Sunday, April 03, 2011

Individual Education Plan Follow Up

Photo of Dear Son and Mr. H (his classroom aide) in the pool at summer school.

Several weeks ago I wrote a series of posts on, "How to Raise a Happy and Healthy Severely Disabled Child". As a follow up to that post, I thought I would share some of the comments that were included in the hard copy of Dear Son's Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting that I received this week. Dear Son's IEP was in early March and is a meeting where a student's individual education goals are made and shared with the entire team. They also summarize the student's achievement in the past year in several key areas: academic achievement, social/emotional/behavioral functioning, cognitive functioning as well as several other areas. Many of the summaries demonstrate Dear Son's happiness and are a pleasure to read. Some of the comments that made me smile were:

-"He loves being part of the group and is always smiling when other are around."

-"He continues to track voices and activity and especially enjoys it when other students are misbehaving."

-"He enjoys being positioned where he can view the most activity."

-"He is very easy going and "goes with the flow" when the schedule is changed." (A change in routine or schedule is not easy for some disabled children.)

But my favorite comments were given by the Occupational Therapists when she had to list Dear Son's strengths. She wrote:

-"Very engaging and aware of others and his environment."

-"Gets excited about novel and preferred activities."

-"Laughs joyfully."

-"Has preferences and attempts to actively influence situations in the classroom."

-"Can really have a presence in the classroom."

His challenges were the things that he couldn't change such as being dependent for all self care and mobility and limited communication skills.

Overall, I have a nice young man who is happy and is a pleasure to be around. His teacher said that the students and staff really enjoy it when he comes to school and they all wish he could attend daily (he is only able to attend three days a week due to his endurance/medical issues). In addition, he is much like any other teenager, wanting to check out the action and laughing when things go wrong. I love the fact that he is an easygoing young man.

Photo of Dear Son at his classroom graduation party last year.

This IEP summary has been similar to nearly all of the rest of them over the past eighteen years (well, technically, he didn't start school until he was three, lol). While it may be true that some children have issues that even the best care and love can't resolve, I feel good that the hard work that Dad and I have done over the years has paid off. I tell Dear Son every day that I have the "greatest kid in the whole world" and I mean it. But to see things in print, still continues to make my day, even after all of these years.

Note: Dear Son is nineteen years old and attends a day program offered through the school district for developmentally delayed students 18 and older. Dear Son has intractable seizures, dystonia (movement disorder) and is severely developmentally delayed as a result of a random mutation of the ARX gene; he also has a progressive neurological disorder.


clairesmum said...

You and your husband have worked very hard with and for your son and it is great that he has such an engaging personality - so often that ability for interpersonal connection does not develop well (in kids w/ and w/o obvious disability.) Thanks for sharing the happiness and success.

Dream Mom said...

Thanks, Claire. Sometimes we have to celebrate the good stuff and it's wonderful to see our children happy!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Hello, Dream Mom!!!! I am trying to catch up with my blogging friends little by little, since I was without my laptop for those weeks. I want to take the time to come back and read all of your post the past couple of months, but I just wanted to stop in to say that I hope you and your dearest son have been well and I will catch up -- promise! As for this post, I agree that you are so lucky that your son has such a wonderful, easygoing, lovely personality. I have see it in photos over the past months since I have followed your blog, and through the stories you've told. And you and his Dad HAVE done a wonderful job with your devotion to him!

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