Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
I have the annual Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting next week for my nonverbal son Matthew. He is currently in sixth grade and turning thirteen at the end of June. This transition into Middle School started with a visit to the School before starting, some planning although a rocky start at the beginning of the school year.
I learned some Purposeful Communication Techniques at a LAUSD meeting early in the year that I shared with Matthew's aide. The first week and month of school was a positive update.
I sent along in Matthew's backpack his communication device and Strategies at Hand book, plus the book on how to Improve Speech and Eating Skills. Since Matthew is still on a wait list with the assigned Speech Therapist at the School the book was not really used and returned to me.
The teacher utilizes on a weekly basis the Visual Recipe Cookbook for Non Readers for cooking. He recently mentioned at the parent/teacher meeting this was the most useful book I had loaned him this school year.
I have had issues with the report card system as mentioned in School Issues to Focus on in 2009 and will be addressing these at the IEP with the General Education Teacher. I met her briefly at the back to school event at the start of the school year, but this will be the first opportunity to discuss with her what is taking place in Horticulture and how the curriculum is adapted for Matthew.
I sent a letter to the school counselor requesting a copy of the related services log/provider monthly notes. Unfortunately the Occupational Therapist did not include notes in her log. She did contact me the other day to go over the IEP issues and thinks that Matthew has met his goals and she is considering Consult with teacher next year. I heard the same thing back when Matthew was in fourth grade. The services used to be weekly with the last two years occurring twice a month.
Last year was the triennial IEP and I waived the assessments due to the lateness of the IEP and having placement issues. Now I wish I had that Occupational Therapy assessment, but will not be signing the IEP and will request an assessment before the service is changed. I searched around to find out what Occupational Therapy entails through LAUSD and found this position paper that I printed out to bring along to the meeting.
I also printed out the position papers for Speech and Adaptive Physical Education. I could file a State Complaint on not receiving Speech per Matthew's IEP. I will get more information at the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on a Due Process Pilot Program and then the IEP meeting two days later.
I am bringing the file containing all the daily report forms to go over progress for the year. In my file will be the report cards for the school year so we can discuss this in depth. The teacher indicated to me that the other choices for an elective are computer or art. We both agreed Computer would be the best choice for Matthew. I do think the year of Horticulture has been fun and rewarding for him.
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