Since I am staying home with Beans now I decided that I needed to make my own IEP. I felt that I needed a guide of sorts to direct me on how to best help him. I also wanted to be able to share my goals with the other people that work with him, so that we can be on the same page.
Below is the what I came up with. It's not as thorough as an IEP usually is, but it is a rough plan of action with some goals sprinkled in there. It was harder to map out than I initially thought it would be. I run across so few Beans in the world that I am often left feeling like a foreigner in knowing how to navigate. Writing this up seemed to feel like my final jump into homeschooling.
I am certain that it might not fit some people's philosophy about how to 'treat' autism. It wasn't more than 24 hours after giving the plan to Beans private speech therapist that she called me, and told me she would no longer be seeing Beans anymore. She said that our philosophy is too far apart, and that her approach is too different than what I was looking for. I really didn't think there was anything in the plan that was extreme. Obviously, to her there was. She didn't even want to discuss any of it. She just wanted to discharge him, and recommended that I give my plan to future SLPs from the beginning so that they can know that is what I am wanting. It took a lot of courage to write what I did, and put my ideas on paper only to have them thrown back at me like that was hurtful. It was completely out of the blue, and it left me blindsided.
Anyway...here is my controversial homeschooling IEP of sorts:
Things that Beans can do now with full independence:
1: Get undressed.
2. Open doors.
3. Put a form puzzle together with distinct shapes from a field of no more than 8.
4. Come when called.
5. Finger feed himself.
6. Open zippers.
7. Sign ‘more’ when he wants something.
8. Climb stairs, and objects like tables, and step stools.
9. Put in tasks.
Things Beans can do with some assistance:
1, Drink from a straw.
2. Put socks and shoes on.
3. Choose from a field of two objects.
4. Pull pants up.
5. Wash hands.
Ways that we can build on skills are:
1. Work with utensils at meal times.
2. Do more challenging puzzles.
3. Continue working on drinking from straws without tipping cup.
4. Continue to verbally prompt Beans to pull pants up, and guide his hands to where he needs to correct his clothing.
5. Continue to have Beans undress himself, and put pull ups in trash, and clothes in the hamper.
6. Have Beans get his own brush, and toothbrush.
7. Have Beans take his own dishes to the sink.
8. Have Beans pick up some of his toys/cardboard.
9. Model, and reinforce Beans to sign “No” when presented with a choice he does not want, and indicates so by pushing it away. Remember to sign to him.
10. Do blocks, and other building activities that encourage him to take turns, and give opportunities for him to sign.
11. Find apps to build swiping, and tracing skills on the ipad.
12. Do fun activities like music, and tickles that encourage Beans to sign.
13. Lots of going out into the community, and practicing good behaviors, like sitting, waiting in line, picking snacks, picking drinks, ect…
It’s important to remember that Beans is his own self. Direction is okay, but hand over hand, and physically moving him is not, unless he is in danger. If he gets upset at any time during activities come back to it later. It’s not productive to ignore his discomfort, and push him through it. We must honor his right to control his own personal space, and have a say about his own body at all times. He does the best with who he is, and what he has at any given time. Letting him have a say in his routine, and sensory diet is not spoiling him. It is empowering him with the ability to have a say in his own well being, and teaching him that his voice matters.
Beans seems to communicate largely by gestures, and clues in his environment. Remember to use lots of physical gestures, and prompts combined with very short verbal prompts when interacting. Long pauses after questions, and instructions work best. He loves tickles, hugs, and back scratches. He tends to respond to speech that is at a toddler’s level the best for now. Lots of exaggerated “yay”, Good job!” and “You did it!” works great with him.