Monday, October 18, 2010

Worried Over Nothing

Yup. The meeting is done and over with and, as most who know me could have predicted, I worried about (you guessed it) Absolutely Nothing. Rachel is remaining in the CAPP program. There wasn't even a discussion (there may have been some in the room who didn't agree, but they didn't say so during the meeting -- they may have discussed it before I arrived or at a previous time). I just wish the rest of this journey was so easy.

First of all, this was NOTHING like the initial meeting that we had 10.5 months ago. We didn't need to spend time talking about a diagnosis or determining if she were eligible for an IEP or other services. Because we've gone through that, it was just a given. Given all of that, we didn't even have to spend much time discussing ESY for next year -- given her diagnosis and the difficulties she has in transitioning back into the school setting, again, it was a non-issue. We were able to jump right into her progress and her goals/objectives.

These really were just a build on last year. What we spent more time doing was discussing the differences between what she does at school versus what she does at home and trying to determine how to give her the services that would best suit her. I mentioned to them that I really wanted to see her (1) get more socialization opportunities with her peers (neurotypical, ideally, but the other autistic kids in the program would be good too) and (2) to improve her willingness to try new things, food in particular. The way this proceeded took me a bit by surprise.

Let's start with the food -- when Rachel's teacher started talking about her progress, she mentioned that she ate all day long, and a large variety of foods. She tried almost EVERYTHING! That was how we discovered she liked peanut butter (probably her most favorite food). She seems to have a bottomless stomach and just always wants more. Now this is something we don't see at home. For us, she's a picky eater. She will rarely eat breakfast, almost never eat dinner (unless it's a all-beef kosher hot dog or peanut butter), and she wants the same lunch every single day. Her unwillingness to try new things has caused a great deal of concern because we don't know if she's getting adequate nutrition. And she's extremely "determined" -- if she's decided she doesn't want it, nothing is going to make her change her mind. We're going to start sending in some dinner-type items for her in her lunch box to see if she does better (1) having it at lunch time and (2) eating it at school. Also, we're probably going to have her buy lunch occasionally to have that wider variety of food items. Will it work? Communication notebook and email will tell us that over the course of the next few months.

Socialization -- this is the biggest problem for Rachel with the CAPP program -- because of the one-on-one nature of the program, she has very limited opportunities to play or interact with her peers, even though she's in school for 30 hours/week. Because she is excelling within the program, we need to think ahead to kindergarten (even though it's still nearly 2 years away) and how she's going to do when she arrives there. It's been my goal from the moment we learned that both twins were on the spectrum that they would both be ready to attend and participate in a mainstream kindergarten classroom environment. Simon will likely NOT be ready for that. But Rachel has shown such improvement that we have to consider the possibility that we have an attainable goal there. She needs to learn how to interact with other children -- not just her teachers. To that end, a statement is being put into her IEP document itself that indicates that she is to engage in "mainstreaming opportunities" with the Pre-K and possibly the kindergarten classes at the school.

WOW! They are talking about possibly having her spend 1-1.5 hours in the morning and/or the afternoon with NEUROTYPICAL PRE-K kids starting in the very near future!!!!!! She's already spending time doing the specials (phys-ed, specifically) with the kindergarten children. Academically, they'd like to see her working with the kindergarten classes as well since she is ACTUALLY READING (they told me -- I didn't ask, even though I'd suspected it for quite some time)!!!!!!!!! She knows her numbers very well too. She spells out words. She can do this both using verbal language and by using the ASL-alphabet (which is something Kevin started adding to the spelling game to make it a little more interesting for him). She's become such a little sponge!!!!!

Don't get me wrong -- she still has her issues. Her speech is significantly delayed. She requires even more OT than was originally suggested to help her with fine motor control. She still has "behaviors" that need to be addressed. In other words, she is definitely still autistic.

But she's making such amazing progress!!!!!


  1. Wonderful :) Glad you worried for nothing and how awesome about the reading!