Friday, January 6, 2012

School update

You all know the WF has issues at school. We started talking about getting him real help in the spring but had to wait for school to start again this fall to have the actual meetings and paper signings. Starting in September, he finally started taking a battery of tests every week for math and writing. He also met with the OT several times and was evaluated by the speech path.

We had our IEP meeting yesterday afternoon and what came of it is that he has hyper flexible joints, which is causing some of his motor control issues. He also has low tone and needs core strengthening work. They suggested some kind of focused training program like Tae Kwon do, swimming lessons or gymnastics. I'm on the fence about forcing him to do something he obviously has no interest in, especially something that is going to cost me a fortune. The OT suggested that he needs a desk that allows him to stand and work, since he simply won't sit and ends up laying across the desk or kneeling in his chair and none of that is helping his hand writing.

The speech path said despite observing him in several situations and even trying to induce some stress to trigger his stutter, she was unable to observe any stuttering that impedes communication.

He ended up being labeled as having a specific learning disability, so he will now be getting 60 minutes of individual writing instruction each week. He is also going to start using voice recognition software and dictating all of his writing. Part of his writing instruction will involve learning to edit those dictated documents, since VR doesn't always have any idea what you are saying. We have crossed fingers that since he is using his own laptop (we bought it for him last year when he was supposed to be typing everything but it has spent most of it's time taking up space on his desk), it will actually learn his speech patterns and will get better as he uses it. He will also be allowed to use spell check on those documents, which was something his 504 plan prohibited.

The only thing I was disappointed about was that he isn't getting any accommodations in math. He scored within the normal range on all of his math tests, despite not knowing most of his math facts. He can find the answer but can't spit them out in speedy manner, so he isn't able to pass the timed tests they give. I was hoping for the ability to use a calculator on math work or at a minimum, a times table. Barring that, I was hoping for either additional time on timed tests or and end to those completely. In a couple of years, calculators will be available as a matter of course, so he just needs to hang in there until then.

So although it has taken FOREVER to get to this point (initial evaluations were discussed 2 years ago) I'm pretty happy with the outcome and I'm thrilled with his team. His case worker is super and the whole team is working hard to get him started on the right path.

Right now, he is struggling with the dictation because his VR program is flubbed up. It only picks up about every second or third word, which means A LOT of editing, which he has never really had to do. It feels like once he gets the hang of it, this will be a far better option for him.