all of the new changes she will excel?

Maybe if she sees other kids trying to figure it out too because of the newness of kindergarten for all of the students, she will learn with them?

But then there's those really tough days…

It's always so hard to know what will be the best plan for your child, especially when they have such a huge gap in skills.

Leah's academic skills are great!

But the rest…