Why do I post excerpts from Dar’s IEPs? Perhaps I feel people want to know what is being done for Dar. This. This is what’s being done. At least, part of it.

Sometimes I feel this is all just a big slow-motion view of a roadside accident. Or maybe it’s a big slow-motion view of a baby bird learning to fly. I don’t know yet. Here’s hoping for the latter.

Excerpts from the annual IEP:

INDICATE DISABILITY/IES

Describe how student’s disability affects involvement and progress in general curriculum: Dar has difficulty accessing classroom curriculum due to delays in communication, motor delays tied to Cerebral Palsy and left-side neglect, as well as some tantruming. It can take Dar some time to adapt to new settings and expectations, and sudden changes in routine or expectations have been difficult for him. Dar requires a high level of promoting and support for both communication and task completion within the classroom environment.

ACCOMMODATIONS & MODIFICATIONS TO SUPPORT ACCESS TO CORE CURRICULUM IN GENERAL/SPECIAL EDUCATION ENVIRONMENTS

Reduced/shortened assignments: Dar has difficulty with complex tasks and may benefit from having larger tasks broken into “chunks”

Preferential/assigned seating (explain): Dar prefers to sit in chairs that provide maximal support for his body (rifton, tumble forms)

Cues/prompts/reminders of rule (explain): Teacher prompting with visual supports (either sign language or picture card)

Use of sensory strategies (explain): Dar enjoys “energizing” activities such as light tickling under his chin or above his knee caps. He has also shown a preference for toys that have intense vibrations.

Present one task/direction at a time: Use simple, clear direction as often as possible

Instructions repeated/rephrased: Allow for 10-15 seconds of processing, then repeat desired simple instruction

STRENGTHS/PREFERENCES/INTERESTS

Dar is a sweet 4 year 11 month old kindergarten boy. He has transitioned to a new school, Thousand Oaks, this year and is doing well learning a new environment. He enjoys playing on the swings and climbing the play structure. He is learning who his new peers are and how his new classrooms work. He enjoys playing with sensory toys and receiving strong squeezes.

PREACADEMIC/ACADEMIC/FUNCTIONAL SKILLS

Dar is working on transitioning to a new school and adapting to a new environment. With academic activity, he tends to need less verbal prompts and more processing time to react and respond to the task given. He shows significantly more success when given sufficient processing time as well as ensuring he is attending to the task. He often needs physical prompts to engage with new materials. Dar is doing well matching 3D items such as bears, linking cubes, etc and sorting by color. He is able to complete simple puzzles. As he adjusts to a new school and is more familiar with the new routine, we anticipate seeing more success.

COMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT

Dar is nor currently initiating communication at school. He communicates his like or dislike of an activity or location by physical means by verbal outbursts. Dar is able to produce a number of word/sound approximations in one context (e.g. carrier phrases). Generalization of skill is difficult for Dar. He presents with a limited phonemic inventory and decreased verbal imitation skills. He is able to follow familiar 1-step directions (sit down, stand up, give me), although generalization of these is inconsistent. Dar does not have a consistent means of communicating his needs and/or wants independently at school.

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL/BEHAVIORAL

Dar is very sweet and presents a happy demeanor. He has transitioned well into a new classroom and has shown a happy demeanor coming into class at the beginning of the day. He engages in parallel play in the classroom and outside on the play yard. He often requests physical attention from adults by pressing his chin on a staff member.

Dar engages in tantrum behavior that includes verbal protest, crying, hitting his head, and/or biting his wrist. Distraction as well as continuing the demand helps redirect Dar and end the tantrum. Sensory input and breaks also help calm him. He often engages in this behavior when given an academic demand or when transitioning without visual aids/in a new environment.

ADAPTIVE/DAILY LIVING SKILLS

Dar is not yet toilet trained and does not currently demonstrate awareness of when he is wet. He has demonstrated some mixed reactions to wearing a soiled diaper (either indifference or tantruming).

Dar is able to remove his backpack and can bring it to his cubby. He can pull down his pants independently. He still requires help and cueing to dress himself; especially when having to use his left side. He can feed himself with utensils, but prefers to use his hands on non-messy food items. Dar is able to take small sips from a cup.

OTHER EXCERPTS

Dar currently does not independently engage in non-preferred activities, and typically requires heavy prompting, cueing, and supports from staff to engage, interact, and complete a given activity. These supports can range from a visual support/sign, to verbal prompting “have a seat,” to hand over hand support.

Dar is stil not thrilled with engaging in non-preferred tasks, and is quick to protest these activities. However, with close adult support for redirection, Dar has been able to complete 2-step activities on an average of 3:5 opportunities without protesting.

Use of the visual task schedule has so far been ineffective. It is uncertain at this time if this support mechanism is receiving the same treatments seen with picture communication speech goals in regards to attention (or lack thereof) or if it is simply due to it being a novel support mechanism for him. For the time-being, a visual task schedule/marker will remain included in this goal in the hopes of clarifying this issue.

Dar is able to transition with a group, and will remain in his seat, but does not actively participate in group activities. Dar has recently begun to demonstrate some active participation in 1:1 activities with teachers.

Dar has difficulty completing partner tasks regardless of supports given. Even with preferred activities, Dar will independently engage, but quickly leave the activity if approached by an adult offering support. If the staff is able to incorporate Dar into a turn taking activity, Dar will typically vocally protest and become frustrated within 1 turn. He has difficulty waiting for a turn, and making a request for a turn; preferring to simply retake the shared object and move away from that peer. If the peer does not yield to Dar’s advance, he will protest slightly, then move away to find another activity or object of interest to him.

Seating supports such as the Rifton chair or cube chairs have been helpful in helping Dar stay at a table activity with less adult support. (Though this can also cause him more frustration, as it limits his escape options.)

Dar has done well transitioning into a new classroom and learning a new circle time routine. Dar can inconsistently sit for 10 minutes, but on average sits for 3-5 minutes during circle time. The team is working on providing Dar with the visual aids that will facilitate his participation in a new classroom.

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