We had Leila's first IEP this past Friday. I was pretty scared walking into it. I had convinced myself that I was walking into a room of people who didn't have Leila's best interest at heart and that I would have to fight for the services she deserved. I was so stressed out the night before that Chris literally had to take the piece of bread out of my hand to stop me from stress eating!!
So we walked into a room with 8 people in total, Chris and I, the school psychologist, the adaptive PE teacher, the speech teacher, the ABA teacher, our Regional Center Case Manager, and our ABA supervisor. They started the meeting with the adaptive PE teacher reading us her assessment and her recommendations. Leila was assessed to be between the age of 2 to 2.6 for her gross motor skills like balance, walk-backwards, run and jump. She was recommended to have two pull-out sessions a week for 25 minutes of adaptive PE. Next, we heard from our ABA supervisor on Leila's progress over the last 6 months. Leila has met all but a few of her goals. She made great progress and we can definitely see a difference in her. My best friend Danielle said today that she notices a big change in Leila's speech ability, that she was talking a lot more! We then heard from the school psychologist and she basically spent a lot of time telling us what Leila can't do compared to what a typical child her age can do (a 3 year old). We heard a lot of Leila can't do this and Leila can't do that. Here is what Leila test results were:
Cognitive Skills (Based on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development):
Cognitive - 26 months
Fine-Motor - 29 months
Adaptive and Social-Emotional Skills (Based on the Vineland-II Adaptive Behavior Scales)
Daily Living Skills
Interpersonal Relationships 0-7
Play and Leisure Time 1-1
Coping Skills 1-11
Autism Rating (Gilliam Autism Rating Scale)
Stereotyped Behaviors - Very Likely
Communication - Very Likely
Social Interaction - Very Likely
Autism Index - 50th percentile, Very Likely
So after confirming that Leila was autistic (duh, I know) she briefly went over Leila's strengths. Leila has great fine motor skills like using a pincer grasp to color on paper, stack blocks and string beads. She also has strong daily living skills like feeding herself, drinking from an open cup and helping to put things away.
Then the speech therapist reviewed Leila's report and her recommendations for goals this year. Leila was assessed according to the preschool language scale:
Auditory Comprehension - 1 year 9 months
Expressive Comprehension - 1 year 10 months
Total Language Score - 1 year 8 months
Leila has 13 Goals for the next year to work towards. Just to give you an example, two would be: 1) Leila will demonstrate understanding of concepts big and little as demonstrated by her ability to point to the correct object/picture when named. 2) Leila will follow two-step related requests/directions involving herself, objects, and actions during a classroom activity, and she will turn and attend when her name is called in the classroom, without an adult verbal or physical prompt. Sounds simple enough right? Not really!!!
The whole IEP took about 2 1/2 hours. Chris and I walked out feeling confident with the goals set for Leila and that her needs would be met. I have a feeling she will have a hard time adjusting to her morning speech class so Leila's first week of school I will be bringing Leila in for only a half hour to 45 minutes at a time to ease her into her new schedule. She will attend her afternoon ABA classroom like normal though. I feel she'll do great there as it is so similar to what she is doing at home now. Well, I think she'll transition well there.
I've said this to a couple people, and I feel like a bad mom saying this, but I am grateful I will not be there for this new transition period. I think every mother HATES to hear their babies cry, no matter how old they are. Having to be home these past 6 months and listen to Leila cry almost on a daily basis through her sessions has been really hard. Really HARD. It's very stressful and rips me apart. So I am grateful that I won't be in the next room over having to listen to Leila struggle. I'm grateful that there will be trained professionals helping her to work through her frustrations and help her to express what she wants and needs. But I'm sad I won't be there to help her, and I'm sad I won't be there to comfort her when she is upset. I'm SAD to let go of my baby. I've been with Leila since she was born, I've been a stay at home mom with her the whole time. It's hard to give that control to someone else. She will be fine, I know she will be. It's just really hard to let go.