I have read about so many moms who dread these meetings, and leave them feeling disappointed and discouraged about their child's progress. I completely understand how many people can feel that way; we often leave doctor's appointments feeling the same thing. Fortunately I can't think of a meeting we've had yet that ended with me feeling sad or discouraged. I will admit that I often times feel very overwhelmed after they're over because a part of the meeting is talking about new strategies to help Tera meet her goals. It's also about revisiting some of the already existing strategies and this is sometimes when I realize we never really worked on a particular strategy and I feel guilty for not trying it.
I think a big part of how these meetings go is how the therapists and the coordinator work together and what their relationship with the child is. In our case, we absolutely love all of her therapists and her coordinator. We always feel that they are as vested in her progress and success as we are. That sometimes surprises me and then I remember the feeling I get when one of my students performs the way I know and hope they can. From the parent's perspective it's just very reassuring to know how much they care about her as a child and us as a family. It will be very difficult to leave this team behind when Tera transitions to Early Childhood; but that's for another post.
At this particular meeting we talked about what resources we receive and use as a family to help Tera. At this point in her process, we are starting to prepare for her transition to Early Childhood in February after she turns three. We discussed what the order of events would be and what we need to do to be ready for those meetings. I've already been in contact with the Director of Special Services for our school district and she knows that Tera's name will be coming across her desk. In either October or November, we will meet with the teachers and evaluators at SEDOL (the Special Education District of Lake County) to see the facilities and get an understanding of who everyone is. Then they'll schedule all of her evaluations to see what services she qualifies for, and then right before her 3rd birthday we'll sit down with her current team and her new team to write her IEP (Individualized Education Plan).
After that we moved onto her other goals. We had wanted Tera to begin to imitate simple sounds and words and use signs to communicate her wants and needs. We all agreed that she has really made huge strides in this area. Her receptive language has increased dramatically (what she can understand) and her expressive language is starting to begin verbally and increase by signing. She definitely imitates readily. We adapted this to say she will continue to increase her spoken words and continue the use of signing.
Her next goal basically had to do with her constant throwing of things. While it's definitely still a problem, we all agree that it has gotten somewhat better.
Finally we had wanted Tera to begin walking up and down stairs with the use of a railing only and begin to kick, throw, and catch a ball. We can happily say that she is definitely going down the stairs holding the railing and while we don't feel comfortable having her do it on her own completely yet, she's doing very well. Next we'll start to work on walking up as well. She is beginning to kick a ball when asked and can throw and catch (when you're close) pretty well.
In summary, everyone has been very pleased by her progress. We all think that she's shown huge improvements in her behavior and attitude since being moved up to the next classroom at daycare and hope that those improvements continue. The tricky part to her continued success in all areas is dealing with her health issues. Obviously when she's sick most strategies that we try to incorporate to help with her various goals go out the window. Sometimes areas she was making gains in slow down and many times after finally figuring out a way to regularly incorporate something, we have to figure it out all over again when she gets sick and then healthy again.
So we'll continue to work on what we can while we can and hopefully in the next month or so I'll be able to share that her spoken vocabulary has expanded beyond mama (which never gets old by the way), dada, ay yay yay, and cheese.