Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Here an IEP, There an IEP, Everywhere an IEP...

There are 4 days a year that I dread.  Not dislike, but really hate.  You know where the night before, your stomach starts to gurgle in anticipation of the following day.  In the morning you are grouchy, tense, and have difficulty getting along with others.  Others steer clear to avoid your wrath.  For me, those four days are my visits to the doctor, dentist, and Bella's annual IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting.

Yesterday was Bella's annual IEP meeting.  Not only was it the IEP meeting, but it was her 3 year review where lots of tests are given over a months period to evaluate her progress and requalify her for the next 3 years of services.  Even more fun.  I don't care which child it is, I really dislike seeing all of their needs/problems written down in black and white.  It is something that does not get easier over time.  So every year I have the same goal for myself before the meeting.  Don't be too emotional!  In simple terms, that means don't have a breakdown and cry like a baby.  Well, I can't say I was totally successful with the goal, but I almost made it all the way through and the tears were short lived.  I guess I'm just a highly emotional person and the meetings are just too emotionally charged.

In the meeting we went over all of the tests given to Bella over the past month.  Most were given to her by her Deaf/Hard of Hearing teacher, some by her speech teacher, and the other was the standardized MAP test which everyone in grades 3-12 take 2x a year.  The good news was that the leader of the IEP meeting gave me the full report to read through on Monday, so I wouldn't be caught off guard by any of the results.  That was so helpful (Thanks Deana!) and allowed me to think through questions and comments before the meeting.  The last time Bella had this big battery of tests for her IEP was in Kindergarten and you can imagine how much has changed since then.

Here's a quick overview of the test results for anyone who's interested:
  • CELF test (Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals)- Her scores in Receptive Language were above average and for Expressive language they were average
  • CASL test (Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language)-This test measures knowledge/use of words, grammar, and awareness of the appropriateness of language in specific situations.  Bella was in the average range when compared to same-aged peers.
  • Academic testing reflected needs in the areas of math and reading comprehension.  No big surprises there.
Overall, I was pleased to see improvements in the areas of following directions, story recall, and figurative language (i.e. idioms, inferences).  She still struggles with story recall after time has elapsed due to her short term memory issues.  Also, the next IEP is going to have a strong focus on strengthening her reading comprehension as that is a significant need at this point.  I am confident that it will get better if we all attack it together (meaning at home and school) because repetition is what works best for Bella.

Erick wasn't able to make it to the meeting, but he had his own stressful day.  He spilled coffee on his work computer (and thought he had to buy a new one because it stopped working) and he left his car lights on at Target while taking a work call and burned out the battery.

What made the day better for both of us?  Harry got his 1st touchdown ever in his football game.  And it was the game winning touchdown at that.  He was playing running back and took the ball 40 yards for the touchdown.  Yeah Harry!!!!

Here's to a new day...

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