First Parent/Teacher Conference

I went to my first Parent/Teacher Conference on Thursday and my standard home schooling joke has been:  “This is my first parent/teacher conference outside of talking to myself in the mirror”!  (Sorry, I couldn’t help it!)  A neat start of this day had to do with Joshua approaching me in the morning and reaching out to me  a Thomas the Train book, saying “Book” as he wanted me to read it to him.  He had never done that before.  What a great indicator of the progress he is making!

Ms. Katie, Ms. Kim, Sandy the OT/PT therapist and Jean, the Speech Therapist, where all there in Joshua’s class.  I brought the older kids and Joshua.  The older kids were thrilled to see where Joshua’s class was and Joshua was so excited to see Ms. Katie and his wonderful school team.  He was simply beaming.  Katie mentioned when he first started pre-school, he rarely smiled.  Now that he knows the routine, he is smiling most of the time.

We all exchanged information as to how he is doing and what outside therapies he is involved in.  I considered it a sort of a team meeting, similar to what I had done in my former professional life.  This time, I, as the parent, was the “team leader” and on the other side of the table.  I am so grateful for all of those who are involved in seeing Joshua improve; everyone’s distinct role and various areas of expertise; as well as the desire to all work together for his good and each delighting in the joy that he is.

Jean gave the first report, and we discussed how Joshua was doing with his speech therapy, both at school and with Amanda.  Josh seems to have delayed responses in his echolalia/scripted speech, even up to a day as he needs to have help with pointing his finger, for example, but will occasionally point at home (when it involves food especially).  I  shared what Amanda was working on with speech in that she is trying to get him to go outside of his scripted language, “Ready, set, GO!” when going down the slide, for example, and challenging him to say: “Down” instead.  We also talked about how he is beginning to learn how to play a reciprocal games.  He does that with Michael when we play at home, and is starting to expand that, playing with Amanda on Tuesday.  For a few minutes  they both took turns playing with a toy train on a track, Amanda driving it to a certain point, and Joshua driving it back around.  Katie and Kim both spoke of his intermittent expressive language, and his increase verbalization, especially involving snack (I’m not surprised) and encouraged by his peers modeling.  Joshua doesn’t respond to most questions, however and is inconsistent with imitating words.  He is requesting more frequently with looking, reaching, and grabbing items, which is consistent at home.

Sandy shared about his OT and his ability to be able to sit for longer periods at a table and focus for 15-20 minutes, working on fine motor skills.  He is able to pick out requested colors and needs cues and encouragement to persist with 2-3 step fine motor projects.  He does need some hand over hand assistance with pencil grip and scissor use.  They are working on helping him use a modified tripod grasp as he tends to use a lateral grasp.  I have been so impressed with the work he is doing as I hadn’t seen that at home.  Perhaps due to me trying to do to many things at once.  He is obviously benefiting with the one on one instruction.  I did inform Sandy of him starting Visual Therapy this Monday and his diagnosis of being farsighted and his eyes not working together properly.  The hope is that as he progresses with Vision Therapy, it will help, not only with his fine motor skills, but also help him with catching balls, and walking downstairs.  I need to check back with Sandy regarding her mentioning a vision therapist at school and seeing if it would be prudent to get one on his team at school, as well.  She had mentioned something about one, but I wasn’t clear as to what one would do.

Katie described Joshua’s progress with social skills as improving in simply learning and following the classroom and school rules.  He still needs to work on showing interest in other children, answering adults, making small talk, sharing toys when asked (which he does, on his own volition at home, occasionally, which still thrills me to see, as well as Michael).  In terms of self-help skills, he has yet to score on the scale, being quite delayed.  He is having some success in toilet training, going in the toilet both at home and at school.  However, the first goal is to help him to start to initiate.  He’s only done so at home, once, while we happened to be in the bathroom.  I am working on making more picture cards of toilets to have around the house, to aid in his development of this skill.

With the review of his progress, the discussion then went to Katie and I talking about what the progress is looking like getting a full day program at Cottage Lake for the autistic children.  One issue is that the population is much smaller and there is limited resources available.  I was encouraged that the district is at least looking at the problem and my thinking is that perhaps, myself and other parents of autistic kids, could pool together and let our voices be heard.  I just want to be sure that the autistic kids get the kind of treatment they need to truly benefit from their education from the school district, similar to the program on the other side of the district.  That’s on my short list of the things I need to do.

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 28th, 2010 at 11:09 pm and is filed under Autism Treatment, General Autism Info. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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