Uh, Dar had a birthday on Sunday. His IEP was Tuesday. I will have more to say about it next week. 

Until then, I’m just going to knock your socks off with IEP verbiage. This is to make parents of kids with IEPs go “Oh, thank God I’m not alone” and parents of kids without IEPs go “Oh, thank God that’s not me.” Forthwith:


[Dar] Smith-Rowsey is an engaging 7-year old boy enrolled in Ms. Anita’s second grade classroom at Thousand Oaks Elementary School. Darwin qualifies for special education services under the primary category of Autism (AUT), and the secondary category of Speech or Language Impairment (SLI)..

Dar uses many intentional forms to communicate, including nonverbal behaviors (facial expression, body language, proximity, etc.), and a high tech, dynamic display communication device (an iPad with Proloquo2go). While Darwin has intentional communicative behaviors, he continues to require support (Aided language stimulation, verbal prompts to get his device) to communicate in conventional ways.

Dar’s device is used in both home and school environments. His home team uses it regularly during therapy sessions.


Dar currently is enrolled at Thousand Oaks Elementary, where he receives 500 minutes/week of specialized academic instruction, 1800 minutes/year of speech/language therapy, 900 minutes/year of occupational therapy, 900 minutes/year of physical therapy, and an instructional assistant to support him throughout the day. AAC services are currently provided for 15 hours/year for consultation and training with the family and staff. The use of AAC is supported both in the school and home environments.


Dar currently communicates in the school setting using his iPad with Proloquo2go. In structured settings, he is able to use his device to make common requests using a carrier phrase (“I want”) with a verbal and visual prompt (i.e. “tell me” while pointing or looking to the device). Without prompting, Dar will likely not use his device; he will use body language (standing up and walking to the door to request outside), leading an adult to the desired item, or occasionally behaviors (whimpering when wanting to be finished). Dar does well when using his device for making requests that are highly motivating (i.e. “I want goldfish crackers”, “go outside”, etc.), as well as using it in structured/practiced scenarios. When Dar needs a break, he can be directed to his iPad, where he independently asks for a break activity. His break activities need to be continuously updated as his interests change.

Operationally, Dar can navigate back to the home screen, clear the message bar independently, and can self correct- if he touches a wrong button, he will erase that word and chose the correct one.


It is recommended that Dar continue to receive AAC Consultation services to support teacher/staff and SLP to meet his expressive/receptive language and communication goals that are found in the new IEP. Dar continues to require a high tech, dynamic display communication device that can be personalized to meet his daily needs.

The above summary will be shared with the IEP Team and the following recommendations will be considered in conjunction with information gathered from Dar’s meeting:

Recommended AAC Implementation:

  • Increase time for AAC consultation to 4 hours per month. Dar does not have one continuous aid throughout the day, and has demonstrated increased understanding in communication. More time is needed to keep up with Dar’s interest to communicate and train multiple aids.
  • Back up the device to both the iPad and an iCloud account
  • Provide models for AAC use. Dar currently does not have everyday models of people that use AAC effectively. It is imperative that the communication partners in Dar’s environment activate the AAC also.
  • Integrate AAC during specified times throughout the day, as per his Participation Plan, so that Dar can experience consistent and immediate communication success
    • Give Dar access to AAC during these controlled times so that his communication attempts will be responded to immediately.
  • Reduce prompt-dependency for making requests. Try to reduce verbal prompting.
  • Continue to reinforce use of core vocabulary, so that Dar can continue to make a request, even if the pictured noun is not in his communication app (i.e. Dar could request “eat” at lunch time, even if a picture of his food is not in the app)
  • Use natural prompts (i.e. Dar, what do you want?) The goal is communication, not using AAC!
    • Avoid required imitation
    • Avoid directives (“Tell me, “I want cookie””)
  • Have Dar’s communication device accessible at all times.

Recommended AAC Services:

To be determined by the IEP Team. This will include:

  • Consultation to staff, family, and other communication partners
  • Development and updating of “Participation Plan” for access to educational curriculum
  • Customizing vocabulary to enhance communication interactions and be functional/motivating for Dar’s daily needs


Function Vocabulary

By September 2018, Dar will increase his AAC competence by identifying the function of 10 of nouns (i.e. bed is for sleep, fork is for eat, cup is for drink), when provided the target noun and 3 function category choices*, during structured language activities, in 8 out of 10 opportunities, as measured by therapist observation and charting.

Dar can identify the category using total communication (his AAC device and/or verbal approximations and/or sign

Core Words

By September 2018, Dar will increase his expressive language core word knowledge by using 8 new core words (i.e. open, like, read, no, get, look, come etc.) using total communication (verbal, AAC, and/or sign, etc…) during structured language tasks, given an initial verbal prompt and minimal visual cues (i.e. gesture towards talker) in 4 out of 5 opportunities, as measured by therapist charting and observation.

Daily Communication

By September 2018, to improve his social-functional competence with his AAC device, Dar will use his AAC to effectively communicate with peers, teachers and staff on a daily basis, by producing at least 20 utterances per school day, when given no more than one gestural prompt (i.e. pointing to device) per opportunity, as measured by data collection.

Ordering and Sequencing Events

By 9-18-2018, Dar will participate in an activity, relating to a functional and purposeful job on campus (for example but not limited to, sorting breakfast foods, watering the plants, delivering mail, etc), including 3-step directions (such as 1. Fill up water can 2. Walk to the plant 3. Water the plant) with visuals and 2 gestural prompts, in 3 out of 5 occasions per day, as measured by data collection and teacher observation

Sorting Groups of Items

By 9-18-2017, when given up to 4 categories of functional items (money, food, gardening tools, school items like pencils/pens/markers, etc. ), and gestural prompts, Dar will sort the items with 80% accuracy.

Functional Safety Word Recognition

By 9-18-2018, when asked to identify a functional safety sign (Stop, Walk, Bathroom, Do Not Enter) in a field of 5 (“Dar, point to the ____”), Dar will do so with 100% accuracy, in 2 out of 3 occasions as measured by teacher observation and data collection.

Money Recognition/Identification

By 9-18-2018, When asked “Dar, point to/hand me the (quarter, 1 dollar bill, or 5 dollar bill)”, and items are presented in a field of 3, Dar will do so with 80% accuracy, as measured by teacher observation and data collection

Self Care — Toileting

By 9-18-2018, in all settings, with 3 prompts (visual or verbal), when Dar needs to use the toilet he will initiate going to the bathroom, pull his pants up and down, urinate in the toilet and flush only when he is finished on 8/10 opportunities as measured by teacher observation and data collection.

Behavior Reduction

By 9-18-2018, Dar will decrease/eliminate instances of tantrums (crying, screaming, dropping to the ground, hitting, kicking, biting) to no more than 2 times per week over a 1-month period as measured by teacher records.