Monday, May 18, 2009


Whew! Luckily, I am somewhat familiar with all of these acronyms. Today, we had our ARC (Admissions and Release Committee) meeting to discuss Ryan's IEP (Individual Education Plan/Program). We are very blessed that Ryan has such a wonderful team of people working with him on his goals. He has made such great strides this year and we can't imagine what he will have mastered by this time next year. He will continue with speech therapy and deaf education services next year. He will also remain in the preschool program with the same teacher and quite a few of his current school friends. In late winter, the school system ordered him an FM system for his BAHA. Basically, it is a little piece that connects onto his BAHA and the teacher wears a little microphone clipped to her shirt and the receiver which is the size of a cell phone attaches to her waist. The sound is then sent directly to his BAHA. This significantly decreases the background noise within the classroom and has been very effective. The teacher is amazed that she can whisper into it and he immediately scans the room for eye contact with her. He will continue to use that as an adaptive device. Our biggest goal this coming year is to work on his speech as well as his ability to respond to questions (both yes/no and the"wh" questions). We discovered recently that he may not always understand what we are asking and that he relies heavily on our cues - the cues that we did not realize we were giving. So, we frequently have to turn off the expressions and ask questions with a "stone" face to assess his understanding of what we are asking or saying. After recognizing this, we have observed him and he is taking in everything before responding...our expressions, tone, body language. Visual phonics will also be integrated across the board to help with his speech. This past winter, his preschool teacher and I went to a workshop that was facilitated by the deaf education teacher and it is amazing how quickly he was drawn to this method. So, next year the speech therapist will be on board and we will be able to use it consistently with him when he is having difficulties with a particular sound, word, or blend. Academically, he is developing in leaps and bounds - the teacher will teach him something once and he takes off with it. Rarely does she need to go back and reteach. He is a very observant, sharp little guy! We are thankful that everyone was very open to hearing us out and taking into consideration our goals and expectations for him. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the meeting. Although it has been many years, I have always been on the other side of the table - assessing, teaching, and writing goals. It is quite different being on the other side - the one advocating for your child and the one that knows your child and his abilities better than anyone else.