Looking for Concrete Suggestions, Fast

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bear's EI transition meeting with the school district evaluators is on Wednesday.

My EI coordinator told me there's no need to prep and that she'd give me a book at the meeting.  Clearly, she has no idea what kind of OCD pre planning mommy warrior she is dealing with.

(And possibly... a vapid nitwit who needs to be beat with a clue stick?! I mean... telling parents not to prep for one of the most important meetings of their child's entire life?!)

Anyway.  I found the ISBE site full of documents and worksheets and even a little video.  So, that's what I'll be immersed in between now and Wednesday morning.

Here's the situation:

- Bear's gonna be discharged from speech.  He's caught up, there's no way he's going to qualify for school district services (requires 30% delay).
- OT is only considered a "support service," and if he's not in ST then he won't be granted OT through school
- at this time, none of his additional diagnoses support a request for OT
- all of our wonderful EI therapists have been telling me to ask for what he needs, but prepare for the high probability that he will not be granted services

Here's my question:

Assuming the stars are in alignment and the dog doesn't eat their homework, SPD will be validated for bureaucratic purposes with the next edition of the DSM.  Which is due out BEFORE Bear starts kindergarten.  Which changes things.

How should I handle that conversation with the evaluators?  Since I already know to expect nothing from them, I refuse to tap dance around his SPD.  I've read things that suggest not to mention it since it's not "official" and to stick to only discussing whatever other diagnosis can get what your kid needs.  I feel like I'm free of that particular semantic burden.

I know I can't play the bitchy bully, but I also want them to know I'm a well informed parent who doesn't intend to back down.

So... should I play dumb and ask them how they would like to manage things when the situation for SPD changes, or should I simply inform them I'll be knocking on their door while the ink on the DSM-V is still wet?

And I do go ahead now and start talking about the classroom concessions his OT is already suggesting he will probably need?  Or do I wait another 3 years, when he's actually going to be in a classroom?


  1. So I'm no expert, but I also refused to tap dance around the SPD part. I was lucky to have a teacher and the school OT on my side who had already seen his sensory stuff explode in the classroom, so she found a way to pick him up for OT with his "pencil grip", which meant she could pull him out to work on that along with sensory issues.
    A few suggestions that worked for me: one, bring a "all about Bear" sheet to the meeting. Tell them who he is. Talk about his strengths, weaknesses, triggers. Be specific if possible.
    I would also ask if any of the preschool teachers have special ed background, or if he could be placed in a classroom where there are extra aides/teachers. Just having someone to keep an eye on him could help diffuse his triggers if they know them ahead of time.
    I say all this having been there - all official services were initially denied to my son when he turned 3 and it wasn't until his ASD diagnosis did we get official help. But he was placed in a classroom w/a sped certified teacher and extra aides were accommodations were already helping other kids, and that helped him too.
    Good luck tomorrow!

  2. Really basic here: You need to show how the sensory issues affect his ACADEMIC performance.

    Small motor skill issues
    Large motor skill issues
    Speech (articulation might be fine, but auditory processing is usually a problem for our kiddos)
    Motor Planning
    Endurance (writing, PE, etc.)
    Concentration (too much input, can't focus)

    Write down each sensory issue, bullet point style, and how it affects his learning. Ask to be evaluated (or go private, that is how I do it) for small/large motor skill deficits and motor planning. Your child can and WILL qualify on those for OT services -- which means that they can add sensory to the accommodations without any legal issue.

    Also know that a school has the LEGAL capacity to accommodate ANYTHING THEY CHOOSE under 'otherwise health impaired' if your child has ANY diagnosis (SPD included).

    And my advice, the schools hate it when I come in telling them about the DSM. So that brings me to this:

    People (school staff) like to help those who appear to need help. Not so much those that come in over-prepared demanding their rights. This is a time when you will attract more help with fresh baked cookies and a smile, than a stack of paper work and demands.

    Ease back chica. No guns-a-blazin' yet. All in good time. :)