Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So Much Progress, So Far To Go

Today was our first review meeting for Ballerina.  She has been in a general education classroom for 7-8 weeks and we needed to sit down as a group and figure out what's working and what's not.  We had agreed to do this during her placement meeting / annual review at the end of last year.

Yesterday, I went to visit her in her classroom.  I wanted to see what her teacher sees so I could understand the things that she was bringing up in the supporting paperwork.  And, we all know that many children display something different while they are at school as compared to when they are at home.  And her teacher told me that in so many ways she has made some great improvements, especially in these last couple of weeks.  Her outbursts are less frequent and less intense, she has become much more compliant (especially for her classroom teacher) and they are discovering some of her passions.  However, her focus is a real issue.  She has a very difficult time following anything greater than 2-step instructions and she needs someone constantly prodding her to get her tasks completed.

But I watched her complete tasks.  I watched her complete worksheets that involved multiple tasks (coloring, cutting and pasting) along with working on an academic concept (rhyming).  But every minute or so, the para who was working with her had to prod her to get her focus back.

But the meeting started this morning and it began with the principal explaining that at the start of the school year that many on her team were concerned about her placement in general.  General education classroom is extremely demanding and it was thought that perhaps it was beyond what she was ready to handle.  However, these changes in these last couple of weeks showed them all that yes, a general education classroom is the right placement for her.  We just have to make a couple adjustments to her plan to allow her to be successful.  Knowing that we weren't going to make such a change (even though I strongly suspected this would be the case), it definitely helped to put me more at ease.

And transitions are still a problem (although they are greatly improved).  She is no longer considered a menace to herself or her classmates with her constant body dropping behaviors as she was when the school year began.

It was great to listen to her entire team talk about all of the improvements she has made thus far this year.  We did increase the number of hours of support because, honestly, she needs it.  She was originally assigned 15 hours/week, but in practice she needs (and receives) 25 hours/week.  By putting this into her official plan, it helps the school find the needed staffing and makes it more likely that she will get a dedicated staff member which will give her the consistency that she needs.  The intent is still to try and reduce it over time, but for now, she really needs the help.  Without it, she is not able to stay on task.  One of the things I did observe is the 30 minutes or so in the morning where she is working independently.  She was unable to complete any tasks.  And when I asked if this was true regardless of the "center", her teacher informed me that it is.

Her classroom teacher is going to attempt a few simple tricks to see if they can improve her focus, including introducing some background classical music for quiet work times.  Since she seems to enjoy music so much, perhaps it will help keep her calm and allow her to focus more on the tasks at hand.  In addition, we are initiating a Formal Behavior Plan to ensure consistency across various staff members.  Hopefully, these will all contribute to her success.  We also agreed to meet again in December to discuss whether these efforts are successful and to, if necessary, make further modifications to her plan.

Now it's time to turn my attention to Music Man's meeting, which is scheduled for next week.  His meeting will be a full annual review which will likely be a bit more intense.

I need to learn to control myself in approaching these meetings.  They always cause so much anxiety.  You would think I would be used to them by now.  Perhaps this next one will be the one that makes me realize that this process is in place to help my children and I shouldn't get so worked up about these every single time.

No comments:

Post a Comment