I left work early on Thursday so that Peter and I could attend our first parent-teacher conference. Uncertain about when Philip might take his afternoon nap, we had made arrangements for my mom to come to our house and watch Philip while we were gone.
Philip was asleep when I got home, but he began to stir shortly afterwards. It was obvious that he was waking up by the time Grandma arrived. It became even more obvious that Philip had not taken a long enough nap because he awoke in tears. He was crying on Grandma’s shoulder when we left for the short drive to the school.
When we arrived, Mrs. P, Philip’s teacher, let us in the school and walked us back to her classroom. She had Philip’s binder ready along with several reports from his therapists. She started by showing us Philip’s report card. Mrs. P explained that she had not actually marked any of the content areas. I thought I might start to cry as she showed us the various standards used to assess preschoolers and gauge readiness for kindergarten. I managed to keep it together though as Mrs. P went over the comment section, which she did complete. In it, she focused on how much Philip has progressed rather than dwelling on how far he has to go.
Coincidentally enough, just that morning at school, Philip had demonstrated growth in several areas:
- He is starting to independently follow some of the routines of the classroom, sometimes with only the prompt of seeing his visual schedule. Mrs. T, his speech therapist, reported that earlier that morning he took off his coat and moved over to his cubby to put it away.
- He can play independently in some of the centers. Mrs. P said that on this particular day, she was able to leave him in the work station alone until he had reached the final step. She stepped in at this point since he is still struggling with the end of activities and transitioning.
- Unable to appropriately communicate that he was finished with an activity and needed a break, Philip threw a wooden puzzle. Thank goodness that it sailed over the heads of the other students sitting at the table and landed on the floor without hitting anyone. How is this progress? When Mrs. T scolded Philip, he looked at her and cried.
- He ate yogurt from a spoon! Five spoonfuls!!
- He has advanced to the next phase of PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) in which he uses a sentence strip to say “I want” along with the picture icon of his desired item. On Thursday, he tried to use this to say he wanted a graham cracker like the other students rather than the yogurt that Mrs. P was offering him. And that he was eating. With a spoon!
- Mrs. W, the educational assistant, heard him using a “b” sound while she changed his diaper, continuing an increase in the amount and variety of his babbling.
For the most part, Philip is making adequate progress toward the goals on his IEP. I was glad to see the updates because it helps me know of things that we can work on at home like copying lines and kicking a ball.
In a related note, I asked Mrs. P if they had been teaching Philip to zip up his coat. She said they have been trying. She was delighted to hear that he has been doing this on his own at home since last week. Now that I’ve told on him, they aren’t going to stop helping him with his zipper at school.
The conference lasted 45-minutes, and included a visit with the director to talk about options for summer. The director promised to begin the process to get Philip evaluated and qualified for extended school year.
Like any parent, I could have stayed and talked about Philip for hours. But Mrs. P had other parents to meet with and we had our little man at home.
Tonight for supper, I decided to see if Philip would eat some yogurt from a spoon. Not only did he eat half the container of yogurt, he shared beef and rice with me-from the spoon.