We recently had his first IEP meeting done by his new school. I actually have a friend who is a kindergarten teacher and she looked over his IEP with me. She was impressed by the level of detail in his goals and the number of goals he has. It is also true that Tommy works with many specialists because his blindness and hypertone affects him in many way, which results in specific interventions. He even has goals for gym class that will improve his physical skills to allow him participate more fully with his peers!
He works with a really excellent TVI that he sees for at least an hour every day. He has three orientation and mobility goals and three braille goals that they work on. His TVI has worked with all of his teachers to show them ways to adapt and work with Tom.
They had been using a metal Perkins brailler but it was very hard on Tom’s fingers. His hands are small and you need a lot of finger strength to push the buttons on the metal version of the brailler. We have a Perkins SMART Brailler, so at his educational planning meeting prior to his IEP I offered to send it in to school. The technology person at the AIU (our intermediate unit) was not a big fan of the SMART Brailler so my TVI did not have access to one. Well I know Tom, and I know how much he likes audio feedback so I suggested they try it with him. The SMART Brailler is much easier to press than the metal brailler so that has helped. They do their work with the sound off and then turn the sound back on as a reward for Tom. It’s a great solution! Tom can tend to get too silly sometimes and you have to find a way to bring him back to task.
We also sent in our Perkins Panda Literacy Kit! I was lucky enough to get one from Sensory Sun and now Tommy’s whole class is enjoying it. It has braille books, physical objects that go with the story, and an actual Perkins Panda! I hear it is a big hit in class and that all the children enjoy it.
Another big change is on the way. Tommy is going to be a big brother in April! He has moved to a bigger room in the house and is really enjoying his new setup. We have it arranged so he has easy access to lots of toys and instruments. With the new speaker and new room setup he sometimes spends hours playing in his room.
At first, Tommy would answer to any questions about the baby as “it’s Mommy’s baby.” – as in, not my problem. Now he refers to her as his little sister and he’s getting excited. He’s had a hard time getting used to not being able to sit on my lap and crawl all over me. He’s a very cuddly kind of kid! But now he’ll feel my belly and say hello to his little sister. It’s very cute. I think he’s going to be a great big brother!