Sunday, June 7, 2009

Our First IEP

On Friday, we attended Quinn's first Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting with the school district. This was a meeting to discuss Quinn's eligibility for special education services, the transition from early intervention to special education, and the specific goals and services provided to meet those goals. Quinn is not turning three until September, but our school district wanted to have the initial meeting now, before folks leave for summer vacations. I'm a plan-ahead type of person, so that worked well for me.

Years ago I attended IEPs as a support person for others in a professional capacity, and so I know they can be contentious meetings. As we told friends and professionals about our upcoming IEP, they advised us to make sure we knew our rights and be prepared to advocate.

I'm happy to report that the meeting went very well and was entirely drama free. What a relief! And they offered to give Quinn everything we'd want him to have (except PT, which they admitted they should have evaluated for, and will be evaluating for asap). 

There were, however, a few odd/sad moments.

First, the odd moment. At the very beginning of the meeting, when they asked the school psychologist to report on Quinn's eligibility for services, she seemed tentative as she said, "Quinn has significant global developmental delays which do qualify him for services [pause] which is consistent with [pause] a diagnosis of [pause] mental retardation." Then everyone in the room looked at Zac and me, seemingly wondering, "Are they gonna cry?" So I just said, "'s not a surprise." And the meeting continued.

Then a couple of sad moments. The first goal they wrote for Quinn, which he is to accomplish over the next year, is to make a chain consisting of X number (can't remember) of large beads on a thick rope. Quinn has had big beads and a thick rope in his toy collection for about a year (thanks, Grandpa Bill!). He plays with them often, and can sometimes get one bead on. His therapists also use beads like this regularly with him. The sad part is that not too long ago, we had another couple over, and their son, who is several months younger than Quinn, made a long necklace with the same beads in about 15 minutes, after his parents showed him just once how to string the beads. They said he did not have beads like this at home and had probably never played with beads. So, the idea that after a year of instruction Quinn would be able to make a bead necklace successfully on 75% of all trials was a little depressing.

Also, though there were goals related to speech, none of them actually stated that Quinn would, in fact, speak. Again, this is over the next year. The goals were about making pre-speech sounds, improving imitation skills, drinking from a straw (important for mouth control), etc. But no actual talking appears to be expected.  I do think Quinn will be talking more in the next year. As noted before in this blog, he does say a few things, (like "moh" for more, and recently animal noises, and he is signing several words now, too). But it's just kinda sad that he's not so far along that it didn't seem appropriate to have a goal stating that he'll speak X number of words over the next year.


Holly's Mom said...

I know its not the same... But we just had friends over with a child who is a few months younger then Holly and his parents were telling us how he says 31 words...

We still can not get Holly to imitate Ba or Ma, and she doesn't make a D sound, so she can't say Da. I think people rarely notice her speech delay because she is constantly verbalizing the 3 sounds she does make and her vowels, but the Speech Therapist we just started seeing has her at a 7 month level.

I am amazed that Quinn is making signs, we have been doing signs with Holly for 9 months now, and she doesn't make any, but Quinn gives us hope.

I know it is hard, but Quinn is a pretty cool little kid, and well his parent's aren't too shabby either.

abm said...

I'm really glad that the meeting was battle-free and that it looks like Quinn will be getting the services he needs when he transitions. What a relief!

I'm sorry about the sad moments. Though I often feel like I've come to terms with my son's disability, I still get those punched in the gut feelings when I see how behind he is compared to other kids. It's hard not to.

Looking forward to hearing more about Quinn's progress as he transitions! Take care of yourself. Alissa