In June of 1996 we had Ben’s IEP which would decide his special education placement for his upcoming elementary school years. While we had not yet moved into our new house we had decided on the general location in county where we would be. Based upon that, Ben was given a placement at the multi-categorical program at Elmont Elementary School. Though this ended up not being in our district, the school was only about seven miles from our new house. South Anna Elementary School, which was our district school did not have a program until a few years later.
The IEP took place about a month after Ben underwent the Hawaii Early Learning Profile (HELP) which is a checklist on cognitive, gross motor, fine motor, social-emotional and self-help skills. Here is a list of the observations just to give you an idea of where Ben was at the age of six years and eight months.
All areas had a scattering of skills within the 0-18 month range – some like cognitive were higher than others. (Dennis and I were very skeptical of these results. While we knew that the fact that Ben was non-verbal and that the cerebral palsy was a hindrance to development, we were certain cognitively Ben was well beyond the 18 month range. The problem with the educational testing being done on Ben was that it was based upon a snapshot in time. We found later, as everyone worked more with Ben and got to know him, they seemed to give more latitude for the physical limitations).
Willingness to take part in activities, very social, receptive language skills, can comply to a two-step command.
Lack of focus on certain activities (academic and walking down the hallway), very social (it’s a double-edged sword), easily distracted by others.
Present Classroom Performance
Ben is pleasant and displays enjoyment by smiling, hugging, and showing facial expressions of excitement. He enjoys praise and interaction with others. He wants to please and openly seeks praise.
Ben learns best with hands on functional experience while paired with verbal communication. Also modeling seems beneficial both by peers and adults.
Ben is not toilet trained and shows no interest to attempt this independently. When frustrated and/or tired Ben will hit at the person he is communicating with.
All in all we were happy with the IEP in June of 1996. The team seemed very interested in getting Ben into a mainstreamed environment because it appeared to be something that would benefit him. They designated the following as times during the day when Ben would be mainstreamed:
P.E; Art; Music; Library; Lunch; Field Trips; Assemblies; Special Activities