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Monday, October 12, 2015

I is for Independence

Before the end of last school year we had Kayla's 3-year re-evaluation meeting. For those who aren't familiar with the IEP process - every 3 years the team meets to re-evaluate if the student still meets the requirements/diagnosis for an IEP. Sometimes this can be quick with everyone agreeing that yes the IEP is needed and appropriate. Sometimes it can take longer because testing will be recommended.

This re-testing was suggested to us because Kayla is now 3 years older than the last time this was done and her age falls into the next age bracket of this test; they would be testing different skill sets.

Some of the testing requires the parents to fill out a long questionnaire about their child's abilities etc. I forget the actual name of this evaluation, something functional, I think.

It is a long questionnaire though and what I remember from the last time I filled one of these out, it asked a lot of things that Kayla wasn't doing yet, or not exposed to having an opportunity to do yet. Things I wasn't aware of what they might be looking at to assess her abilities. This isn't academics, it's more of a daily living skills; an awareness type of evaluation.

So when they asked about doing this again I was against it. For one I didn't want to put Kayla through another battery of testing, especially when it wouldn't change the outcome. She would still qualify for services without having to do this evaluation, and the results would confirm that. It would give us some ideas of 'life skills' goals to work on, true. But I think it would also be a glaring light in my face of all the ways I have thus far failed as a parent in teaching her those skills that I didn't know she should be learning at her age.

That's how I felt after answering the questions last time. One answer after another I questioned myself, "Are kids her age really doing this? She should be capable of doing this already? Is this something we should have worked on with her?"

I didn't want to be faced with all the ways I might have still been failing her in that department.

I don't remember what skills or knowledge of life responsibilities I had when I was 12. I know I was able to babysit, and I made money doing so. Kayla couldn't do that right now. I don't really remember my parents teaching me specific things either - it was just a general awareness you gain as you age each year and learn about life around you. It's those common sense things you just figure out as you  mature.

I'm aware that I sometimes do too much for Kayla, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes because it's just easier. I'm aware that I'm not doing her any favors by doing things for her ... but sometimes it's hard to pull back.

I want to instill independence in her. She needs to be independent in navigating her world and I'm not always going to be by her side. She independently navigates her school without an adult aide walking her to and from classes. She knows which class she needs to go to and she goes there. Of course independence is much more than that, I just don't know where to begin. I don't know what kids at 12 years old are doing. She does some chores ie emptying the dishwasher, putting her clothes away, folding towels, general cleaning up of toys.

What are you doing with your 12 year old? What responsibilities do they have?

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2 comments:

Mom24 said...

Hmm, responsibilities. Julianna puts away her clothes, straightens and cleans her room (though it takes much prodding). Handles her homework independently. Cleans up poop in the backyard and cleans out the guinea pigs. Sets the table, loads and unloads the dishwasher and "cleans" the kitchen. Quotes because her standards are not mine. She takes laundry down to laundry room, can throw a resorted load in if I tell her what settings to use, and can switch to the dryer and fold most loads. She can strip her bed, wash the sheets and remake the bed. Clean the counter and toilet in the bathroom and sweep and vacuum. She can also dust a room if you're not too critical. Scoop the letterbox and feeds the guinea pigs each morning as one of her chores without reminder. She also is responsible for washing all her lunchbox containers.

Hang in there. Be kind to yourself. You're doing the best you can and that's great. There's always going to be someone's kid who could live independently in a bomb shelter for six months. Who cares? You work on the skills you think she needs and that work for your family. If you want to stretch, stretch, but don't do it out of guilt that you're not doing enough.

Anonymous said...

No typical 12 year olds yet, but my 9 year old can load, start, and unload the dishwasher, wash sheets and towels in the washing machine and switch to the dryer (that is the only setting I've taught her), make beds, use the microwave, make brownies from a mix without help (including use the oven), give her toddler brother a bath and shampoo, dress her brother, sweep the floor, vacuum the rugs, pack her own sports bags for soccer, swimming, and skiing (and suffer the consequences if she forgets something). She has a retainer and is responsible for cleaning/wearing/general care of it. She can comb out her own hair and put it in a messy pony tail.

Some of my friends think I'm too easy on her, others think she does too much. Eh, I would note what makes sense to do next, work on that, and forget about the other things.