The school IEP went better than I expected. Even though Jake has had them starting in 1st grade for his vision impairment, I was nervous that I was not asking for enough services for him. I really don't know of any more accommodations what the school can do to make it the best school experience for Jacob. What more is available? What else can we take advantage of? Trying to get that information is next to impossible. I was hoping for an ARC representative to attend the IEP with me, however their schedule didn't allow. They did talk with me over the phone to briefly go over some of my rights, and gave me a few ideas. If I would of known of the ARC services before, it would of gave me more time to investigate and ask questions. I believe I was just being too analytical and let my anxiety take over. In addition to the ARC, and through my new found support group, I did get a few more ideas to take long with me.
I looked at Jake's challenges this last school year for him. The emotional side of him popped into my head first. If emotionally he is working on something, then he will not preform academically. And there were lots of days that he did not do anything academically because his emotions were not at rest. There were also many missed hours of school because of sleeping problems (anxiety). I think he grew a lot during the year, arriving at the school nervously, afraid he was going to get lost in the building, and very unsure of himself. He grew in peer situations and friendships also. He learned a lot of the school rules, such as what is appropriate and what is not at school, through lots and lots of hands on experiences.
Academically he is below grade level in each subject. However, with proper supports in each subject, I believe that he could reach grade level with exception of Math. Math concepts seem to be nearly impossible for him, and of coarse his least favorite. His handwriting has improved drastically! Letters have gotten smaller and more controlled looking. Not exactly even or on this lines of the paper, but still much better! One on one is how Jacob learns best, without that support, learning just does not happen. His mind wonders easily. His inability of focus is a constant battle. Behavior wise, he respects authority, and is pretty well behaved.
I'm happy with the plan for Jacob next year. He is listed with 3 disabilities: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Visual Impairment, and Speech and Language Impairment. Following are some of the things included his IEP:
- OT Evaluation and possible OT time (I believe Jake's sensory learning environment is effecting his academics)
- Speech and Language Therapy
- Vision Therapy
- Use of Computer or Alpha Smart for written assignments
- General Education Curriculum in special education