Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
At the end of May the annual Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting was held for my nonverbal son Matthew. At the time he was finishing sixth grade, his first year as a Middle School student at a public Middle School Campus in a Mental Retardation Severe (MRS) classroom.
The transition from an all boys autism class for four years in an Elementary school went very well. Last year there were two other boys in the class, yet they graduated so Matthew is the sole boy in his seventh grade class.
At the IEP the Adaptive Physical Education teacher was not present. Her goal was not acceptable to me so that had to be changed and approved by the IEP team. The Occupational Therapist (OT) wanted to put Matthew on a consult basis with the teacher twice a month.
I agreed to waiving the triennial assessments the prior year at his triennial IEP during fifth grade. The IEP date was changed a few times because we were not able to get information on the Middle School choices and what was still available for Matthew. Therefore, I felt it was imperative that an assessment by the OT be done before determining Matthew no longer needs direct Therapy from an OT and moved to consult with teacher.
I indicated this at the IEP meeting last May and all agreed the OT would stay-put until the amended IEP would be held this school year. We also received non-public services (NPS) for speech therapy compensation from the fifth and sixth grade years. We were told that Matthew would be on the list for services in the seventh grade and no longer on a waiting list.
Before school started I received a phone call from the Special Education department at the Middle School about the IEP date. I asked what the time range was for this meeting since she wanted to schedule it a week after school started. Once I learned we had until mid October I declined the date given and said I wanted to wait for school to commence to not rush the Assessment.
About two weeks after school started I heard from last year's OT who stated she had started the assessment last June and let me know she was now finished. We set the meeting for October 7th, which I mentioned when the new Speech Therapist called due to my writing a note to the Teacher asking if Speech had started yet.
I requested the Speech therapist to take part in the IEP as well so we can create a new IEP goal. The current goal is a carry-over from his fourth grade IEP - the last year a Speech therapist attended an IEP meeting for Matthew.
We started the NPS Speech therapy services in August, going one day per week for one hour. I bring the Communication Device for the therapist to utilize with Matthew. Two times we had a different therapist due to scheduling conflict. Matthew took to the first therapist who also had blonde hair, but the last week he was running out of the room a few times before the therapist requested I join them in the room.
I mentioned to this therapist about the upcoming Amended IEP meeting and how I wanted to get a summary of Matthew's progress to include in the meeting and if they had any input for a new Speech goal. I also shared with this therapist about the Occupational Therapy assessment and why this had taken place. She was also surprised to learn that OT was wanting to change to consult basis. I asked for her to add any concerns on this matter as well.
In the daily report forms from school the Teacher makes note which days therapy takes place. I will be bringing this along to the Amended IEP to make sure I have all the dates OT and Speech have serviced Matthew thus far this school year. Matthew's self-help IEP goal is on zipping up his jacket. We made this goal in May when a jacket was not needed. Every morning Matthew has done this without prompting. After I get his shoes on he automatically goes and puts on his jacket and zips it up. Last year I had to help with both tasks. The teacher mentioned in the notes that Matthew has been doing this so I wrote back that we need to come up with a new self-help goal at this amended IEP.
A good reminder note for all parents is when you have been notified of an IEP meeting do a letter to the School requesting the logs or records of the therapist. This will show the dates service was done and may include what activities took place. These logs will help make sure all the hours were covered and if not, compensatory hours should be discussed before finalizing the IEP.
Please also note that the amended date of an IEP is not the new annual date for IEPs. This is just covering a small portion of the IEP that will be incorporated with the annual IEP. One year I had six IEPs between both my children. You do not need to wait for the annual IEP to request one.
What is Occupational Therapy in the Educational Setting - Carmel Clay Schools
OT for Children with autism - review of the DVD
Occupational Therapy in Educational Settings Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - American Occupational Therapy Association Fact Sheet
Demonstrating the Value of OT for children with autism - The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA)
LAUSD - supports and services
Amending IEPs - Seattle Schools
IEPs - Northwest Area Education Agency
Sample IEP Amendment Form - State of Missouri
Wrightslaw - School Tips
Sample IEP Goals - O.A.S.I.S. - Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support
IEP Online Training - California schools
IEP Training - Untangle autism