Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Upcoming IEP ...

So, I have been thinking about Zoey's IEP that is coming up this week and have been asked by the powers that be, to think about the topics I want to cover, as we begin to gather information on her placement for next year. Kindergarten placement is going to be a little tricky. We have a number of options and to say I am confused, is an understatement.

However, I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I need everyone involved to look past the fact that my child is 100% dependent on another individual for her every need. I instead need them to realize, that although her tiny body is not able to stand and walk and get to the potty or feed herself, or verbally express herself, I need them to see, her little mind knows exactly what she wants. Zoey speaks volumes, in her own way. She lets us know that she just wants to be part of this great big world that surrounds her. She wants to participate in everything little thing that goes on, especially when other children are involved. She needs to, in my opinion, be in the least restrictive environment, that allows her to use her body and her mind, in her own unique and brilliant way.

Last weekend when I was away, Mark took the kids to the zoo in Santa Barbara. There is this little grassy knoll the kids gather at and slide down on pieces of cardboard. Mark said that the boys started sliding down that thing and Zoey wanted out of her stroller immediately. Mark would no sooner put her up at the top of that hill, that she would find her way down in nothing flat and want Mark to carry her back up to do it all over again and again and again. Perhaps I should just bring in these videos. Maybe these are all that needs to be seen as we gather round table. Maybe they need to see these images instead of the wheelchair and the diagnoses and the numbers that place her at a 12-15 month level, at best, on those extremely frustrating and sometimes down right depressing, cognition tests. Maybe they need to see in my child, the face of a little girl, who had defied all the odds and  who just wants to soak in and explore all the opportunities that are at her precious finger tips, only if they take the time to bring them to her and her to them. And, if they can decide that Zoey deserves nothing less then their best. ( Sorry about the quality of these. They are from Mark's phone)






20 comments:

Rosemary said...

That little girl has intelligence beyond anything that has been measured...it is evident by the way she responds to peoples' suggestions of what she should do. Definitely take in the videos...they speak volumes. And by the way...that hair...gorgeous!!! Also love how loving the little boys are with her! Rosemary

The VW's said...

Look at that happy girl playing with her brothers! Love her!

The Annessa Family said...

She looks like {GASP} a little girl! I think sometimes the "powers that be" stop looking at the child and only see a label or a diagnosis. She is Zoey, first and foremost. And it is hard as a parent to know that not everyone see's that!

My IEP advice would be to fight like hell for this one. It's going to be hugely important as to where they place her to begin with. So I would suggest going as least-restrictive/mainstream as possible and be open to dropping down or adding supports as needed.

Besides - the real function of Kindergarten is making friends, sharing, learning to get along...clearly your little lady can do all those things with her typical peers! If she needs to be pulled out for more academic-focused stuff, fine! But she should get time with her " typically developing peers" as a RULE, not the exception.

Mmkay - off my IEP soap box for now! You have my email if you want me to ramble on more! Wish you lived closer! I LOVE me some IEPs!

Brooke
www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

Tooz said...

As a former "special ed" teacher, I definitely think you ought to take some of your videos and pictures (maybe in a 5-minute power point on a lap top?). That would be so good for the folks who do not know Zoey, other than as paperwork. BTW, did you ever get the grass stain out of her leggings? :)

Peter Olson said...

Don't you think that her classmates could learn from Zoey? (that is a rhetorical question of-course) :-)
Her determination, will to overcome obstacles, communication skills, motivation ...
She is an inspiration.
It would be wrong to look at her as a liability in the classroom.
I pray that you find great teachers and staff to work with you and Zoey and that her classmates fall in love with her like all the rest of us have already. :-)

Kaden Epstein said...

I can only hope that during the IEP that "those that be" can see how Zoey wants to interact with peers her age, like at soccer and the many places she exhibits this! I don't know much about the entire IEP process but , when I taught Kindergarten in Glendale, we had a little girl who was blind and had had a stroke in our class. Not only was it a great experience for that little girl, it was an amazing learning opportunity for ALL the children in the class! May you get what is best for Zoey in this process!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE,LOVE THESE VIDEOS!!!

thank you Mark for taking them, and thank you Heather for posting them on the blog. They are beyond amazing - what a fun time she had with her brothers! And weren't they sweet to "go down the hill" with her. You guys are the best big brothers!!!

Aunt Bluebelle

PS for sure those videso need to go
with you

Aunt Bluebelle

Kristin said...

So cute. She looks like "one of the gang." I like Tooz's idea of taking in a video presentation on a laptop. It's so hard to evaluate our kiddos. They are so different in many areas - how do you place a blanket "they're functioning at an 18 month old level" when that may be only a small part of their little personalities? I think about this all the time with Max. Sometimes he acts exactly like our two yr old neighbor. Then sometimes he acts like the one yr old neighbor ;) Good luck.

Melissa said...

Who needs cardboard? Zoey's got it all figured out! Love the videos. :)

Shelly Turpin said...

Good luck my friend. I know you will find a way. Zoey is amazing.

DAVID HAAS said...

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Rochelle said...

Love the videos! Kindergarten oh my goodness. I can't believe it. I am praying for you as you discern what God is laying on your heart to share with the team about Zoey. She will win them over in a matter of minutes!

Becca said...

Oh, my, that beautiful child has got it goin' ON!!! She's a little sponge, picking up and soaking in all of the world around her - I hope nobody denies her that opportunity at school. And ditto what Peter said, that her classmates will learn so much from HER! Good luck with the IEP meeting - I'll be anxious to hear how it all turns out. Yes, it is terribly confusing and there are so many complicated options, but it can be tailor-designed to what will work best for ZOEY.

Love, love, love these videos - they speak VOLUMES to what that little princess is all about. I think I could sit and watch them over and over again all day. Actually, I think I will... :-)

Elizabeth said...

That Zoey is going to blow your mind one day even more than she probably has already -- I'm serious.

As for the IEP, if you need a stalwart friend in there, well -- here I am. I hope you go for full inclusion with an aide. I hope you do.

stephanie said...

Screw those friggin tests, bring the video.

Thanks for the good cry..

Sherry C said...

Zoey is a cutie she reminds me of my girl. I really wanted her fully included and she loves it she still is and in grade one. She has a hot pink wheel chair an ipad and a step by step to communicate. Her classmates embrace and love she learns from them and they have learned so much from her. I wrote this for her school when we discussed our plans for grade one. http://ashleydamonandjames.blogspot.com/2011/03/grade-one-planning-already.html

What ever decision you make will be the right one. I know Ashley would likely thieve in a special needs classroom too as well as at her home school but I so badly wanted her at school with her brothers. Where I felt I could be more involved. Good luck it's a hard decision.

I also love this piece

Alaina and Kyle said...

I love the videos. As a teacher, if Zoey was coming into my classroom I would have LOVED for you to share those videos to me.

Lacey said...

I really need to get her and Arina together, they would have a ball. Arina scoots on her butt just like Zoey!
Zoey's little body just can't keep us with her mind. She will do what everyone else can in her own way. I truly hope the school see's that!

Googsmom said...

I LOVE Zoey!!!

Laura Gilmour said...

Zoey may not do well
on formal assessments, but she understands activities in context. She knew exactly what to do in that video. Most of the children I work with (autism) have more motor skills. However, almost none of them (even those who score in the normal range for intelligence) would be able to join a group of other children in a game like that.