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Is it usual for IEP to set low targets? Am a bit [confused]

(28 Posts)
zen1 Fri 14-Oct-11 21:01:02

DS3 is 3 next month and has been attending a SN pre-school since February (2 days per wk) and main stream pre-school since September (1 day). Today I was shown his IEP by the SN pre-school and was a bit surprised as he can already do most things they have set for targets. In fact, some things he has been able to do for almost a year. BUT, because he hasn't demonstrated this to the pre-school, they say they can't tick that he has achieved it, and therefore keep working on it. For example, "point to 3 body parts on self and others". He can verbally name 10 body parts and will do so when he wants to, but admittedly he won't do anything he doesn't want to do and it is hard to get him to comply with these kind of assessments. I may be missing something, but I can't see the value on continually working on something he can already do. What do others think?

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 14-Oct-11 21:28:29

Oh yes. This happens all the time. It is unacceptable but you will be given some daft line about him not being able to 'generalise' the skill in the nursery setting.

Your answer to that is that if his difficulty is generalisation, then perhaps that should be his target instead.

You can also suggest that if your ds is able to demonstrate these skills in the natural environment, what is it about their artificial setting that stiffles your d's ability to demonstrate his skills!? And perhaps you need to sit down and discuss how to increase his motivation levels.

Video your ds doing these things. Have a meeting and show it.

zen1 Fri 14-Oct-11 21:42:31

You are exactly right Starlight - I was given the "inability to generise" line! I guess I was surpised because I was expecting more from a SN 'outstanding' rated establishment. Another thing they have put down is 'build a tower of 3 blocks'. When I challenged this one, I was told "yes, we know he can build a tower, but he won't stop at 3". I know DS won't see the point in these activities.

I guess it's time to charge the video camera. I know I shouldn't but I do feel a bit intimidated by pre-school principal as she speaks as if she absolutely knows what's right.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 14-Oct-11 21:47:13

So the target isn't about building a tower, it is about following an instruction and this should be clear on the IEP.

i.e. for ds to stop building a tower when he gets to 3 rather than go on, as per instruction.

I'm sorry, but it all sounds very suspicious to me. I reckon his next IEP target next time will be 6 blocks then they can show improvement.

Seriously, video him doing these targets at home. Make sure there is a date on the video. You might need that as evidence later. Also WRITE to them to 'clarify' that they have acknowledged that he can name body parts in the natural environment but haven't figured out how to motivate him to do it in a school setting, and that they have acknowledged he can build towers of much more than 3 but won't stop at 3 etc etc.

If you start putting this stuff in writing they will start to pay attention and work with you. Reluctantly, sure, but so what? They will have forgotten your ds' name in a few years but you (and he) will be living with the fall out of their laziness and mistakes.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 14-Oct-11 21:49:53

And I do know how hard it is to challenge these people, really I do. But so what about your feelings and fear? You are a grown up. Your ds is a very small child. You are his only chance.

zen1 Fri 14-Oct-11 21:58:47

Thanks, I will do the videoing and will start documenting things. Ds is not good at following instructions, though he does understand what's being said to him, but my concerns are that they think he doesn't understand. He is still going down the diagnosis route but it is looking like he will be diagnosed (eventually!) with ASD.

silverfrog Fri 14-Oct-11 21:59:01

zen, whereabouts in the country are you?

the SN pre-school, and it's head, are sounding horribly familiar to me... we had an awful time at an 'outstanding' SN pre-school, and it did absolutely nothing for dd1 at all.

but I do know how hard it can be to challenge officious heads (although by the end of our time there I htink she was glad to see the back of us grin)

zen1 Fri 14-Oct-11 22:01:28

Yup, I know you're right about challenging these people. I can by quite bolshy, but I find it hard to challenge people without sounding rude (I'm not diplomatic), and I don't want them to think I'm rude, if that makes sense??

zen1 Fri 14-Oct-11 22:07:58

Silverfrog, I have pm'd you regarding my location!

WilsonFrickett Sat 15-Oct-11 10:02:16

Zen, I totally get what you mean about not seeming rude. It helps me to think of DS as a 'project' and then I can go into 'project managment mode' whereby I am extremely professional but also sort of distanced, if that makes any sense?

And, when we had some fairly difficult EP meetings I took DH with me, with his remit to be 'bad cop', (which he is bleddy scarily good at!) so he could push and be very, very firm whereas I could be more concillatory (sp?).

A thing about IEP targets - they're not supposed to be something general that all DCs would be doing normally. So naming 3 body parts or building blocks, these would be something you would expect every child in the nursery to learn and to be able to do. As Star says, it's about isolating the bit of that that your DS can't do. So is it following the instruction? Is it being able to do it in front of people? etc etc

moondog Sat 15-Oct-11 10:04:44

Absolutely pathetic. sad

hocuspontas Sat 15-Oct-11 10:12:54

I thought IEPs were drafted for parents to approve (and/or amend) and sign before being put into practice. Have you had no input on this?

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 15-Oct-11 10:14:52

hocus Unfortunately parents seem to rarely be allowed to input. Usually they get presented with one and they either sign it or they don't, but neither has any effect on the contents. At least that is my experience.

Having said that, I wrote a killer letter after the first one that meant they did consult properly with me for all others.

I'll see if I can find it.

hocuspontas Sat 15-Oct-11 10:19:58

That's a shame. My experience of working with children in school with IEPs has always been that the school will draft it after meeting with parents and it becomes a joint document. My sympathies.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 15-Oct-11 10:21:30

I am writing to you concerning the IEP for Master Starlight, which was given to me on x date. There are a number of points I wish to make.

This IEP was written without the involvement of DS’ parents. A requirement in his Statement of SEN is that parents are involved in all aspects of DS’ educational provision. As this requirement wasn’t met, on what grounds is this claimed to be a valid IEP?

Secondly, the targets given are not SMART and appear to measure skills that DS has already acquired. I apologise if this appears to be an unkind criticism, particularly if several professionals were involved, (whose commitment we do not challenge), but I would be very interested to see what DS’ IEP targets would have been without his weekly 18.5 hours of additional support. My question then, is how is this extra time and support adding value to his learning?

Thirdly, in arriving at this IEP outcome, what consideration has been given to DS’ prior learning? Unlike most pre-school children who have had little, if any, prior formal education before Nursery, DS has had significant learning experiences which have been tested by nationally recognised standard tests.

Whilst we accept that as at any Transition period for all children, some knowledge, skills and understanding will need to be checked, given that there is evidence available for DS' acquisition of these, we are disappointed that no-one appears to be using this evidence as a base-line.

Assessments of DS thus far, show him to have been progressing at a pace faster than his peers in ALL skill areas, including social development (despite limited access to his peers), prior to his starting Nursery. This progress was made with around the similar no. of hours of professional time a week (18.5 hours) that he is receiving now.

It is very alarming to see that the IEP targets, plus the time frames suggested demonstrate expectations that DS is going to fall further behind his peers, rather than continue to catch them up. It is also concerning to hear from professionals that I should expect the gap to widen because he has autism. His disability should not be used as an excuse for poor planning or inadequate targets and approach.

When I have told professionals what DS can already do, I have been told, “Yes, but we haven’t seen evidence of this.”, or “Yes, but we need DS to “generalise this”. We respectfully request that professionals look at the evidence, and use this as a basis for forward planning for DS. Given that we have submitted to the school evidence of our very thorough generalisation programme for all acquired skills, if DS is not demonstrating those skills in his nursery setting, the reason for this anomaly needs to be urgently investigated.

Finally, Miss X has informed me that the IEP targets are set and controlled by County and as such cannot now be changed either in terms of the targets set or how they are written. I am certain she is mistaken, but if not, please can you give me the name of the person at County that is responsible for this.



moondog Sat 15-Oct-11 10:24:00

Great but needs to be shorter with less conciliatory language and no apologies.
You don't need to apologise for ensuring peopel do the jobs for which they are being paid.
Neither do you need to be rude about it either of course.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 15-Oct-11 10:30:07

Moodog, it's an age old letter. It ensured that we were invited to the next IEP meeting. Even better at that next meeting I presented them with the IEP I wanted and they agreed it, and continued to do so at subsequent meetings.

The main problem of course, was them 'proving' that my IEPs were crap by ds not meeting all the targets each time. i.e. they must have been unrealistic.

Not so. The issue is simply that they had no idea how to get ds to meet them, not that he wasn;t capable. Many of the targets we have had to reintroduce this month (now he is no longer in their setting), and most of them got ticked off within a couple of weeks.

moondog Sat 15-Oct-11 10:55:31

Yes, I know it is an old one for you, but was giving a pointer for Zen.
Personally speaking, I have long accepted most peopel are clueless. Now I only get rield when clueless folk will not accept the contributions and suggestions of others, like myself, as a parent.

Trouble is, most parents aren't armed with the knowledge that I have os are essentially stuffed.

That seesm to be the crux of yuor current trouble-bling refusal to entertain the notion that they can't be anything else but 100% accurate and correct.

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 15-Oct-11 11:07:48

I'm not sure it is that completely Moondog. I think as a parent you can know absolutely, but the 'system' allows for an attitude of 'no, because I said so', and it is very hard to argue against that.

Them: 'We are dyametrically opposed to ABA'
me: 'why?'
Them: 'That is not a question I am prepared to make time to answer!'
Me: 'Why?'
Them: 'I am ending this discussion. We are not accountable to parents, but to the LA'

LA: 'The HT will not tolerate ABA in the school'
Me: 'Why?'
LA: 'Because the school can meet needs without it'
Me: 'That doesn't explain why?'
LA: 'That is the best answer you will get and if you ask again we will label you as vexatious'.

etc etc etc.

moondog Sat 15-Oct-11 11:10:23

Yes, that as well.
It is scandalous that public secotr services are not ultimately accountable to the people they serve (the peopel who fund them too of course)
Bloody hell, talk about David and Goliath eh? sad

Mind you, who won in the end?

willowthecat Sat 15-Oct-11 11:26:30

It sounds very familiar and very fluffy. ds was very similar at that age. He could build big towers but not follow directions to build a tower of 3 blocks. He could point to all body parts but not consistently name any of them. It is not rude to ask

What are actually trying to teach my ds ? Is it

(1) to comply with an instruction ?
(2) to be able to count to 3 ?
(3) to be able to communicate to an unfamiliar adult that he has complied with an understood instruction?

However due to the cluelessness factor, they may well just switch off and start up the random nonsense generator such as 'Well you see it's all about generalisation.' Generalisation is a real issue of course but as others have said, if that is the real concern then the work done at school has to be based on using skills learned at home in a new environment. The word generalisation has too much baggage loaded into now and can become a barrier to discussing what is actually happening. 'They' don't generalise is of course nothing more than a massive generalisation to the point of absurdity.

moondog Sat 15-Oct-11 11:27:47

<guffaw> at random nonsense generator.
Or, go with the target and ask them what data colelction procedure they will use.
(Even ticking off something happening on a piece of paper is beyond most of these people.)

StarlightMcKenzie Sat 15-Oct-11 11:29:47

The generalisation issue is a big one for us.

How is it my ds can 'generalise' across EVERY setting except school?

Surely there is something quite seriously wrong with that setting's ability to motivate my ds.

Say that though and you get a response like this: 'We'll your ds has to learn to demonstrate skills without being motivated' with a roll of the eyes.


StarlightMcKenzie Sat 15-Oct-11 11:30:50

Yes Moondog. I was told that the nursery TA cannot possible take data as that will take time away from the child.

willowthecat Sat 15-Oct-11 11:31:27

An NHS SALT told me that the problem is that ds only talks about what he wants to talk about. I waited for her to explain the difference between that and the rest of the human race. I'm still waiting.

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