Cassatt’s Tentacles

First of all, it’s been a while since I’ve written in here.  I’m going to try to be better, really.

We’ve had some medical wolf-crying with Cassatt the past few weeks.  At least I think so.  A few weeks ago he went to the nurse at school because he was acting funny in the Rainbow Room.  It turns out he’s afraid of that room (which is a problem because that’s where they have indoor recess in the winter).  But we didn’t know that at the time, so he went to the nurse.  While in there, he put his head down for a few seconds, was playing with his lip and wouldn’t respond for a few seconds (less than 10).  They wanted me to take him to the doctor, who wanted me to see a neurologist and get an EEG.

Cassatt with his tentacles

The neurologist said it might have been a partial seizure.  I’m still not convinced.  Of course, I didn’t see it so I couldn’t describe it to her, but I think he was probably just scared and didn’t want to respond to people he didn’t know.

We had the EEG yesterday.   They attached electrodes to his head and measured his brain activity.  He really didn’t like the setup process, and was squirming and unhappy.  They wanted him to sleep, and they wanted to see him have a seizure.  Even though he was sleep deprived (we kept him up as late as possible the night before and woke him early that morning), he didn’t sleep during the EEG (although he fell asleep in the car on the short drive home).  And he didn’t have a seizure either.  I think it was much ado about nothing.

The other medical non-emergency is that he went to the nurse (again) on Monday.  He had a sore on his lip because he had fallen over the weekend; I didn’t even think about telling his teacher about it.  So they sent home a note to the class about hand-foot-mouth disease.  This poor kid has been to the nurse so many times that I’m starting to wonder whether  this is the right school for him.  We’ll see if he can have a week without going to the nurse again.


What do I Need to Know to get an IEP? Part 3: Elements of an IEP

So, your child is going to get an IEP.  You are preparing for an IEP meeting: you need to know what will be discussed!  In Missouri, these are the components of an IEP:  (They are similar in most states, because the IEP is written according to state interpretation of federal guidelines.)

  • Present level of academic achievement and functional performance
    • The “present levels” tells everyone reading the IEP what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are, and what areas need improvement.  It is a picture of your child right now.  Teachers reading the IEP should get a good picture of your child from this.  The child will be compared at next year’s IEP to this picture of him at this IEP, and goals should be based on this picture.
    • There is a place for parental input in here.  Think about your child’s strengths and weaknesses and be ready to present them at the IEP meeting.  It may help to put them in writing: you won’t forget anything when you read it at the meeting, and the teacher preparing the written IEP can put what you write verbatim into the IEP.
  • Federal and State Requirements
    • This is basically a checklist of why a child needs an IEP and what will be in the IEP.
  • IEP Goals
    • This is what the teachers will be working on in your child’s IEP.
    • They should be specific, measurable, reasonable, achievable, and timely (SMART) goals.
  • Services
    • This is where the IEP states how much time your child will spend in special education, and who will be teaching (for example, general special education teacher or speech therapist, reading specialist, etc.)
    • Listen closely during this part of the meeting and take detailed notes, even if you don’t have anything to input.
  • Transportation as a Related Service
    • In this section, the IEP team discusses whether your child needs special transportation (for example, special bus service) to be able to attend school.
  • Regular Education Participation
    • This section discusses how much the child will participate in the regular education program.
    • The child should be in the “least restrictive environment” — should be with his non-IEP peers as much as possible.
    • Even if a child is in a special education setting most of the time, they can still be in regular education for times such as recess, lunch, gym, music class.
  • Placement Considerations and Decision
    • This section is a summary of what was discussed before, to state how much a child will be in the regular education classroom.  It includes a continuum of placements.  The IEP team must consider less restrictive environments before deciding to put a child in a special education environment.
  • Transition
    • If a child is 16 or older, this section is required. It may be included for younger children as well. This section discusses post-graduation plans and how the school will help him get there.

An IEP is a complex document, and a meeting has to address all of these elements!  As a parent, you are a member of your child’s IEP team.  I hope this will help you participate in the meeting!


Milk Painting

Have you heard of Milk Painting?  It is a fun thing to do with little kids. Picasso and Cassatt love seeing the colors swirl in their milk paintings, and I love that it is an easy craft that doesn’t use any special materials and doesn’t add to the “junk” in the house.

Picasso enjoys mixing the colors.

Picasso enjoys mixing the colors.

Milk Painting 1

Cassatt enjoys the swirls

It is an easy project to do.  I use a rimmed plate and pour a little milk into it (not too much so it doesn’t overflow).  I then add a few drops of food coloring.  The poke at it with a toothpick dipped in dishwashing soap.  The colors explode!

Milk painting helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.  It teaches them about colors.

It is a fairly clean craft as well, as long as the milk doesn’t get spilled.  I had to keep a close watch on them to make sure Cassatt didn’t get into the food coloring.  It was a good project, though, and we all had fun milk painting!

Summer School

Today is Cassatt’s last day of Summer School, and Picasso finishes up next Wednesday.  Other than the logistics, I have enjoyed my time alone in the mornings.  I have had a good chunk of time!  Somehow I managed to fill it every day.  I got quite lonely the first day, but since then it has been nice to run errands, clean, or even take a nap when I had a headache.

Both boys have really enjoyed summer school.  Cassatt’s language has blossomed.  He was a good talker before, but now he can say 7- and 8- word sentences.  He also says things like “Everybody, it’s time to sit on the floor.”  And we have circle time at home.  He will have a blast at preschool this fall!  My only concern is that 2 days per week won’t be enough for him!

Boys watch rain in raincoats

It rained so hard one day the boys wore their raincoats just to watch!

Picasso is in a remedial summer school.  He doesn’t need the academics (I am afraid he is bored) but he does need the socialization that it is providing him.  He takes the bus, so I haven’t seen his teacher since the first day.  I wish I had more feedback than he gives me.  He enjoys the bus, and we have been lucky it hasn’t rained when I’m taking him to or picking him up from the bus.  (Since I wrote that, it will probably rain when I pick him up today.)

We have backtracked on potty training.  Cassatt was having too many accidents, and is now in pull-ups.  He is using the potty more readily now. I think he was refusing the potty to get some measure of control.  At any rate, I now enjoy not having to wash a wet load every night.

You would think I would be updating more frequently here with all the free time I’ve had recently.  I have been writing, but my focus has been on fiction writing recently.  I am taking a class (and just started another one!) from Ed2Go.  They are offered through my local library.  I have had so much fun exploring this new hobby!

Preschool Graduation

We celebrated Picasso’s graduation from Pre-K this week.

It was a sweet ceremony. They sang some songs, there was a video of all the kids, and there were cookies and lemonade after.  The kids wore caps and gowns (although Picasso’s cap fell off early in the ceremony).

But … will you forgive me if I question the whole concept of “graduation” from preschool? More

What’s on my menu?

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