Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Report Card Day

Maya's school photo
This evening we met Maya's teachers to discuss how she did this school year and to agree on goals for next year.

It's kind of like report card day and IEP day all in one.  And like with just about anything to do with autism and special needs, report card day is not anything like it is with a typical child, nothing like it was when I was a kid, when I brought home a handwritten oaktag report card with my grades written in, or in college where you waited for that window envelope with  your computer printed grades on them.

Report card day has always been a mixed bag for us.  While Maya does make progress it is usually microscopic and there are always so many deficits listed on paper and so many goals not quite reached that after a while it becomes difficult not to get lost in the deluge of her special needs.  While the reports are not negative themselves, it gets tough to read on paper how many problems your child has.

This year the meeting started off with the news that Maya will in the next school year move to group 3 (which is not really the equivalent of 3rd grade and the differences are less well drawn then in the American school system).  Plus in Maya's school it is estimated that each child will spend 1.5 - 2 years in the same grade.

Maya started at this school in group 2 in March 2011 and in a little over a year she has met the requirements to move to group 3.

Yep, I am proud!

Check out these results (and as always I translate from Dutch):

Reading:  Moved up 2 levels (goal was one level)
Math:  Moved up 3 levels (goal was 2 levels)
Writing/Fine motor skills:  moved up 1 level (goal was one level).  She can now cut with scissors which was quite a feat for her to achieve
Physical therapy:  met all her goals for the year
Speech therapy:  met all her goals for the year
Gym:  met her goals for the year
Swimming:  exceeded her goals for the year
Concentration:  moved from being able to concentrate 5 minutes to 20 minutes on a task.

Reading and writing are still tough for her but she is making progress, although it is slow going but her comprehension is good.  She can answer questions about what she reads and what others read to her.  With reading it is still kind of difficult for them to understand if she is just not motivated to do it or if she really doesn't know what is being asked of her.  She seems to be more easily distracted in reading and writing than in math, but next year she will get 3 extra reading/writing class periods per week with her one on one aide.

Concentration still seems to be her biggest issue, she often gets up from her desk in the middle of her work and that causes her to finish her work late.  When she is motivated to concentrate, all teachers/therapists report that she works very well but it is tough for them to understand what triggers her to lose her concentration.

Maya's class photo

So all is well, the progress she is making at home seems to be mirrored at school and I think we cannot forget that being in one school which is geared to her needs is having a good effect, as is the class aide that works with her 3 mornings per week.  Before the last year, Maya had been in 3 different schools over the course of one year.  It's really remarkable seeing what a consistent environment is doing for her.  

And to boot, the organization which deals with all the various therapies within the school has asked us if they can use a photo of Maya in their new promotional materials.  We looked at a bunch of photos taken and settled on this one.  Although she was in the full grips of a cold, with a nose which would rival Rudolph, I loved this one of her at her desk, seated with her hands in a typical "Maya" fashion.  

Our cover girl! 

So, all in all, I don't think it could be any better.  After one year at this school, for her to be making such steady progress on her own terms.  Yes, it is slowly but surely and of course as her mother I always want it faster and farther.  But like many things in life, autism and special needs are not a sprint, but a distance race.

I don't know where her finish line will ultimately be, but it's great that she is slowly and steadily moving toward it.


  1. Fantastic news! Maya meet or beat her goals for the year. What's not to like? I love the photo of her at the desk. So beautiful.