Oh wait, did I say the first real IEP meeting? Well apparently not. This was the Eligibility meeting. Meaning that this was the meeting where we went over all the evaluations and determined whether Nicky would be eligible for ESE services and classroom accommodations.
Basically I went into this hoping that everyone would be on the same page as far as Nicky's abilities and potential, but I was also ready to fight for his rights and needs too. As it turned out, we were all very much on the same page I think.
It was agreed that Nicky is a very amiable, friendly, lovable child who presents as extremely bright and exceedingly distractable. He notices everything, things others can easily tune out (like a cricket that was in the classroom, a set of wind-chimes in the school psychologist's office, etc.) All the areas in which he was tested showed his difficulties in staying on task, focus, attention and impulsivity. Even though he tested very well, and usually either average or high-average in areas, he still had to be redirected and refocused often.
The one area in which he had a noticeable weakness was writing. As a committee, we waffled quite a bit on whether to qualify him under having a learning disability in writing. The cutoff for it was 83 and he scored an 85. But in the end I pointed out that I thought he is not dyslexic, and rather than having dysgraphia I think it's likely that at this time his struggle with writing and drawing has more to do with his difficulty in focus and attention.
So he qualified under the label of ADHD. I pointed out that he hasn't been officially diagnosed with this yet, as we haven't taken him to a psychologist and done all that testing, but the school psychologist said with the evaluations the teachers and I filled out and the observations and evaluations she did, she was comfortable making that diagnosis. I'm happy about. This means he qualifies for ESE services and unlike the Developmental Delay label he received in Florida, ADHD will not drop off at a particular age, so he can receive services as long as they are needed.
I was concerned because I feel he shows much stronger evidence for ADD, without the hyperactivity component (compared to many of my former students where the hyperactivity was so prevalent). But in both the teachers' and my assessments while the evidence of inattentiveness was higher there was still significant evidence of impulsivity and uncontrolled activity which would qualify as the hyperactivity component. And she pointed out that now they really just have the ADHD label and then just qualify it as being with inattentiveness or hyperactivity or whatever. So I'm fine with that label.
This of course does not require or in any way mean we're looking at medicating him in any way at this point. Right now I'm concerned with getting him the classroom accommodations he needs to help him enjoy school and learn at his grade level. When he's older, and can have more of a say in how he's feeling and whether he wants medical intervention, then we might consider going that route. But right now, for him, there isn't enough of a behavior/learning issue to medicate him.
So, now we'll have ANOTHER meeting, the REAL ACTUAL IEP meeting in a few weeks. OMGWTFMEETINGBBQ!1!
And in the meantime we'll be working on Nicky's sight words (of which he only recognizes 3 and he apparently should recognize 10+ at this point) and his writing/drawing. We have some ideas. I have gotten a copy of the dolce sight words today that I'll be turning into flash cards for him. And we have that roll of adhesive paper that turns a flat surface (wall in the kitchen is the plan) into a whiteboard for using dry erase markers. That should help make it more interesting for him. And then we are also thinking about those pads that have a pen/mouse that use a drawing surface that works with the computer. I can't remember what they're called, and they probably cost a ton, but we're thinking of things like that. Aunt Liz had a good idea to see if his Nintendo DS has a game that uses the stylus like that. I'll have to look into it.
And the girls are doing fine. The end.
(Well it was starting to feel like a novel and the girls hadn't gotten much playtime in this post yet.)