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Mock IEP Meeting: A Student with Special Needs Transcript

[Opening slide with the words, "This webinar series is provided by the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans and by the Minnesota Department of Education."]

[Title slide: "An IEP Meeting for a Student with Special Needs"]

[Slide: "Background on the Student"]

[A man (Jay) appears and begins to speak.]

Jay: Sekeriye has a profound hearing loss and is going into second grade.  His family is from Somalia. He moved to Minnesota and began attending preschool when he was four years old. He has one Deaf brother and one Deaf sister. His other siblings are hearing. His mom is learning sign language.  Although Sekeriye began attending school and was exposed to sign language at a much younger age than his siblings, he has needed significantly more support to develop his ASL skills. Sekeriye is very friendly, shows empathy for others,  and works to socialize with his peers and staff. Sekeriye is learning to communicate with his friends using ASL instead of through physical means, touching, hugging too often or too hard. Sekeriye is very impulsive and struggles to maintain attention to tasks. He has a 1:1 paraprofessional in class and has recently began taking medication to help with attention and focus.  

[Slide: "The Meeting"]

[Five people are in a meeting room and are sitting at a table. They have papers, pens, cups, and an open laptop in front of them. They are Jay Fehrman (school administrator), a Somali interpreter, Sekeriye's mom, Nanette McDevitt (classroom teacher), Kelly Anderson (Special Needs teacher), and Susan Boinis (ASL interpreter).]

Kelly: Hello. Welcome to Sekeriye's IEP meeting. I'm so glad that you are all here. My name is Kelly Anderson. I am Sekeriye's Special Needs teacher.  

Nanette: I'm Nanette McDevitt, classroom teacher.

Sekeriye's Mother: I am Sekeriye's mom.

Jay: And I'm Jay Fehrman, I'm a principal.

[Sekeriye's mom asks for clarification on Jay's title. Jay nods in confirmation.]

Kelly: So, we just went over Sekeriye’s recent evaluation results. Nanette, you are Sekeriye’s teacher for the deaf/hard of hearing, would you want to share any updates regarding your work with Sekeriye?

Nanette: Absolutely. Sekeriye enjoys greeting others with a wave and a smile.  He is starting to communicate more often using ASL and his ASL skills have significantly improved.  But he continues to struggle to respond to questions and often uses gestures or pointing when he does not know a sign. Sekeriye struggles to initiate conversations and play with other students. Instead, he often uses touch or movement to initiate conversations and sometimes, students feel that impedes on their boundaries.

Kelly: Thank you. Thank you for that update. Throughout the year, Sekeriye has made great progress. Last year, when you walked by him in the hall, he would only wave hi. And if you said, "How are you?" he would not respond. But this year, if you walk by him and you say, "How are you?" he will say he's doing fine.

Sekeriye's mom: I totally agree. 

Kelly: And so, you and I talked earlier today and you said that you do have some concerns regarding Sekeriye’s expressive sign language. At home, if he wants something, he'll often just kind of point. And if you don't understand him right away, he gets kind of frustrated. Sometimes, he will ask his older sister, who is also Deaf, to give him the sign. Is that right?

Sekeriye's mom:  Yes, I agree with you. And it's hard for him to understand and ask for things. And when you disagree, he gets angry and frustrated. So, um, so he has a hard time. He struggles with it. He struggles with signing for food. 

Kelly: Yes. We see that here at school. He does struggle to remember the signs for food. We will make sure to address those concerns today.  To help guide us and make sure we don’t overlook anything, I would like for us to use this Discussion Guide. [Kelly holds up the Discussion Guide, everyone looks at their copies] 

Kelly: I shared this with you before. Based on Sekeriye’s learning needs, I think we will start with the section, titled, “Students with Co-Occurring Disabilities." "What is the range of language and communication needs and abilities.”  This is on page 14. [All find page 14 in their Discussion Guides] How does that sound?

Sekeriye's mom: Okay. 

Jay: That sounds appropriate to me.

Kelly: So, when using this guide, the one thing we need to make sure we keep in mind is augmentative forms of communication. Things that we use in addition to sign language to help Sekeriye with his language. Objects, pictures, and PECS. And we have used these in the past and they have been very successful for him. 

Sekeriye's mom: Okay.

Kelly: So the first prompt here asks us to look at current data and discuss whether or not patterns emerge in Sekeriye’s language and communication that impact his progress in other areas. As for what we see here at school, we have noticed that Sekeriye’s receptive, how much he understands sign language, is much better than his expressive language. Nanette, what do you see regarding how Sekeriye’s language impacts his progress?

Nanette: As I mentioned before, [pauses as Kelly's comments are interpreted in Somali] 

Sekeriye's mom: I agree and I want him to do that and more.

Nanette: As I mentioned before, Sekeriye is able to express his basic needs and wants and is showing some academic gains as well. He follows simple directions and he follows the classroom routine very well. 

Sekeriye's mom: I'm happy that he knows his language. And that he's getting better. But I hope someday that he is good enough to be able to understand everything. [All nod.]

Nanette: We have the same hopes. However, due to his language delays, his language is well below that of his typical peers. 

Sekeriye's mom: Someday in the future, I hope he is good enough to understand. 

Kelly: And he's getting there. He's made some good improvements. We just really want to work on how he asks a friend to start a conversation. And how he asks friends to play. And also how we can work with Sekeriye to help him answer questions in ASL. 

Sekeriye's mom: Can I have pictures that will help him at home to understand everything? So that it will be easier at home as well? 

Kelly: Yes, we can do that. The pictures will help. Based on our understanding that Sekeriye's language is delayed, and he needs pictures, it does show us he needs some more support. So, I think we can all agree that this is an area we need to address on the new IEP. For example, when Sekeriye wants to ask a friend to play but he, like, pushes them or bumps them, he;s always very, very sorry. But then, he forgets, and then the next time instead of signing, "Do you want to play?" he again pushes or bumps and we really need to help him figure out a different way.  So what we're thinking is maybe a picture prompt that shows how to get the appropriate attention of someone by tapping. And then maybe have some signs, like [demonstrates in ASL gloss, YOU-and-ME PLAY?]. We think that could help Sekeriye when he wants to ask a friend to play.

Sekeriye's mom: Okay. 

Kelly: And I know you had asked for pictures of favorite foods, is that something we can do - do the signs for favorite foods? 

Nanette: Absolutely. We can do that. We'll send pictures home for you.

Sekeriye's mom: I know you guys will send it. 

Jay: That's great. We want to make sure that we are consistent both at home and in school. I think that will help Sekeriye make the most progress.

Sekeriye's mom: Okay.

Kelly: The next prompt asks whether or not Sekeriye has access to language within the classroom, especially student who are deaf or who have significant hearing loss, and also have multiple disabilities, including a developmental, cognitive delay, or autism, or more like Sekeriye, some ADHD, some impulsiveness. 

Sekeriye's mom: Okay.

Kelly: I think we can agree at Metro Deaf School, Sekeriye does have access to peers who use ASL and also peers with other disabilities who need support also, like, maybe with their impulsivity.  

Sekeriye's mom: I'm happy that he's going to be like, like he's going to have some progress and will do some achievements.

Nanette: Wonderful. I would agree with what Kelly said. I also want to say that I am so happy that you're learning ASL at home, that you're using ASL with him at home. You're continuing to work on improving communication. That's going to be a huge benefit for him.

Sekeriye's mom: I'm happy - I'm also happy that I get to learn the language that he speaks because I understand him and he will understand me. And we'll make progress from there in the future. 

Kelly: So, the last prompt asks how frequently does Sekeriye have access to fluent sign language models in the special education settings. I'm just going to look at the IEP.  He has, Sekeriye has a lot of access at MDS because everyone there signs. But he also has access to signing at home because you're learning sign and he has an older brother and sister who are Deaf and who are also very fluent signers. 

Sekeriye's mom: Thank you, I'm grateful. And it's also great to learn the language and to understand.

Kelly: So, now, based on these three prompts from the Discussion Guide, I think our next step is to look at how we can address Sekeriye's needs that we've established and relate them to how they impact his language and communication in other areas. In order to help Sekeriye continue to make gains across all areas, we really do need to help him improve his conversational skills. And that includes attention-getting, initiating a conversation in play, and responding to questions. Does that sound good to you?

Sekeriye's mom: Yes, I understand. 

Nanette: Yes, I would agree that those are significant needs for Sekeriye and I believe that he would do well in a 1:1 environment, for working on those skills as well as small groups. And he could benefit from our Speech-Language department and our ASL group working with him.

Sekeriye's mom:  I am hoping for that.

Kelly: Well, great.

Jay: I agree that we want to make sure we are doing everything we can here at school to help Sekeriye continue to make progress as well as support your family and your efforts at home.

Sekeriye's mom: I understand.

Kelly: What I will do now is I will take up his IEP with all this information with the goals and objectives that we discussed today and also the accommodations that we feel are necessary to help Sekeriye.

Sekeriye's mom: Okay.

Kelly: So when you get it, let me know if you have any questions or concerns and then the three of us will be in touch to talk about some ways that we can implement the new strategies and how we can implement them at home.

Sekeriye's mom: I can't wait until the papers come so we can talk about it. Thank you very much. 

[Video fades to the original slide with the words, "This webinar series is provided by The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans and by the Minnesota Department of Education."]

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