Today Rob and I met with nine members of Faith's IEP team at school this morning. The meeting was at 8:00 a.m. so we had one of our respite care providers come get Faith ready for school and take her there, which all worked out very well.
The purpose of Faith's IEP is to set goals for her to work on throughout the school year. The whole team works together to ensure these goals are met, this includes me and Rob who work with her at home to help her attain some of these goals. I must admit that probably the hardest part of the meeting was discussing the fact that she is not making any progress with learning words and having the ability to read. I discussed this in a post from this summer after an eye appointment in which the doctor told us she is probably having trouble getting her eyes to track left to right. It is somewhat disheartening but as the doctor told us we should keep trying and finding new ways to help her eyes "attend" as they called it.
One person on Faith's IEP team is a vision specialist who works with the students at school and she gave us some great ideas on how we could get Faith to move her eyes around and focus on various objects, colors, shapes and words just to help increase her tracking abilities and to sort of train her eye muscles to track and identify in a quicker manner. We also decided to do more with Faith from an auditory standpoint. Some students with cerebral palsy do not have the ability to read so they do everything through auditory input as opposed to visual input. I do continue to have hope though that Faith will be able to read.
One of the more exciting things we talked about at the meeting is the assistive technology Faith is getting that will make learning much easier for her at school. She is going to be having a laptop mounted on her chair and all the books and other lessons that the other kids are working on in the classroom will be downloaded onto Faith's computer. So that for a book that the kids are reading, Faith will have that book on her computer and will be able to turn the pages by using her switches. These are the same switches Faith uses to drive her chair - it is amazing to me that they can connect all of this together for her!
Another exciting venture this year is that Faith will be in her power chair all day at school. This is especially nice for me because after school instead of having me push her up the hill, she'll be able to drive up the hill! She did it today and she did so good! Of course though when we are trying to leave school, she has to stop and visit along the way. It was cute because as we were heading towards our apartment, one of her aides who is also a crossing guard, was coming down from the hill so we stopped to chat. Faith was getting a little bored and ended up doing circles in her chair while she waited for us to stop talking.
All in all, the IEP went very well and I feel so blessed that Faith has such a great team to work with her. I believe if anyone can help her to achieve her goals, it is this amazing group of people. (This includes her fantastic instructional aides who help her in so many ways). I am also really impressed with Faith's teacher and I know Faith really likes her. I really believe 2nd grade is going to be her best school year yet.