Friday, February 6, 2009

The Meeting

We met on Tuesday with the PUSD Special Education Preschool team to get their full assessment on BOY. In the last two months, I had brought him in twice for a series of occupational and psychological tests, each session lasting over two hours. And, they visited his preschool four times to observe him. Once by a speech therapist, twice by the occupational therapist, and once by the psychologist. Each visit they stayed 2 hours. They were incredibly thorough. Our meeting with the team, to go over their findings, was three hours. BOY's teacher also attended for the first two hours, and we are so appreciative of her taking the time to do that.

The assessment was helpful. Incredibly beneficial and validating. In fact, we were impressed. 50 pages of documentation. A compilation of the test results, all the observations, and the summary findings of the many questionnaires that were filled out both by us and his teacher. The attention to detail, and the hours of work that went into the report, was truly amazing! 50 pages of our BOY. And they got him. Really got him. All of his strengths and gifts, how much fun he is, and the challenges that he faces.

There are 4 areas of need to be addressed. Three of them relate to Sensory Processing. Sensory Processing refers to how the brain organizes and integrates sensory information from our bodies and the environment, so that we use what we need to perform everyday activities and function in an adaptive way.**

The areas of need with Sensory Processing:

BOY has significant difficulty with drawing, tracing & writing.

BOY has difficulty with attention - inattentive, easily distracted much of the time.

BOY has difficulty using both hands, both sides of his body in a coordinated way. (Example: Although BOY uses both sides of his body, he avoids crossing mid-line, and uses strategies such as switching hands, or turning the paper around, instead of tracing or cutting continuously while coordinating turning the paper as necessary.)

The other area of need is in Communication:

BOY requires repetition of many directions, and he often ignores what he is told.

In summary...what all of this means is that BOY does meet the criteria for special education services as a student with a specific learning disability: deficit in the psychological processing area of attention. As well as additional issues related to sensory processing. The best news is that BOY's challenges can be treated with Occupational Therapy, and it can all be overcome.

Ever since BOY was born, we have had periods of challenge that seemed outside the norm, and it is validating to have an answer. As E said in the meeting, for us it is as if puzzle pieces are finally falling into place. Yet, at the same time, no one wants their child to have additional challenges. It is painful. I adore BOY so... And, adore doesn't EVEN BEGIN to cover how much I love him and treasure him.

At the end of the meeting they gave us their recommendations:

  1. For BOY to have Occupational Therapy for 45 minutes once a week.

  2. To move BOY as soon as possible from his current preschool, and enroll in a school district Pre-K morning preschool inclusion class at a local elementary school. There he would get specific help all week by teachers trained in these specific learning disability areas. And... he would be able to excel in the areas where he has strengths. An inclusion classroom is one in which you have 15 students who are general education students, and up to 5 children with special needs. There is a full-time general education teacher as well as a full-time special education teacher in the classroom. In addition, they have two full-time aides.

But, we LOVE his preschool!! Do we want to move him AGAIN?

To be continued...

**Definition of Sensory Processing taken from the report.

submit to reddit


  1. "And he would be able to excel in the areas where he has strengths."

    That is the very best part...because that will feel sooooo good for him.

  2. Oh, that is so hard, what do you think you'll do?

  3. I'm so glad you were able to get some answers! Unfortunately, answers usually come with more questions, right? Good luck, and you know where to find me if you want to "talk".

  4. Oh, nothing is ever simple, is it?!? But how wonderful to have BOY's gifts and challenges understood so thoroughly -- that alone must have been a tremendous relief and affirmation. BOY is a delight, and there are lots of us who adore him. We'll be rooting for you!

    J&E's mommy

  5. Would it be the elementary school that he will attend in the fall? In that case you're just making a move earlier than anticipated.

    If you don't want to move him, can you take him for the OT, etc. on your own?

  6. Change preschools. My GIRL -- who is now 13 -- has some similar issues, especially in regards to sensory integration. She also has visual processing deficits. She was in occupational therapy for several years. The good news is it is really fun; kids love it. But the changes occur slowly. It's not like a pill. But the more you can integrate occupational therapy sorts of things into his daily life the better, and a preschool that is equipped to help him with his difficulties the better. Good luck. Email me if you ever have any questions with this kind of stuff.

  7. I'm glad you got good, helpful information. I think you will know what is right for him in due time; just give yourself some time to digest all this information.

  8. My daughter's City school, which is otherwise kindergarten-only, has a preschool program like this, and everyone says it's FABULOUS! They are particularly high on how much the general ed students are unquestioningly loving and helpful; peers who grow up knowing that OF COURSE special needs kids are first of all kids just like they are. It sounds like a God-sent opportunity, as was all the careful expert evaluation.

  9. You will do what's right of course. You always do! But my goodness, you've all gone through it haven't you?

    I recognize some of those qualities in the Queen. Of course, in the dismal educational environment we have in this state, no one will notice or care if she needs occupational therapy, and it wouldn't be available if they did. We really need to move.

  10. It's good to get it sorted out. Our son had meningitis as a baby and it destroyed the fine motor and balance parts of his brain and inner ear. Thanks to OT and a lot of work, he managed to hang in there. He's now in his second year of college. He still can't write legibly, but he can type like a maniac. And the most important thing is that he has become a very good skier just using visual cues for balance. He falls over even just standing if he closes his eyes, but the OT has let him get on with life in the main stream.

    Good luck - and I know the pre-school question is hard.

  11. Glad you got the answers you have been needing for so long. You will make the right decision for him I am sure.

  12. It's good to have specifics to focus on. It may be hard to make the switch now but it might be best to get him the attention he needs now so he doesn't fall behind later. Kids are very resilient. It's us who have difficulty with change. Good luck.

  13. How empowering to know exactly what he needs help with and how to help him! I am struggling with that for my 10 year old and just GETTING him to the evaluation stage has already taken like 5 months and it's still not done. I keep having to fight with out insurance to get the referrals. Sucks. I'm excited for your family! Answers are GREAT! :D

  14. How wonderful! You have answers and a plan of action and a fantastic attitude. I have no doubt that your BOY is going to do very well and you will make the right decisions for him.

  15. I am impressed with how thorough the observation and eval was. And I can only imagine the relief and validation you must feel. BOY is on his way to higher ground. Yahoo for you all.

  16. I don't like the word 'disability'... I prefer 'special attention needed'. Ok maybe I'm deceiving myself, but that's a negative word isn't it...

    anyhow, I know you'll handle this well, much better than most, cos' you always have that positive energy in you....
    *big hugs*

  17. oh, it's so hard making educational choices for your kids! best of luck figuring out the best thing to do!

  18. For what it is worth, I am a big fan of an inclusion program.

    My son had speech and fine motor skill delays and within such a program, he grew leaps and bounds. He thrived socially. His teacher worked with him on his strengths too, seeing him in a more holistic way.

    (I have shed some tears this week over budget cuts that might dismantle this lovely program. It worked wonders! ACK!)

    I just know you will find the right thing for him. We are rooting from here.

  19. cheers, mama. your hard work is paying off!

  20. He sounds so much like my Dino--not crossing midline, both sides not coordinating and many of the other traits.

    I completely feel your pain. Dino is in the pubic pre-k 3 days a week and a private pre-school 2 days a week. This has been a great combo. Do you think this might work for BOY?

    Also, please feel free to email me, you are in the same spot I was in last summer. it is very hard :(

  21. I'm so glad you go the answers you needed - and that the people you're dealing with recognize BOY for all his uniqueness.

    It seems that moving him to where he'll be better understood is the best (albeit not the easiest) decision.

  22. My oldest went through 8 months of OT for sensory processing. I see some of the same things (and symptoms manifested differently) in the other two. We had a period where I was "brushing" all three of them three times a day for over-stimulation issues. What a difference treatment has made. The process was VERY slow at first and then it just seemed to click. SPD is a funny thing because it affects each kid completely different. I am glad your school system understands. It is still a very unrecognized diagnosis.

    Email me if ya have any specific questions. I was a physical therapist in my pre-kid life so when we got the diagnosis I went into hyper-research mode! I have been to professional seminars and read 10+ books on it 'cuz that is the way we roll...

    The good news is: it is SO VERY TREATABLE. And treatable without medication.


This blog is no longer taking comments.

Copyright © 2007-2014 JCK.

The content on these pages is the sole property of the author and may not be used or reproduced in any manner without consent.

All Rights Reserved.