Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Saturday, October 30, 2004

He's In Good Hands: An Update

Yesterday was Steven's IEP meeting, our annual get-together with school administrators and other spooky characters (some in costume) to discuss how they might support any special needs Steven has in school.

The meeting was attended by me, Doug, my sister Janet (who works as a school counselor in a nearby school district), the principal, the vice-principal, the resource specialist, Steven's teacher, the school psychologist, and Steven's speech therapist.

We went over in detail the results of Steven's cognitive tests in Memphis last August, as well as the results of tests performed by the speech therapist, the resource specialist, and the psychologist.

In a nutshell, Steven is doing very well. Steven has always been an exceptionally bright child, in most areas this is still true. He is at grade level or above in most areas, this despite his missing almost all of last school year.

His main area of need is processing speed, this is a classic effect of radiation. Kids who have had whole-brain radiation take longer to process what they hear in conversation, longer to compose answers to questions, both oral and written.

Steven seems to have particular difficulty with writing things down, he can compose the answers in his head, but the process of writing down what he's thinking is sometimes agonizingly slow, this is the main reason it takes him so long to do his homework.

Steven's teacher feels she can address his issues in the classroom without the need for pulling him out to see the resource specialist on a regular basis, this will be less disruptive to his day so we are glad for this.

The speech therapist will continue to work with him on improving his speech and the pitch of his voice. She feels part of his problem with certain speech sounds is affected by the high-frequency hearing loss from chemo.

Nobody wants him spending 3 hours or more a day on homework, so his teacher and I will make modifications to his workload so he isn't spending more than 1 1/2 hours a day on schoolwork.

Regarding Steven's social issues mentioned earlier this month, there has been definite improvement.

After learning of what was going on, Steven's teacher spoke to his class when Steven was out of the room. She told them of his loneliness and since that day, Steven no longer eats lunch alone. The kids in his class sit with him and are making efforts to include him in their activities.

All this is making a world of difference to Steven. The improvement in his attitude and state of mind are tangible.

Thank God for people who care.

He's in good hands ...

-- Kathleen

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