Monday, December 9, 2013

My Education Plan for Beans

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. 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.


  1. I'm so tempted to write sarcastic things but it never pays off in written form.. There is northing in your IEP that justifies her response. But maybe she thought you wrote it specifically for her and felt attacked? In any case it seems like a very good guide for how you want to work with beans! X

    1. Thank you! I wondered if she thought I was writing her a list of ways to do her job, too. Definitely, not the case, but she certainly took offense.

  2. That reads like a great beginning to your home Ed journey. Maybe the speech therapist feels uncomfortable outside the school system? It does seem very odd behaviour on her part.

    1. She's a private speech path. so I don't know. I am guessing she is not used to any parental involvement like that. School SLPs have to attend IEPs, and be part of a team. She really doesn't. Bean's school SLP that he sees was fine with the plan. Go figure!

  3. This is a terrific plan! I would bet money the SLP is either uncomfortable that you are happy with signing as valid communication and/or she feels the plan undermines her authority. Either way, I think her quitting is a win for Beans. You are going to be great homeschooling. For me, the hardest part is trusting I'm making progress in the absence of external validation, but it's worth it.

    1. I think it was the authority part. She was very ABA-ish and that is not my bag. You're so right about the trusting oneself thing! It feels to me that if I am not actively working on all these skills with Beans all the time than I am failing him. It's time for me to take a step back, and really evaluate my goals, the purpose of therapies, and what Beans needs most right now where he is. This plan was my first attempt at that.

      Thanks for your comments! :)

  4. You are better off without that SLP. I understand how it hurts, but long term it's better that she left now.

    1. I agree! Beans has been SO much happier since we stopped going there!


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