Assessment, Evaluation, an IEP and Progress (Finally)

I didn’t want to be the parent who refused to believe that their child might need a little help. I didn’t want to wait until it was time for Kindergarten to realize that he wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to fail him as his mother.

I believe that one of my responsibilities as a parent is to do everything in my power to prepare my children for the outside world. I want them to walk into Kindergarten on that first day and be confident in who they are and know that they are capable and belong in that classroom. I want them to participate and talk to their teacher and make new friends.

This past September I couldn’t ignore the possibility that Wyatt’s language and coping skills weren’t where they should be at 3-1/2; there were a few areas of concern and I wanted to make sure he was on the right path. Based on my concerns our pediatrician recommended that we contact the DART program – this is the Allegheny County program that provides early intervention services for children ages 3-5. We made the appointment and Wyatt’s initial assessment took place in early November.

At the time of the initial assessment my main concern was language but other issues were in the back of my mind. While he tested well in all cognitive areas and the basic language skills (uses enough different words, can identify the pictures with the correct word, etc), some of the other areas were of concern and Wyatt was moved to the evaluation step.

Part of the evaluation process was to talk to his teachers and observe him at childcare. Once the observation step was completed, a new area of language was identified as an issue – Pragmatic Language (communicating with friends at school, asking for help, responding appropriately when frustrated).

While Wyatt plays well with his brother and sister at home, he prefers to play by himself at childcare and in larger social situations. This is another area of concern.

The biggest issue of all for Wyatt in the evaluation process was his complete lack of interest in potty training.

In December I started to get lengthy reports of Wyatt’s behavior issues – dumping food and drinks on purpose, major tantrums every day, disrupting group activities, hitting, spitting, etc. I started to dread picking him up each day during this phase.

In the IEP meeting with DART in January, we went through the evaluation results and discussed Wyatt’s goals. The goals are centered around pragmatic language – talking with peers (asking them to play) and adults (asking for help, communicating needs) and potty training. Potty training being the biggest issue because it is keeping him from preschool. The hope is that once he is in preschool (instead of spending his day with 2-yr olds) that some of the other issues will start to improve as a result of the move. He will see more examples of children his age acting appropriately.

A special education teacher was assigned to Wyatt and she has been meeting with him at his childcare program for 1 hour each week since then. She has been wonderful. After several weeks of meeting with Wyatt we talked about the lack of potty progress – basically none – he refused to sit on the potty at all. At home he was at least making progress using the potty before bath/bedtime (but no other time of day at home). We were at an impasse with Wyatt, none of the traditional methods and rewards systems worked with him at all. And I felt like I was to blame in some way for not working hard enough with him.

3 weeks ago I got a call from childcare. One of the teachers had asked Wyatt if he wanted to wear underwear (like they do everyday) and he said Yes for the first time. He proceeded to use the potty all day and has been in underwear ever since (diapers at night for now). It’s like he woke up that day and decided that he wanted to grow-up. His whole mood has changed and the meltdowns have decreased and his talking has increased dramatically. Was the potty training process causing stress for him and preventing him from making improvements in other areas? I don’t know, but he has changed so much in the past few weeks and we are very proud of him!


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4 comments to Assessment, Evaluation, an IEP and Progress (Finally)

  • That is so great he’s made progress already! I hope it continues in all areas!
    Sending big hugs. He’s lucky to have you for a mom.

  • So great to see that he’s making progress! DART is a great program, and we have our IEP meeting in 2.5 weeks. I’m sending you hugs–I know that pickup dread all too well.

  • tehamy

    This brings tears of happiness to my eyes! You are such a wonderful mom! It’s hard to recognize and admit when your child needs help. I saw my mom struggle with that issue with my sister. You have handled this wonderfully. I’m so glad that Wyatt is making such great progress in such a short time. =)

  • twinmamateb

    Yay Wyatt!!