Sunday, November 3, 2013

ABA, IEP's, and Reading, Oh, My!

I must apologize for taking so much time off and shirking my blogging duties. The truth is that after my dad passed away, I just needed some time. I needed to put my focus on other things. But I know he would be proud of what I’m doing here, sharing Ethan’s struggles and triumphs with people, so I feel that now is a good time to continue what I started so many months ago.

First, let me start off by saying that we are still waiting for ABA therapy to begin. We should have heard something weeks ago, and so far all I’ve received in the mail has been two packets of papers, both copies of forms that I signed during the initial evaluation. Frustrating? Yeah, you could say that. I keep meaning to call the service we’re contracted through, First Solutions (via Easter Seals), but it’s been difficult to find the time to sit and rant at someone on the phone, as I’m sure is bound to (have to) happen.

Secondly, I had Ethan’s annual IEP meeting with his teachers last week, and I am happy to report that they had nothing but good things to say! They went on and on about how smart Ethan is, how his memory is just phenomenal, and how he’s already recognizing his own name when it’s written, as well as his classmates’ names! He knows all his letters, upper and lower case, knows all his shapes and colors, and is even working on telling time using an analog clock. He has friends, is very compassionate and caring with them, interacts with them during recess and on the bus, and he even talks about them at home! He has also made so much progress since starting school in January that his speech therapy requirement was lowered. The staff told me that it’s always a good thing when you see “the number of minutes go down instead of up.” That means we’re moving in the right direction, so I’m absolutely thrilled that Ethan is loving school, making strides, and is surrounded by great teachers and therapists to help him get where he needs to be. We also discussed his transition to kindergarten, because even though it’s early to be talking about that yet, I wanted to make sure we were on the same page, and I was interested to see where they were thinking of placing Ethan; I was told that while it will be determined for sure in April or May, for now they see absolutely no reason why he won’t be able to function perfectly well in a general ed. kindergarten class. This, I was surprised to hear – I knew that the two schools we’ve been working with (the one we’re at now and the one Ethan will hopefully attend for kindergarten and up through elementary school) were all about inclusion and mainstreaming; I just wasn’t expecting it so soon! But, like I said, we will find out for sure at the end of the school year where the best place for Ethan will be. All that matters to me is that he thrives and does well, whether that be in an inclusion class, a special needs class, or a general ed. class. As long as he’s happy, I’ll be happy!

Lastly, I thought it might be fun for you all to see this little video of Ethan “reading” a book at bedtime. This serves as a testimony to his “phenomenal memory,” because at the time this video was taken, I had read this book to Ethan once. One time only. But this is also how far he’s come in just under a year; before school, this child didn’t care to be read to, wanted nothing to do with books unless it was to stack them as high as he could, or tear them to shreds out of frustration. Now they are among his most prized possessions, and he actually thoroughly enjoys being read to. As avid readers and bibliophiles ourselves, my husband and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of Ethan.

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