Wednesday, December 14, 2016


We had Ruby's IEP redetermination today. It was a long meeting, first reviewing the findings of all of the tests and evaluations, then determining eligibility, finally setting IEP goals for what Ruby qualified for.

Lehr and I attended, along with Ruby's speech therapist through the school, the Occupational Therapist that evaluated her, the school psychologist that evaluated and observed her, the Special Needs Pre-K teacher, and the community based facilitator. Ruby was along for the ride, eating a snack and playing in the Pre-K room the whole time. (I was surprised with how well she sat for most of the meeting!)
There were no surprises in the findings for us; they agreed that Ruby qualified for Special Needs Pre-K and speech and OT. When it came time to set the goals, things turned slightly. Not from what we expected as much as what we agreed to. For most of the time leading up to the meeting, we have been so solid on maintaining what we've set up for Ruby in the way of inclusion in the typical (private) preschool. That is and always has been our goal. But I felt a very clear vision was cast in that room that demanded a different path to that goal. The team wanted several goals for Ruby, which lined up very well with the ones I had prepared in the past few months. In order to reach those goals, they asked for Ruby to receive speech one hour/week and OT 30 minutes/week. The OT stated that Ruby's scores did not qualify her for that much speech, but she wanted her to receive that support to boost her abilities in the classroom without support. When it came to determining how Ruby's Special Needs Pre-K schedule would look, they suggested 5 days/week.

Yup. Big change.

That is not at all what I ever said I would do. It's not what I planned on. But this team set goals that I think will help Ruby get to full inclusion. Four of the members of this team have met with me and talked to me about my vision for Ruby. Four of the members of this team have observed and/or worked with Ruby already and know her strengths and weaknesses. One of the members knows the private school she's attending, and has worked with her teachers specifically. They are not basing their suggested plan on results from a one-day evaluation.

We want Ruby to be in the 3-year old class at Mt. Zion next year. In order for that to happen, she needs to be potty trained. It is embarrassing for me to admit that I have not been able to succeed in that venture, despite working since this summer. I am aware that Ruby's current schedule of Mt. Zion and speech and gymnastics and more speech does not allow for much consistency in the way of training, so this 5 days/week in an environment that supports that goal will help. Also, for Ruby to be successful in a typical preschool with other verbal kids, she needs to have more practice with attending to tasks and sit-down time for longer periods of time. She needs more practice with using her words to get her needs met. She needs more practice with fine motor skills regarding writing and scissors in a classroom setting (not just at home). The realization I came to in that meeting is that we can either address those goals for the rest of this year, or struggle through this same process next year.
I know there are no guarantees. And I know that some (maybe all) of these things are possible struggles for Ruby next year and years to come. But we've been working on them with our current strategy since June with progress, but not success. I think we owe it to Ruby to try a new strategy for this semester to see if it speeds the progress. It is not our intention to hold her back in anyway with this new plan; we see it as equipping her with an extra boost to return to Mt. Zion next year, better than ever.

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