Thursday, January 30, 2014

Alex: Homework

Yesterday was Alex's IEP meeting. Yes, 2 meetings in 2 days. I thought I was going to die.

I walked in with Alex, we sat at the table with his teacher. It took more time to sit down and get arranged than it did for the IEP meeting. She said, "this is the paragraph that I changed after his physical therapy evaluation," she handed me the paper with the paragraph already marked. I read the paragraph, I agreed. "I agreed," lol, I was actually amazed that she so accurately described Alex's adventures in getting off the bus. Turns out, it's not just me, he falls off onto his aides, too :)

and that was it, we were done.

Except we have awesome timing and right as soon as we finished, the assistant principal poked his head in to let us know they were doing an intruder drill. It's nice to know that they have everything covered. But, while we sat there, we might as well chat, right? I've been waiting for the principal to get back to me on this whole RtI thing. After talking to a few different schools and having someone explain how the system they use lines up with the system I found on Missouri's website- how it's the same and how it's different- and how and when data is collected, I have a pretty good idea of how it works in most of the regular schools. But Alex is in a special school. They would all be Tier III in the regular schools and every single one of these kids have an IEP, so how does that even work? What does RtI look like in Alex's school? Luckily, Alex's teacher is totally familiar with their RtI because she's on one of the committees!

Their RtI is behavioral. It's a school-wide program and in the traditional model, all of these kids are Tier III, so they broke Tier III into 3 more tiers- 3.1, 3.2, 3.3. Since they are all already Tier III, data is collected frequently. While the regular schools collect data no less that 3 times per year, one collects additional data monthly (yes, on all of them) and one collects data weekly (on all of them. He wants 3 points of reference before they decide to move tiers or provide intervention.) the special school collects data daily and there is a 3 minute test twice a week. Everything is data driven. There is room for professional judgment but even the professional judgment is checked against data. I love this so much. and Alex is Tier I or 3.1.

ok, so, Alex is taken care of with school. Everything is figured out. Now that I know what to do and what they are working on at school, I can work on the same things at home. The 3 things we are working on now (3 specific things, you guys KNOW there's a heck of a lot more than that ;) ) are:

1. Identifying family members by looking at them when they are named. At school, they are using pictures. I do work with him on the pictures they sent home like flash cards, but we also identify and greet people as we run across them. That gives purpose to being able to identify them.

2. Putting on socks. Now, this is the hardest one of all of them. You never really think of what all goes into putting on a freaking sock until you are trying to teach someone to do it. Especially when that person only uses their fingers to eat and squeeze. He even scratches with the back of his hand. I was thinking we had to work on each individual skill first- crossing mid-line, bilateral integration, grasp and release, grasp and hold (that one is a B*), etc but being able to carry a tray doesn't necessarily mean those same skills are going to transfer to putting socks on. So, we're putting socks on. Kind of. We're trying, lol. Right now it's completely hand over hand and not at all voluntary.

3. Using a fork. He's pretty good with a spoon now. They worked on scooping last year. This year, we are stabbing. Alex's OT is freaking brilliant, I know I've mentioned that before but it deserves mentioning again. When Alex scoops his food, most of it pushes out of the bowl onto the table, you know what the solution is? A round cake pan! Brilliant. straight edges to stop the scoop. Ok, at school it's not a cake pan, at home it is. but still, straight edges are straight edges. He's using a fork to stab his sandwich pieces. I never thought of eating a sandwich with a fork. Didn't I tell you she's brilliant? It's going great. He has trouble stabbing with force which means peanut butter and jelly are the easiest for him to practice on.

Oh, man, the other night, we were working on stabbing food and he was getting frustrated because every time he would throw his fork Goofy would show up with a new one. Goofy handed him a new fork, I told him, "Come on, buddy, you need to use your fork." right then, that look he gave me with fork in hand, I was rethinking the desire to teach him to stab with force. He threw the fork. Goofy let out a cry, dove to the floor to scoop the fork up and blew on it hard, he raised it above his head and yelled, "FIVE SECOND RULE!" Alex, just as quick, reached into his plate and grabbed what he could to shove it in his mouth before Goofy could offer him the fork. We were done. God, I love these boys. I have been blessed.

I think homework time might be the highlight of my days. I love it.


  1. I just had an RTI meeting today for my daughter. Good luck to you guys!

  2. My little man named a fork tonight, he has never used one so i was shocked that he knew the name for it!