Posted by: 15specialneeds | October 3, 2010

IEP- Individual Education Program

Hi Dear Ones,

Well, I cannot believe that Luke has been at school for 4 weeks now! Let me take you back a bit! The system here in California works like this. When you have a child deemed to have special needs, if they qualify at the time of their third birthday, they then get services offered by  local school district.  The care that they received before this, will have been funded by the State government under an early intervention program. This is what happened to Luke and he was getting all his therapies through the San Mateo Regional Center. Before tuning three, the regional center does an evaluation to see if your child will be eligible for services under the school district and  Luke got the ‘mental retardation’ sticker, which meant he qualified for special education in a preschool setting suitable for his needs on his third birthday. Summer babies are difficult to sort out due to the summer vacation, but he was evaluated by the school psychologist and we then have to attend a meeting called the IEP. Before the meeting, we had visited various class placements and had many discussions and evaluations. The team was wonderful and everyone who was part of the evaluation process all sits in on the meeting. All in all, there were 9 people in his IEP meeting to discuss his placement and the services that the school would be willing to provide Luke. It is a very daunting meeting and the document is a legal document and binding on the school district to provide what they say the are going to provide. It is a very stressful time for parents as children come out of the warm fuzzy world of ‘development’ into the cold daylight of ‘is this of benefit to his educational needs’.’The terminoloy changes to one of leaning ability, rather than ability.

In all honesty, Luke’s IEP held no surprises, we knew where he was going, and it was a matter of, are they going to provide speech therapy and occupational therapy in the classroom for him as an individual, rather than in a group setting? The school district did offer 1 hour of speech therapy and said that they would evaluation for OT and gave us 3 hours a month of home assisted learning. People keep asking me what happens in the UK and Australia, but I honestly don’t know, given I did not have a special needs child in either of those places! Much of the meeting centers on the goals that are put in place for Luke to achieve in the first 12 months of school and then we go back and re-do the IEP for the second year. However, as parents we can request an IEP at any time.

These are the goals that have been put in place for Luke…

  1. Luke will point to a desired object when presented with a choice of two items.
  2. Luke will take place items into a container and stack two large blocks. 
  3. Luke will attend to an activity for 5 minutes in 5 out of 5 trials.
  4. Luke will respond appropriately to “look at my face” in 2 out of 3 trials over 3 consecutive sessions.
  5. Luke will follow the finger point of his teacher showing a named object in 2 out of 3 attempts.
  6. Luke will localize to and look towards the speaker when he hears sounds, his name, and “no” warnings in 2 out of 3 attempts.
  7. Luke will look at familiar pictures when they are named, 5 different pictures in  2 out of 3 opportunities.Luke will increase his attention span to 2 minutes of sitting while being read a developmentally appropriate book and will participate in turning 50% of the board pages.
  8. With assistance and later with just cueing, Luke will use his hands to wave “goodbye” when appropriate and to point to a desired item.

Personally, I think these were pretty good goals ( I wrote most of them with a few tweaks here and there!). Honestly, if he meets half of them I would be thrilled!

He is at school 4 mornings a week Monday to Thursday from 9am till 12 noon and he has yet to do a full morning as I have been wanting him to get into the routine slowly. He has cried a lot for the first three weeks and this last week he has been happier. In fact, when I collected him  last Thursday, his teacher said he hardly cried and sat nicely for circle time. I came away crying for sheer joy of hearing that. His teacher has said that we should perhaps increase his time to the 3 hours, and I think I am ready for that! Let’s see how Monday goes!




  1. I love your goals and schedule for Luke. I want a 9-12 schedule 4 times a week. How did you get that customized? Also, whe Caitlyn turned 3, she did not get ant services from school. She goes to school from 11-1pm. Btw, I think ABA is wonderful for her… she replied “bye bye daddy” to her dad when he said goodbye. I am faithful that our kiddie will achieve their goals in due time.


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