Monday, October 09, 2006

Got Milk???

A few more details about Joseph's IEP. The meeting lasted 2.5 hours. There were ten people in the room for most of it. The discussion was mostly between myself, Dave, and Joseph's behavior consultant on one side, and the teacher and principal on the other side. The district folks from the special ed department didn't say much. We talked at each other for most of the meeting. We just fundamentally disagree on what Joseph can do now, and what we believe he may (or will) be able to do in the future. One big area of concern is reading comprehension. Jospeh reads 600+ sight words, but tests poorly--with scores of 0% on reading comprehension at the Kindergarten level. We don't believe the tests. They do.... After about two hours, Dave told a story about taking Joseph to the grocery store and having him help find the groceries. J was great at listening and then taking Daddy to the right part of the store for things like orange juice. He understands the world around him more and more each day. So, I asked the teacher what she thought J. would do if I took him to the store and handed him a note that said "Get milk." She said "Nothing." She knows he knows the words get and milk, and she knows that if we told him to get milk he could, but she thinks he can't decode language from print, even though he can sign all the words.... So, I came home an made index cards that said "Go to store." "Get milk." and "Get eggs." Guess what? He did all three perfectly--no prompts, no help, just an adult along for the trip. (We live one block from a store...) I put the index cards into his book bag with a note for the teacher explaining what happened, and after sending them to school two days I've not gotten a note about it back. I'm not sure she has seen my message. (Alas, another fundamental problem with his class is that the teacher doesn't communicate with me, or communicates very sporadically...)

We are asking for an outside evaluation, and planing to fight the district. It seems like we have two choices: one, we could change schools, go to a private school, leave the district, etc. etc. in order to find a teacher that believes in Joseph's abilities, or , two, we can have him educated with other signing children and stay where we are. I'm going to at least try to make the current placement work better so that he has peers that sign, but I may give up and look for a teacher that will believe in our boy. Maybe that is more important. I'd really like to have both.

1 comment:

meowmama said...

I didn't touch on my thoughts about the school yesterday. What are their plans for Joseph this year if you and Dave have such a diff. perspective of his abilities than the teachers? It is so important that you both continue to believe in him the way you do. I love the story about the milk and can just see him filling up the cart with success! However I cannot imagine your frustration in hearing the teacher say she thinks he wouldn't be able to complete the task - and then not hearing back from her when you let her know he could. You would think she would be able to swallow her pride and be proud of his accomplishments.

Keep us posted!