Today Supervisor Andil and Supervisor M joined Seymour and me to discuss Leelo's status. I am going to write quick notes only because Mali will probably wake up soon and realize I am not in bed yet and start the howling that only a boob stuffed in her mouth can quiet.
All in all we are all pleased. Yay. Seymour and I said that we are only interested in the best place for Leelo, in the education that will help him gain skills in an enriching setting. We don't give a shit about putting him in a regular classroom if that's not what he needs.
We also mentioned that we are both feeling optimistic and hopeful about Leelo's future and potential. (Seymour told me this spontaneously over the weekend; I was pleased because I'd been feeling the same way.) Leelo may never be a typical boy, but we don't care as long as he's happy. This is a big change from last year when we were both fairly morose about Leelo's outlook.
Andil and M say:
Leelo is seeing people as a reinforcers, he enjoys them, his social skills are good and will get better. This can't be taught, really. Excellent news.
His actions such as asking and going looking for a towel when he spills something, and then wiping up the mess himself, shows that he is developing problem-solving skills. Also good, hard to teach.
An all-autism class is not a great place in which to develop Leelo's budding social skills; if we were to consider such a class for Leelo next year then we would have to be judicious in setting up facilitated playgroups outside of class.
Iron Gate has minimal structure which is hard for Leelo. Supervisor M thinks it is a wondeful environment for Leelo, though. I mentioned that it really sucked for me to work in the classroom and go to the classes as I am constantly barraged with Typical Four-Year-Oldness, but that if she thinks it is helping Leelo then I will do whatever it takes. At any rate Kindergarten will be much more structured and he might find it easier.
However Leelo's activity level and vocal stimming may interfere with classroom inclusion, even in a special day class. We should investigate (not choose, investigate) medication options. We should ask the Stafnord clinic folks, the MD at the UCCSF clinic.
Inclusion means that his base is in a typical classroom (with or without aide) and that he will be pulled out for therapeutic activities such as OT, etc.
Mainstreaming means that his base is in a special day class and that he will be pulled into the typical classroom for certain periods of the day.
M showed us a list of skills children need to have for classroom inclusion. The list was long, and Leelo has mastered few items on it (being able to wait in line, raise hand to ask questions, sustain short conversations, etc.). Kindergarten is a year away, though, and we all agreed that a lot can happen in a year.
And so much more. Basically we are pleased with Leelo's program, they are pleased with the progress he's made over the last year especially given that the major disruptions of a new baby sister and his senior therapist (F) leaving.
I hope Supervisor M will have written up a superior, detailed summary.
Here is my to-do list as assigned over the meeting's course:
- Ask JM about Dr. Go1dberg. Andil thinks JM might know about him, also he was cited specifically by Christina Adams (A Rea1 Boy) as being a pivotal part of her son's recovery.
- Visit Wings school in San Mate0, find out about their inclusion components.
- Visit Day Classes in Deadwood public schools. Find out if they do inclusion or mainstreaming.
- Talk to parents who've had kids in classes around the school district, who is good, who is not.
- Set up Leelo's first IEP/intake with Deadwood school district. How? Perhaps Sage will know?
- Call Stafnord and set up Leelo's follow-up evaluation (initial evaluation was March 2003, they asked us to bring him back in two years). Part of eval will be to ask about meds.
- Call G1enn E11iott, MD at UCCSF and expert in fine-tuning meds for autistic kids. Get on potentially six-month-long wait list, anyhow. If Stafnord answers meds questions can always cancel E11iott appointment.