Kids who are in early education programs such as Sam's all get IPPs (Individual Program Plans). These documents outline the child's individual strengths, areas of development, and goals for the academic year.
I'm pleased to say that, after a month of discussion, changes, accommodations and revisions, I am very pleased with the IPP that the teacher and school have outlined for him.
Our goals this year are as follows:
- By the end of the year, Sam will independently feed himself 3/4 bites with a utensil during lunch time. (This is a big one for us too. Sam CAN self feed. But he doesn't. He is very food resistent, and when he does self-feed, he insists on using his hands. It has been the cause of much stress...and laundry).
- By the end of the year, Sam will independently accomplish arrival/departure (pull off jacket and shoes on/off) routine with 70% success, with staff prompting.
- By the end of the year, Samuel will improve his ability to interact positively and cooperatively with his peers with staff prompting 75% of the time.
- By the end of the year, Samuel will show increased interest and attention by responding to a communication partner 5 times throughout the school day in a variety of natural contexts. (This includes using the PODD, sign language, words, eye contact, etc.)
Overall, I'm happy with the goals and looking forward to applying them at home as well.
I just wish that they would add one more goal, for him and for all children:
- Samuel will show a genuine relish and love for life, and continue to be the joyful, well adjusted, talented and intelligent boy that he has always been almost all of the time.
Sometimes, it seems to me that we've forgotten that the real goal of all of this should not be the ability to comply and meet standards, but instead to ensure that each child feels loved, secure, and cherished so that they can learn to thrive in life above all of our wild expectations.
The school can have their IPP, but I'm always going to keep that one goal at the very front of my mind.
Everything else is semantics.