expert advice MORE
Moving Ahead with an IEP
Q: My four-year-old daughter was diagnosed with PDD/ASD rating 18-24 months on most areas. She is mainstreamed in public preschool and finally has an I.E.P. in place with O.T. and speech pathology services. She is starting to make progress, but very slowly. The school is considering moving her to Kindergarten even with her evals coming back at the 18-24 month level. I was considering keeping her in preschool another year since a program is now in place. I'm not sure what decision is best -- can you help?
A: Ask for a conference to talk with the school personnel who are recommending kindergarten for your daughter to find out their reasoning. You can ask your daughter's preschool teacher to attend to talk about the progress your daughter is making so that the teacher can have input in the decision.
The school personnel are most likely recommending kindergarten because your daughter's delays are fairly large. They probably feel that it is unlikely that one more year of preschool will allow her to catch up to her age-level peers. Most educators would probably recommend that a child in your daughter's situation move along with children their same age, but with appropriate assistance. If you try to think several years ahead, will you feel comfortable if your daughter is always grouped with children one or two (or more) years younger than she?
In most states, the school principal is given the authority to place a child in the most appropriate grade level or setting. You are considered part of the IEP Team for your daughter, however, so you have the right to have input into what will be most appropriate for her.
More on: Expert Advice
Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.