Parent teacher meeting

Today I spent the day at Ryan's school which is quite a treat as I don't get to do it very often. Before school started I met with Ryan's teacher. He is very pleased with how Ryan is doing in the classroom. He's adjusting well to the "center" set up and is enjoying working with his buddy Peter (the kids are paired up and move through the centers together with the same child, this gives the teachers a chance to teach sharing and turn taking etc along with academic skills and is also useful for modelling and motivation). The only struggle Ryan is having is with transitions especially from the Direct Instruction center. This is the only center he is alone in, and spends 30 mins one on one with the teacher or the school developmental instructor. Mr Mickey did mention however that as a teacher it is very endearing to have a child that is so interested in learning that he doesn't want to stop.

When the kids arrived (there are 8 in Ryan's class) the first part of the morning was spent in Yoga. Ive often wondered what the kids do in the weekly yoga sessions but it was wonderful to watch. The lights are down, calming music is playing and the gym instructor takes the kids through a series of stretching and simple poses. All the kids seemed to love it and there was an amazing calm energy in the room.

I then observed Ryan in some of his daily centers. In Direct Instruction they were working on color matching using this great board from Lakeshore Learning. Ryan sped through the color matching and placed all the elephants on the board. She mentioned she has started sight words with Ryan which was great to hear as i would love for him to be able to read. Its so difficult not to imagine what this child would be like if he didn't have the neurological challenges he has, as he has such an inbred love of learning,  to be honest thinking this way breaks my heart on so many levels. On a more humorous note the school developmental instructor is also Irish  and she mentioned that she loves to see what Ryan is having for lunch as it gives her some great ideas for dinner, eg shepherds pie.

I then met with Ryan's speech therapist. Ryan's speech or should I say lack of speech is the saddest part of his delays to me. Expressive speech still hasn't progressed beyond a 6 month level. He still has never really babbled, and his sounds are still mostly vowels, and he doesn't mimic... at all. In school they have been using a very simple device called a Gotalk 4 to make some simple choices. Now i know that although Ryan doesn't speak he does understand much much more and I suggested to the ST that she could probably move up to a Go Talk 9. I know hes able to make choices from a board of 8 at home, and can point out all his classmates from the field of 8 small pictures so i didn't think he would have any issue with the GoTalk 9 device. We will see how he gets on and then I will ask for a AAC evaluation from the school district to get him a higher level device of his own.

Next i met with Ryan's OT. She is finding that using visual sequencing pics for Ryan is really working to eliminate the meltdowns when moving from one activity to another. This is something I will also try to work on with him at home.

All in all I had a great day. It was nice to get out of the corporate rat race, and spend the day with truly passionate individuals that work so hard to bring out the best in our children.


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