Last week, we had to take Kaitlyn over to FSU to have round three of evaluation and testing. While we were not expecting to have our meeting to review the results until next week at the earliest, we got the call that they were ready late Monday.
I figure the best way to go about this will be to start with what the recommended, and fill in the blanks after. In what might be the least shocking news we have received regarding Kaitlyn during this whole process, it was recommended that the results be shared with Kaitlyn’s school and her teachers and she be put on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP); if you have been following this saga for a while, you will probably be saying, “duh,” right now because that is exactly what I have been advocating for 4 months now. What I concluded after reading that was that the school district felt that it was necessary to make us jump through hoops for 4 months in hopes that either they would get the results they wanted (no IEP, etc.) or that we would just give up; they were wrong on both counts, and seriously underestimated how stubborn I can be when I put my mind to something.
The results also stated that Kaitlyn would benefit from being in an environment with explicit rules, but also offered some flexibility so that she can learn to handle “exceptions” to rules. Works for me. Also, it stated that Kaitlyn’s teachers may need to make adjustments to their teaching style to better meet her needs by doing the following: letting her know of changes in routine, including additional prompts before a change occurs (picture schedule, etc.), allowing her extra time to respond to questions and encourage her classmates to do the same, pairing her with a sensitive and socially skilled child (to kind of shield her from as much teasing and bullying as possible), and monitoring her stress level and allowing her time to decompress when she becomes overwhelmed or over stimulated. These are pretty much verbatim what we requested originally.
How did they get to those recommendations? They put her through a series of tests and activities and combined those results with the responses Amber and I gave during our interview. They gave her the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence assessment (IQ test), and her composite score came back at 111, placing her in the high average to lower above average range; her verbal score was a 102 (about average), and her performance (puzzle solving, etc.) score was 116 (above average). On the Young Children’s Achievement Test, she scored a composite 115 (high average to above average), and she was outstanding on her reading (121) and math (115). So, intellectually, she was right in line with what we thought, and with what we have learned about Asperger’s in general.
Which brings us to the behavior skills, which, as we expected, are lower than her intellectual scores. Her adaptive behavior composite on the Vineland II test was 83, which is below average. While she scored right at the mean (100) on communication skills, her socialization skills were pretty below average (75), as were her motor skills (75). This is not a surprise to us at all, and also in line with Asperger’s traits.
The woman that tested Kaitlyn also provided us with her notes of things that she observed that may not have shown up in the scoring. One was the Kaitlyn loved to look at herself in the two-way mirror (nobody loves looking at Kaitlyn more than Kaitlyn), and she would look in the mirror when she did not want to complete a task. Kaitlyn also had some difficulty when there was no visual aid to guide her response. She even asked the woman how many more she had to do, and appeared to know that she was getting them incorrect (can you say frustration?); this is already a source of concern because we can just see her now filling in the FCAT, SAT, or ACT with the proverbial “Christmas Tree” responses just so she can be done. She stated that she “didn’t know any new words” when she was asked to define words she did not readily know (in her mind, once she knows a word, it is no longer new, so this makes sense). When I read that last part, I burst out laughing.
It is the opinion of the evaluator that Kaitlyn will breeze through kindergarten. This was reinforced this afternoon when I took her to the standard kindergarten screening, and according to the teacher that did the screening, flew right through the questions real quick, getting them all right. Kaitlyn was even helpful enough to write her name on the paper for the teacher just to speed things along. Her elementary school is very happy that we have been so open with them about Kaitlyn, and that we have been willing to share all of the information we have gotten with them; they feel like they are well-prepared for her, and that she will do well. Amber and I are excited about sending her to her new school next month, and are happy she will be in a place that she is understood and that efforts will be made to ensure her success. Her school years will be challenging as we learn to adapt and adjust to her Asperger’s, and knowing that her school is a willing partner is a very nice feeling.