13 June 2011

The First School District Report is In

I just received Sheridan's first written assessment report from the school district: the pre-academic and academic skills assessment (I provide more detailed info below for those who are curious what such an assessment looks like). In two pages I found only 4 corrections I requested be made. Not bad (but we believe they are important corrections, so we'll see how it goes). 

I appreciate that the Resource Specialist is working with me... she sent me a copy of the report to review before turning in the final report. I believe this is how it should work (e.g., if I have a question or a correction we identify it before the IEP meeting) - we're all on this team together! :) 

As far as her recommendations or any goals, she simply wrote, "Recommendations will be made at the IEP meeting." Of course, I would prefer to see her suggested goals in advance (although she did tell me verbally at the end of the assessment what she thought might be good goals and she asked for my input). Writing goals is part of the IEP so I'm fine with waiting to discuss as a team :)

What was Included in the Assessment

The pre-academic and academic skills assessment (she used the Brigance Diagnostic Inventory of Early Development II) was sort of a global assessment that covered the following areas: (keep in mind some of this was based on parent report, and his speech therapist who happened to be present for part of the assessment weighed in a few times, too, to verify I was telling the truth :) 

  1. Fine-motor skills - he can squeeze a squeaky toy (that one kind of cracked me up, honestly), put objects into a container, use a good grasp and voluntarily release, take objects out of container, grasp objects easily and automatically, unwrap loosely wrapped items - think: give him a granola bar that I've already opened - he can tear through that sucker and get what he wants out of the wrapper :) - deliberately pour/dump objects from a container (oh boy, can he), stack 3-4 boring one-inch cubes (my commentary, not verbatim from the report), scribble with crayons without losing contact from the paper, hold a pencil with his fingers (not fisted), imitate scribbles in vertical, horizontal, and some circular directions. By the way, yes, this is all OT stuff, and Sheridan will have an OT eval, as well. 
  2. Gross-motor skills - Sheridan can stand without support, attempts to jump without hands held but feet do not leave the floor yet, walks well, walks sideways (she wrote 2 steps, so this was correction request #1: he can walk more than 2 steps... at least 5-10 when he is skirting an obstacle), he runs with some falling - that boy thinks he's Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, and Jesse Owens all wrapped up together... but with less coordination at high speeds :) - he walks backwards, stands on his tip-toes (holding on for balance), and walks up and down stairs with hand held. Yup, you guessed it, he'll also have a PT eval by the district.
  3. Receptive and expressive language - he can expressively (meaning say) identify pictures of common objects using signs and approximates the word (correction #2 was requested here: she said 22 out of 27 objects based on Sheridan's speech therapist pointing out that he can do up to 26 or 27 of the 30 Kaufmann cards he's working on - so that's a finite number of cards, but Sheridan can say (sign/approximate) likely around 200 objects/words - he receptively (meaning he understands) identifies pictures of common objects, 20 body parts (he knew more than that but some he knows aren't on their list), he can follow three-step directions (this was correction request #3: her report only said one-step directions but I pointed out that during the assessment I asked Sheridan to (1) go get his "I Spy" book off the shelf, (2) bring it over here, and (3) sit down so we could read it together), he uses polite phrases such as please and thank you, he signs his name (correction #4: he doesn't sign his name, he says it). He'll have a speech eval, too.
  4. Academic - he gives one or two objects when asked, he counts to five with one-to-one correspondence (he pointed to each of five frogs and counted them correctly), names 9 out of the 11 colors on the list (he doesn't name grey or pink much) and points to 10 out of 11 colors (he can identify pink if asked), he matches colors, identifies pictures by description, identifies about 15 sight words, when given a book he turns it right side up and turns the pages one at a time, he looks at pictures selectively, points to pictures of interest, points to pictures of common objects when asked, labels pictures of common objects using signs and approximations.
  5. Daily living - Sheridan drinks from a cup/glass held in two hands without assistance, uses a straw, working on drinking from open cup, he returns the cup to the table after drinking, uses a spoon without turning it upside down with little to no spilling, uses a fork, working on using utensils with fingers (still uses fist mostly), he assists with dressing (meaning he puts his arms in, steps into pants, helps pull up underwear, etc), removes some articles of clothing and his shoes, working on putting on his shoes and socks, uses potty but may need help with clothing, lets parents know when he needs to go potty, completes toileting routine with some assistance and reminders.
  6. Work-related skillshe opens doors or cabinets without knobs, can open a door with a handle, helps put things away, exhibits signs of developing independence by having the attitude that “I can do it myself” (boy, does he EVER!), watches TV for twenty minutes (he watches 1-2 episodes of Signing Time a day), engages in activities for five to ten minutes, participates in songs and finger plays during circle time activities that last about ten minutes.
  7. Social skillsSheridan dramatizes adult activities, associates objects in play, watches other children and may attempt to join, engages in domestic play imitating an adult activity (e.g., cooking, talking on the phone), gives affection to family members, shows an interest in the activities of others, shows (A LOT of!!!!) pride and pleasure in new accomplishments, explores the environment and returns to the caretaker as a secure base, watches the faces of other people for clues to their emotions or feelings, likes to perform for others (seriously, he's a performer!), and takes pleasure in doing simple favors for others.
The report/assessment does not result in a score, rather it provides a general sense of where his "academic readiness" is so we can create goals at his IEP. For example, Sheridan was not interested in the activities the she brought, so we used his own activities (and some his speech therapist had). So, one goal the Resource Specialist suggested she might write is, "increase ability to complete assigned tasks" because he didn't do much of that at her request. In his defense, he simply wasn't interested in some of her requests. In her defense, it is important to follow through (he does complete tasks when he wants to, and I'm not in to forcing him to do something he doesn't want to... BUT, he does need to increase his follow-through when needed... like clean up, complete a task he chose, etc.). So, in the end, this is a decent goal, I think. Another goal will likely be around math skills (increasing his understanding of math concepts to higher numbers - I've never been one to teach him to count to 10 or 20 simply for him to memorize the sequence... I specifically avoided that and instead have worked on lower numbers to ensure that he understands the concept and quantification of each... he can definitely do 1-5, and I'm pretty sure he can do more, so increasing it up to at least 10 over the next year is a great goal to work on early math skills). 

So, that's where we are... just thought I would throw this out there for other families preparing for, looking forward to, or in the throws of transition. As usual, I'm happy to answer questions if you have them :)


  1. We live about 3 and a half hours north of you in Susanville Ca. It sounds like Sherridan has many great therapists working with him. I was wondering what school district he recieves his therapies from? We are begining to look at various places within the state of California that my husband could transfer to and the Sac. area is an area that we are interested in looking at.

  2. So not looking forward to these ;)
    I'll post how the child locator works for us next week. I worried about the wrist band bugging Max, too. I debated about the shoe one. But I figured I could loop the wristband one on a beltloop or even a shoe if needs be.

  3. Whew, I feel sort of tired reading this. Maybelle is getting assessments this summer--today, in fact, some were happening. But she's at a brand new camp, with counselors who don't know her, and her regular therapists weren't there--and neither was I! So how will the therapists know what Maybelle actually can do? I guess I'm going to have to make a lot of corrections to the assessment they send.

    Again, that makes me feel tired.

    But Sheridan sounds like he's doing GREAT!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these! I have a few months before we start the process, but it is clear that I have a lot of work to do! :-) Sheridan is doing great and thank you again for sharing!