Monday, April 9, 2012

From Spring Break to IEP to SEPTSA - Back in the swing of Spring!

Hello all,

Spring Break is officially over and the boys were back in school today. Whenever there is a transition like this, we say an extra special prayer for all the teachers, just in case someone should seem a bit off-schedule! (Nah, that never happens!)

This afternoon we had an IEP meeting at our youngest son's elementary school. We've been through a number of these with our oldest son and a few with our youngest. They are all important but this one was the biggie of the school year since it talked about services he will be receiving as he transitions from Kindergarten to 1st grade in the fall.

We were very happy with the outcome and learned some helpful techniques for making cartooning and social stories more effective at home. Our son is a visual learner which means that he makes meaning from what he sees. Visual learners are often strong in spatial tasks such as math. Sometimes in the learning process, it is difficult for a visual learner to take in information as effectively when just hearing the sound of words. Visual learners are able to take in more information when it is presented to them in a drawing or for example, a picture schedule or social story.

Young children like our son make more meaning when a drawing is presented about themselves personally, provided with context about who and what is in the picture with them. Such drawings can be used at both home and in school to work on emerging concepts, multi-step tasks, etc.

When doing the drawing it was suggested to do it in real-time in front of our son and to include him in the picture so that he can see it and process it in layers. This is much better than just showing a picture story.

I actually want to write a more in-depth blog about the subject but want to correspond a bit with our son's Speech Language Pathologist to make sure I'm presenting the information as accurately as possible.

So all in all, a good day! John and I attended a SEPTSA meeting tonight and officially became members. This is a really neat group of parents who have children in preschool - high school (I think... need to double-check and see if it goes older) that meet once a month to share ideas, gain support, listen to speakers and learn about ways to better connect with their local schools.  It's a little drive to Roosevelt Elementary from the part of Vancouver where we live but it is definitely worth the drive. They meet once a month, usually on the first Monday of the month during the school year but won't be meeting in May.

This is the local Special Education Parent Teacher Association and the first Special Education PTA in Washington state. Brandi & Rainie from SEPTSA were panelists at Autism Empowerment's Acceptance and Awareness panel last week and gave a really good overview of their organization. They are cross-district which is really interesting because at the meetings we get the chance to hear things that are happening in multiple school districts. Vancouver is broken down into the Evergreen School District and the Vancouver School District. We also have the nearby Battleground School District represented and although I didn't see anyone there tonight, it should include the Camas School District as well. (I may be leaving some out.)  The way each district approaches special education can and does vary.

If you're in Clark County, WA, check them out on Facebook!  Nice people!

Well, I'm headed to bed shortly but I'll be back again tomorrow!  We added some new Easter Egg Hunt pictures from Autism Empowerment's Hunt on Saturday.  Such darling kids!

Have a great day!

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