Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The IEP Meeting

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have huge respect for teachers, especially after today's IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting for Nikko's qualification and goal setting for preschool. I know it's their job to work with students, teach them and follow a curriculum, but at this preschool level it boggles my mind that there are people who have buckets full of patience to deal with kids that aren't even theirs. Nikko can't even talk yet, would rather not give you the time of day and will become Noodleman if you pick him up against his will, but these teachers help put a plan in place with measurable goals and a gosh darn upbeat attitude to meet those goals for Nikko. There's a lot of paperwork to read, things to fill out, doctor appointments to make (and for me, too. Cracked a filling on macadamia nuts.) and deadlines to drop off stuff. I'm excited for Nikko. These are the goals that were outlined in our meeting:

Nikko will sort a variety of preacademic functional objects (i.e. colors, shapes, familiar objects, animals) into a field of 3, in 4/5 trials by June 2010.

Nikko will participate appropriately in routine structured small group activities with no more than 2 verbal/picture cues, for 6 minutes, in 4/5 trials by June 2010.

In the classroom setting, Nikko will follow 10 different 1-step directions in 4/5 trials by June 2010. (i.e. wave hi/bye to peers, follow commands like Sit Down, Stop)

In the classroom setting, Nikko will independently use signs, gestures, pictures and/or words to express wants/needs in 8/10 trials by June 2010.

In the classroom setting, when given an individual picture schedule, Nikko will independently transition between activities 75% of the time by June 2010.

In the classroom setting, Nikko will demonstrate the following 2/2 of the following skills 1) respond to his name (turn, look) 2) respond appropriately to greetings from peers or adult independently in 4/5 trials by June 2010.

Upon arrival to the classroom with visual cues as needed, Nikko will take off his coat and backpack and place them in the appropriate locations on 4 out of 5 opportunities by June 2010.

In the classroom at small group center time, Nikko will be able to perform the following skills in 4 out of 5 trials by June 2010: 1) complete a 6 to 8 insert puzzle 2) string 5 beads 3) color with approximation a simple picture with 60% coverage.

Amazing! To think that these teachers think Nikko might be able to accomplish some of these things in a year! That they are going to help him do these things is even more amazing. Humbles me, truly. During the meeting Nikko was quietly lining up toy cars on the table. I started pushing a few sideways when his back was turned and he simply fixed them, or filled in the gaps with new cars. Everyone at the table was watching but weren't surprised. One teacher even remarked that his behavior is very typical of autistic kids, so they are not unfamiliar with the behaviors. Kathy Winters, the speech therapist and co-teacher, really likes Nikko and thinks he's so cute she wants to eat him up. I think that helped put him in her favor to be in her classroom along with Miss McCarthy, because there were 3 possible classrooms he'd end up with. I hoped he'd be with those two because he's familiar with them and their classroom setting. When I asked how Nikko ended up with them, they both kind of looked around and said something about class sizes and it's just how it ended up. I'm thinking there was a little clout going on that they wanted Nikko to be in their class, and I HOPE SO! I am really glad I went online last night to look up some sample IEPs so I had an idea of the verbiage that they would use. I jotted down some tasks and milestones that Nikko needed to work on, and worried about how they would be addressed in the meeting. I didn't have to worry because Miss Winters laid out the plan as they saw it during their observations, and I was comfortable with it because it touched on a few key areas I hoped Nikko would improve upon: speech, responding to his name, usage of Picture Communication System, and attention span/focus. These are big areas of improvement for him and if a team of teachers are going to help him achieve these goals, then I'll add them to the list of people for whom I am eternally grateful.

Luisa and Dennis took on Ronin and Audrey during all this so we went to pick them up, very beholden to them for babysitting. Everything else was pretty normal at home, except for some increased fighting over a little silver plane that was abducted from the Penepacker's house. Also, Nikko didn't eat much dinner at all. He didn't go for the leftover quesadilla or the pasta ravioli. I'll have to make more organic mac & cheese, but will also need to buy more from either Whole Foods or see what the organic section @ Jewel looks like in this arena. At bedtime Nikko was hauling around a lot of things to bed: two burp cloths, Signing Time DVD and two airplanes, one silver and one red. I wonder if the activities of today are causing him to crash more or seek comfort in familiar items. Tomorrow we don't have anything on the calendar, but I need to move forward on those school forms. I hope the boys stay in a good mood so that I can open up the play tent in the living room. It's been awhile since they've sat in it. Can't say Audrey will like it.


  1. Mich,

    Great goals for Nikko. I think he will be able to reach these goals with the consistency of the classroom and the efforts of the teachers and wonderful parents. It amazing how structure in a classroom setting can produce great outcomes. I like the 1 step direction goal because we can all help with that as well as responding to his name. You may even want to consider giving Nikko a consisitent place at home to hang his coat(put a coat hook at his level with his picture/name next to the hook) to enforce his IEP goal. You will have to do HOH at first, but he will catch on. Let me know know if you need anything.

  2. This past week I finally put up another row of coat rack hooks by the bathroom, at kid level, for that very reason. Putting his picture there is a great idea. Right now his bus harness is hanging, very lonely, on the rack. We're going to have to get him to get used to that. Drears. Anyway, thanks for the feedback!
    p.s. thanks again for the picture schedule boards. Nikko hasn't been using them the way they are intended just yet, but he will!