Friday, April 20, 2012

Sveta's Triennial

Today was Sveta's triennial IEP meeting-- the big one!  She has reevaluated a few weeks ago to see if she still qualifies for services and where she is today.  She used to qualify under Speech and Other Health Impaired but now she qualifies under Speech and Intellectual Disability.   With her verbal IQ at 50 and her non-verbal IQ just a bit higher, we (the IEP team) all agreed that changing our focus to life skills would be best for her. 

One of her ongoing struggles is with money.  She will take a five dollar bill and a one dollar bill to the dollar store.  Her total will be five and change and she will pause and hesitate finishing the transaction because she thinks she only has two dollars because she only has two bills.  Or she might have a ten, a five, and four ones.  Her total is three dollars and change and Sveta will give the cashier all her money.  Thankfully one of us is always with her, but as you can see this will be an issue when she is older.

Same with multiplication.  I thought she was getting double digit multiplication but as the problems went from 23 X 2 to more challenging ones like 37 X 8 or 325 X 3 she was lost.  Not to mention that her frustration level went up as did mine as she became obstinate and sassy.   What we discussed today was how we need to change our focus to helping her to understand how to use a calculator.  She struggles to remember that the back slash is another sign for division and the star is another sign for multiplication.  When she tries to type in a division problem she tends to type in 9 divided by 81 instead of 81 divided by 9. 

As we discussed Sveta's education, it was very apparent that we all truly want what is best for Sveta.   She started out taking the CST (California Star Test), then went to taking the CMA (California Modified Assessment), and will now be taking the CAPA (California Alternate Performance Assessment) after scoring far below basic.  These are state tests that she has always struggled with.  Hopefully she feel more comfortable with the CAPA and more confident as she completes it.  Since she tested so low it was natural for us to discuss her ability to pass the high school exit exam and the required high school courses such as algebra, history, and science at grade level.  Sveta on average is at a second grade level overall so it is realistic to say that she won't catch up to grade level by the time she enters high school.  Since we originally put her two grades behind to give her a chance to catch up and she hasn't and her 15th birthday is right around the corner we have decided to move her up one grade so that she won't be a 20 year old still in high school.

By the end of the meeting, I was very pleased with her goals.  She will continue to learn new math concepts as well as focusing on money, budgeting, and measurements for cooking.  She will also go from working on writing one paragraph to writing two.  She will work on all this two hours a week with her resource specialist.  Sveta will continue to get 1 full hour of speech therapy too.  As Sveta's Mom I am relieved and excited to finally have a plan in place that seems to fit Sveta.  As I explained things to her after the meeting, she was very excited for next year too!


  1. So glad to hear that you've got a good team to help Sveta reach her full potential!

  2. Dear Christine,
    Thank you so much for the recent posts about Sveta. We first accepted a referral in Azerbaijan that turned out to have FAS despite a "healthy" presentation. We figured it out before accepting the referral, but the country closed to adoptions before we could get her. About that time I looked for blogs like yours so I could get a sense of what life with an FAS child could be like. Then, having decided we were OK with the condition, we intentionally chose 2 FAS cuties from Lithuania, then ages 6 and 6.5, now home a year. Our older girl seems to function a lot like Sveta, so I am always hungry for news of her progress as I try to figure out the best path for our girl. I agree that it is not unfairly "limiting" Sveta to realize at an early age some things she probably won't be able to do and to start guiding her appropriately for what she probably will need. God bless! Sherry

  3. So glad that you have a path lined up.

    I know you, as the rest of us, have gotten comments about this being limiting to her. Remember that there are many of us out here that know what you are speaking of and know that to do otherwise with her education would be limiting to her.

    Keep up the the good work. Look forward to hearing the day she gets the dollars figured out. We are still working on the addition and subtraction signs :)

  4. Hi! I am glad your family has a good educational plan in place for your daughter.Pat

  5. Just a practical thought on the money issue. I find US money very confusing because it's all the same size and colur (UK notes are all different and get bigger and brighter as the denominations increase). But I wonder if having a colour differential might help her - perhaps you could put coloured bands around the different size notes or a paperclip with the value of each note written in a very clear way? Wouldn't help if she has difficulty adding 5 and 1 and 1 to make 7, but if she can do that, but can't perceive the difference between the notes as there is too much visual clutter in each one, it might help a bit?
    Please ignore if an unhelpful suggestion, it was just a thought.

  6. The school district is also required to provide "transitional programming". These skills might include independent living skills, functional academics (like making change!) and vocational training skills- and she could stay under the district's umbrella receiving these services until she's 21. In our area, young people with Sveta's needs receive instruction on interviewing, job related social skills, and career interests, etc- and then participate in various job internships with a job coach. This instruction might be offered within district, through state occupational services, or through another organization serving those with disabilities.

  7. Just a quick little assistive technology (low tech) idea for the calculator - tape teeny little reminder labels above the correct buttons (or if there is no room, at the top) that show the sign she is accustomed to. So maybe a sticky that says: * = X, then the same for division. That way she doesn't have to struggle to remember, thereby focusing less attention on the actual math work. The beauty of sticky notes/tape/paper is that they can be removed once she no longer needs the prompting!

    Oh and Tia's idea bout the colored bands around the money is a great one! You could even put a dab of colored highlighter on the bill itself, as bills have writing on them all the time.

    I love reading about Sveta's education (and all your other children of course)...and everything else as well.


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.