Thursday, July 23, 2009

End of School

This post is about 1 month late but summer has been flying by and I keep forgetting to post about her end of school meeting. As usual we ended her school year with a case conference; her pre-school teacher, her resource teacher, her occupational therapist, her speech pathologist and her new teacher were present. Elizabeth had a great year as usual and we are very happy with her placement in her pre-school, I like the low ratio (1:8), gross motor time and that it is a laid back environment where Elizabeth can play and learn.
Throughout the year I have had some concerns with the work that Elizabeth brings home as it is scribbled and not what she is capable of doing at home with me or with her OT, I have thought it odd that Elizabeth never sings a song from school and that she never talks much about playing with a friend. We discussed her work that she is doing at school and where she is having difficulty and the areas are fine motor tasks and seat work activities her difficulties are due to her fine motor delays, inadequate seating, overexcitement and distraction. I know these are areas where Elizabeth has difficulty and I have been saying this for the past couple of years and have been fighting for appropriate OT services, I have said she needs a proper chair for years, I have said she is extremely distracted but yet her therapist feels she should be discharged OT services when she is in kindergarten.
Her difficulty with playing with others came up again and I do not know what to do, her play is different from others, she can fixate on being a dinosaur, a bug or a bat and if not really pushed and scripted for appropriate conversations she is off on another tangent. Elizabeth tells me that she plays on her own and no one wants to play with her. Her teacher says she has her own agenda and will do or play with whatever pleases her and is happy to be on her own but it kills me that she does not have a friend at school.
As for singing her teacher says she will not sing with her class which is odd because at home and in the car she sings constantly (she does have great difficulty saying the right words but she carries the tune). Once again I think it is her hearing; she cannot hear what is being said with all the other children singing.
All in all her meeting had me really upset; she has trained staff who are to be watching out for areas of delay and dealing with them and yet how did so much go unnoticed? There are strict rules about parents not being present which I think I will bring up next fall as I could point these things out immediately and ensure they are addressed if I could occasionally observe.
The plan for next year: a proper supportive chair, an FM unit so she can hear her teacher primarily and to time seat work activity when there are less distractions. I think this is going to be the beginning of learning difficulties for Elizabeth and the more academics that are introduced the more difficulties are going to come up and it is something we will need to stay on top of to ensure Elizabeth can learn which we know she is very capable of.
Posted by Picasa


CP and Me said...

We are just beginning to see some of this with Hannah as well, as she just started her first school program this summer. We see the same issues with distractability and I have the same concerns about fine motor skills and not enough OT services. In preschool it's not that big of a deal because the demands aren't as great, but what happens when they get to kindergarten, first grade, etc and their fine motor problems cause them to fall farther and farther behind?

Do they do IEPs in Canada and if so, can you request to add more services to her IEP and if they don't agree, appeal to a higher person? It was also mentioned to me that at some point Hannah might benefit from learning how to use a computer keyboard to write in addition to traditional handwriting so she can keep up with the other kids. Just a thought of something to maybe look into with Elizabeth.

It's really a shame that they haven't addressed her seating needs and it sounds like what you're asking for in terms of them cueing her a bit with social situations, etc. is so small that they should be able to find a way to accomodate her. Is it possible to get her a more individualized aide to help her with these things in class? We're hoping to get one for Hannah and I hope it will make some of these things less of an issue for her.

The whole school thing definitely opens up so many more cans of worms, though. I'm sorry you're experiencing all of these difficulties.

Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

An appropriate chair can make such a difference. Well worth exerting some pressure for that - thank goodness they are finally planning to provide one. The FM unit is in the same level of importance.


Anonymous said...

As an individual with Asperger syndrome, I was very happy to play on my own in my early childhood although I also often played with my younger brother. I spent many recesses going around the playground talking to myself in my imaginary worlds. I did have some friends throughout childhood and I have a few special friends now. However, I still prefer to spend most of my free time alone or with my close-knit family. With years of practice, I can hold a "normal" peer conversation, but it takes a lot of effort. In groups, it's impossible. I'm not unhappy though. I enjoy attending university (especially psychology classes), playing simulation games, creative writing, swimming, and spending time with my family and animals. Swinging and jumping on a trampoline helps reduce some of my sensory issues. I have an industrial grade swingset in the yard that I can use at my leisure. Basically, continue to work on developing social skills but Elizabeth may be one to make friends later in life, in unconvential ways. (e.g. online friends that share special interests, teachers and university professors that act as mentors). Those types of friendships are no less special, just different.

abby said...

We're already thinking about all of these things where Hallie is concerned (indeed, we had a conversation about this last night after Hallie was in bed and Lea was nursing quietly). An adapted chair and an FM unit seem absolutely in order, as far as I'm concerned. So do OT services, and not just what's offered by the school district, but private on top of this. And perhaps a social skills group might help.

Even if our kids aren't ASD per se, they manifest enough of the tendencies (and particularly those related to communication and sensory issues) that a treatment plan based on that which works for ASD kids seems to me to be the best course to folow.