Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Sep '10


On Friday John and I took Wes to his preschool classroom to meet his teacher and new speech therapist and to do an IEP. I have no idea what IEP stands for, but it amounts to goal setting and a bunch of paperwork. Starting preschool marks the transition for Wes from his therapy services for ages 0-3 into the services for school-aged kids. Now he’s part of the school district, and he’ll be there for a long time. He starts next week.

His teacher is a special education instructor and his class will have about nine kids, six with special needs and three typical. The special needs vary from the mildest speech delay on up. I think Wes will be the only kid in his class with Down syndrome.

I have heard glowing reports of his teacher, and I liked her when I met her. I think Wes will love preschool. While we spent an hour going over paperwork Wes got to explore the room and play with all the toys. Pretty much he was in heaven.

School will be 2 1/2 hours twice a week. If his teacher finds he would aid from more days a week then he’ll go more often. But he only qualifies for two days a week based on his test scores.

Wes will get picked up by a small school bus. In addition to the driver there is a helper who sings songs with the kids and brings toys for them to play with. I’ve heard that kids love riding the bus. It will also make the transition easier for both Wes and me since I won’t have to drop him off at school.

The schedule for his days looks like this:

11:00-11:05 Arrival and sign-in
11:05-11:25 Large group calendar/Singing time
11:25-11:50 Lunch/Independent book time
11:50-12:00 Large group story time
12:00-12:10 Large group lesson
12:10-12:50 Indoor play
12:50-1:00 Large group lesson
1:00-1:15 Centers/Small groups
1:15-1:30 Outdoor play/Gross motor skills work

I need to get Wes a backpack and a lunchbox or cooler. I can’t believe I’ll be packing him a lunch to eat away from home like a big boy when he’s still so little.

The IEP meeting involved me, John, his new teacher, his new speech therapist, his old occupational therapist, his old physical therapist, the typical preschool teacher, and a school representative. We sat in tiny chairs around a tiny table and talked about what help Wes qualifies for and what types of goals would be good to work on this year. Everything is documented on paper.

Last month Wes was evaluated by his therapists and, like I said, he scored well in many areas. Anything 7% or lower qualifies for special education and therapy services. Here’s what his results look like:

I. Social/Emotional Development 27%

II. Adaptive (self-help) Skills Development 14%

III. Physical/Motor Development
A. Gross
1. Stationary 37%
2. Locomotion 16%
B. Fine (Object Manipulation) 37%
C. Total 23%

IV. Language/Speech Development
A. Receptive 1%
B. Expressive 1%
C Total 1%

V. Cognitive Development 12%

So the only service he’ll be receiving especially is speech therapy, about 15 minutes each class.

Although he scored 12% in Cognitive Development, one of the subcategories was Perception and Concepts and he scored just 1% there. Not surprising to me. So they’ll be working with him on that. But he did well in the other subcategories: Attention and Memory (25%) and Reasoning and Academic Skills (37%).

Goals that his preschool teacher will work on with Wes this year:

1. Wesley will transition and remain in a requested area independently in 4/5 transitions across 3 successive sessions. (To begin, he will remain in a requested area with visual/verbal cues.)

2. Wesley will tolerate a variety of sensory stimuli and textures in 3/4 trials for 3 successive sessions.

3. Wesley will find a match for a variety of pictures and objects, including but not limited to colors and shapes, with 80% accuracy for 3 successive sessions.

4. Wesley will point to a requested picture or object including but not limited to shapes/colors with 80% accuracy for 3 successive sessions. (To begin, Wesley will match a variety of pictures and objects including but not limited to shapes/colors with 80% accuracy for 3 successive sessions.)

Goals that his speech therapist will work on with Wesley this year:

1. Wesley will correctly identify spatial concepts (e.g., in, on, out of, etc.) on 4/5 trials over 3 consecutive sessions. (To begin, Wesley will use 2-3 word phrases to identify/name objects including but not limited to spatial concepts on 4/5 trials over 3 consecutive sessions.)

2. Wesley will correctly name objects in pictures in 4/5 trials over 3 consecutive sessions.

3. Wesley will answer simple wh questions and yes/no questions with 80% accuracy over 3 consecutive sessions.

I’ll be interested to see him learn how to stay in his requested area (he’s so independent and adventurous), learn to point to requested objects (which is hard for him), and pick up more speech from being around other kids who talk. I also hope he’ll learn to not be afraid of the sound of scissors and tape because they’ll be using scissors every day in school.

So that’s preschool. And that’s our boy growing up.


2 Responses to “Preschool”

  1. Brinestone Says:

    IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. Any kid with special needs of any sort gets one; basically it’s a plan that the educator makes with the parent (and when appropriate, the child) to specify in which ways this child will be treated differently from “normal” children in order to maximize the effectiveness of his or her education.

  2. shannon Says:

    Thanks for the insight. You obviously earned your secondary education teaching degree. And deservedly so.

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