Sunday, January 8, 2012

School / IEP update for Bitty

A while back I posted about some of the difficulties Bitty has been having in school.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, we had a meeting with the school to review his IEP and discuss changes to help better meet his needs. We learned that he was basically requiring almost constant one-on-one support from the resource teacher / parapros in his class which isn't really what they are set up to do. The challenge comes down to communication - if the subject is straightforward and doesn't require much verbal explanation he does great. Spelling, for example. He is a spelling kung fu master :). On the other hand, any subjects or new topics that require verbal explanation are quite difficult, not because he can't understand the subject matter, but because he struggles with language. He's a fast learner and that has helped him to keep up as well as he has, but the whole situation was really stressing him out because he recognized that most of his classmates did not share his struggle to understand what was being said, or what was being asked when the teacher would ask questions.

His teachers suggested he might do better in a smaller class setting, at least for the core subjects, and we agreed to put him in a self-contained ASD class for part of the day (almost half the day when you add up the hours) for math, reading, and writing. For the rest of the subjects he is still in his regular ed class with resource support. It's a much smaller class where all the kids have similar issues and the teachers have the flexibility to tailor to the kids' pace and individual needs much more than in the larger classroom. They also do activities like morning yoga since the physical activity helps the kids focus for learning (honestly, I think all kids would probably benefit from something like that, not just kids on the spectrum). We'll reassess later this year when we update his IEP for next year.

He started in his new class after the Thanksgiving break and so far it is really working out well. His anxiety level is considerably less, he no longer cries about having to go to school and he is doing well academically. He's back to getting all 1's on his daily reports (they have a scale from 1-4 for how he does at staying on task and following instructions with minimal reminders, etc.). It's been hard to see him struggle so much, and although I wish it wasn't so hard for him I'm grateful he's getting the support he needs and relieved that he's back to feeling positive about school.

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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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