Yesterday I attended IEP meetings for both Alex and Aden. The purpose of Alex’s IEP meeting was his annual review of IEP goals. The purpose of Aden’s IEP meeting was to discuss results from his articulation testing. Although placement for next year wasn’t on the agenda, I knew it was going to come up which is probably why I was more anxious about this meeting than past meetings.
Alex’s annual review was smooth-sailing. He continues to make progress on every goal and no longer qualifies for OT services. Wow. His teacher Ms. Katie talked about how much he has grown up. It’s hard to believe I will have 5 year-olds in just 5 months. Alex passed his kindergarten readiness test with flying colors and will be attending a typical kindergarten classroom next year. For the remainder of the school year, Alex will be joining the typical preschool class for both academics and opportunities for socialization. He starts Monday- yikes! I am overwhelmed with joy when I think about how far he has come. Years of early intervention have paid off. I’m so proud of him (Insert tears of joy!).Switching gears to Aden’s IEP…
As I listened to Aden’s SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) go over the articulations results, I fought to hold back tears. I wasn’t surprised by the results. I listen to Aden everyday; I know his limitations. He’s talking more but it’s still hard to understand him which affects his ability to communicate and socialize with others. It makes me sad that he struggles with something that comes so naturally to others. I feel powerless because I cannot help him. It’s the worse feeling a parent can have.
Aden was given the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation. Scores between 85-115 are considered within the average range. Aden scored a 62, putting him in the 3rd percentile. For intelligibility rating, he scored poor on single words and connected speech. His sound errors included substitution and omission, which means he’s either using a different letter in place of the correct letter or he’s leaving it out entirely. For example, if Aden says “up”, it sounds like “ut” so he’s replacing the “p” with a “t”. We’ve been working on this with him. After repeating the word with the correct end sound, he is able to correctly pronounce the word, so there’s hope!Finally Aden used many phonological processes or speech error patterns including gliding, stopping, consonant cluster reduction, deaffrication, fronting, and final consonant deletion. I’m not going to define all of these. If you’re interested, google is a wonderful tool. In a nut shell, Aden has a lot of issues pertaining to speech which will take years of speech therapy to correct. To get started, articulation goals were added to his IEP.
Recently Aden started receiving private speech on Saturdays. His SLP, Karen is working on a new method of speech therapy with him called PROMPT. PROPMT is a tactile approach to speech therapy and since Aden doesn’t have any aversions to touch, he is responding well to it. I searched “What is PROMPT?” and found this great guest blog: http://heatherspeechtherapy.com/2013/02/prompt-prompts-for-restructuring-oral-muscular-phonetic-targets-guest-blog-post-by-kendra-egan-author-of-the-blog-the-speech-and-language-lady/
After discussing articulation goals, I was asked about my recent visits to the typical kindergarten classroom and the special-needs kindergarten classroom. Both visits went well. I could see benefits to each program. However at this point, I feel it is important for Aden to be around typical peers in a structured learning environment. He needs to see how other kids behave in an academic setting. After kindergarten comes first grade. There is no special-needs first grade so why not expose him to a larger class next year and get him used to it. The typical kindergarten classroom offers Aden the least restrictive environment (LRE) which I’ve come to learn is the biggest factor when determining placement.
After hearing my thoughts, my team proposed trying Aden out in the same typical preschool classroom as Alex for the duration of the school year. I’m on board with this. I’m hoping Aden does well. If not, I’m sure this will hurt his chances of getting placement in a typical kindergarten classroom. But no need to cross that bridge just yet…stay tuned for IEP Part II.