Friday, May 27, 2011

We Have the Best School District, Ever

Nolan wields The Force at his IEP meeting

Some people live in school districts where it is an absolute nightmare to obtain services. Our school district is the opposite of that scenario - the special education department is an absolute joy to work with.

Nolan's IEP meeting went smoothly, and we obtained some push-in services from his SLP. We also obtained direct services from a teacher-of-the-deaf (TOD) once per week. For the first time, we are adding some real sign language goals to his IEP. Swimming lessons have proved that Nolan cannot hear in the water, which presents a very real communication issue. He is in that odd in-between hearing level state: he can hear (sans aids) in a quiet environment for a distance of about 5 feet. In noise, he hears almost nothing. Since we can't waterproof his hearing aids, we need an alternate communication method - so we have put in a goal for understanding and producing 75 "survival" signs.

Obviously, Nolan continues to be very verbal, and he has an auditory learning style. His remaining goals are for using the FM system in the classroom, filling in those odd language gaps (which have been noted by his SLP and TOD), and eliminating some articulation errors.

Since Nolan has a few other health issues, those are also mentioned on the IEP. He won't be eating in the cafeteria in pre-K, since it is a half-day program. Nonetheless, they included the dietary restrictions into his IEP. His medical information is also included, since he fatigues easily. Nolan looks very healthy, but he will completely slump to the ground and have to be carried at times - particularly in the afternoon. This is just something we are monitoring - it could be related to his apneas at night, or it could be something else altogether. He did have one of his fatigue-slumps during the meeting - he slid off his chair and his tears began. He ended up on Dennis's lap, and a cookie made him feel better.

We had almost finished the meeting, when the Special Education Coordinator watched Nolan holding a crayon. We know he has some low muscle tone, particularly in his hands. This hasn't caused any delays yet, but she was concerned with his grip (fisting the crayon). He passed an OT evaluation last year, but the team at the meeting wasn't really convinced - so they wrote monitoring for fine motor delays into the IEP.

We got what we asked for (hearing and language services), and some things we didn't think to ask for (fine motor monitoring/evaluation). The school district team really, really cares about their children - this is probably why we have the highest elementary school test scores in the region. The staff goes out of their way to ensure that every child has the best opportunity to learn and succeed.

I am so excited for Nolan to start Pre-K next year - we know he is going to excel in our amazing school district!


Herding Grasshoppers said...

Leah, that's GREAT news! And no one deserves some good news more than you guys :D


Terena said...

that is fantastic. it's such a blessing when the team works with you, not against.

rouchi said...

Nothing could be better than having a school understanding the needs and standing by you all the way.Am so GLAD for you both !! We had such a tough time in India and then here.Hopefully we would have better experience in the next grade too.

TheSweetOne said...

Great news! It's so exciting to know the IEP team is actually looking out of the best interests of your child. Not sure we'll be so lucky so I am turning a little green. Nice that they caught the OT/fine motor issues that are developing and can get on it right away! Kudos to you too Mom for being in it with him.

Melanie said...

Hi, Leah -- you left a really nice comment on my blog a long time ago (my son James has hearing loss from auditory neuropathy), and I've enjoyed checking in on you and your beautiful little guys since then! Many thanks for sharing your experiences -- it helped me to know some of what to expect in the early days. Anyhow, I'm glad your IEP meeting went well -- that's fantastic that your school district is so supportive! Also, you may know this already, but apparently Siemens is coming out with waterproof hearing aids: I'm sure they'll be insanely expensive, but it's kind of nice to know that at least there's an option out there for kids who might want to do more in the water. Best of luck with everything!

milesmom said...

I'm so glad your district is easy to work with. And so sorry to hear about Nolan's reflux issues. I always laugh a little when friends say, "It must be so hard to deal with Miles' hearing issues." I can only think, "Not nearly as hard as it's going to be dealing with him when he's a teenager..."
With everything that other parents have to deal with, (open heart surgery, complex syndromes, learning issues, ADHD), I can only count my blessings.