Annual Reviews And Goals For The Next Year

Annual Reviews And Goals For The Next Year

I was busy last week with meetings for my son.  His annual review for CAP services was due, and his speech therapy plan was also up for renewal.  Although the actual reviews have gotten easier, the emotional impact of them are still difficult for me.  The CAP services annual review meeting was done here, at my house.  I conducted the one for his speech therapy over the phone.  I wasn’t surprised when his therapist brought up the fact that there wasn’t a lot left for her to work on with my son.

My son struggles with communication.  As a non-verbal autistic child, that is to be expected.  He also continues to avoid using his communication device whenever it is needed.  He uses it to get his basic needs across, but doesn’t want to use it for “normal” communication.  His therapist feels that, within the scope of their setting for therapy, she has accomplished all that she can with him.  I asked that one last goal be attempted, before we officially end therapy.

My son tends to wonder off when we are out in the community.  I have a fear of him getting lost, and not being able to communicate to anyone his name or our phone number.  I asked that she work on this with him.  He knows the information, and will give it to those he trusts and is comfortable around.  I would like to see him be able to give the information to anyone who asked.  Yes, that goes against what we normally would want our children to do.  We don’t want them to talk to strangers, let alone give them personal information.  But, if a store employee or a police officer were to ask, he needs to be able to use his communication device to tell them.

His therapist agreed, and that is what she will be working on with him over the next 6 months.  We also decided that his twice a week therapy schedule should be changed to once a week.  We are hoping that this will ease him into the eventual end of therapy.  I am scared that my son will stop making any kind of progress with communication after therapy ends.  I am also afraid he will regress and lose all the hard earned progress he has made.  It is my hope that this will not happen.  Between his school, his CAP worker, and me, my son will continue to progress in communication.

My son is about to turn 15, and I had concerns about his future that I needed to discuss during his annual service plan review for CAP services.  Luckily, I am currently blessed with two extremely knowledgeable people to work with on this.  His case manager for services, and his service provider representative, are both easy to work with and were able to answer my questions about what will need to be done in the future.

They helped me understand what kinds of opportunities are available when my son is ready.  In a couple years, he will be able to begin new services that will help ease him into transition to being an adult.  They also helped explain the process of becoming his guardian when he turns 18.  After we finished discussing my concerns for the future, we were able to review his CAP goals, and make a few changes to help obtain my long term goals for him.

I would love for my son to be more independent, and to be able to get some sort of job.  I’m not sure if working will be good for him, but I know I need to try to give him that option.  He will also be able to stay in the public school system until he is 21.  I will have to go over all of my concerns about transition with his IEP team before the end of the school year.  They are already starting to work on things in the classroom that will help him become more independent as an adult.  I just need to know how things will work once he turns 18 and is still attending school.

As I prepare for a future that is really scary for me, I try to arm myself with as much knowledge as I can.  The more I know, the easier it will be to help my son.  I shake my head in disbelief when I think about the years behind us.  The things I had to learn, the work my son has had to do, are amazing.  I feel like I have the knowledge for several college degrees.  My son’s therapist told me that she thought I was more than qualified to be my son’s speech therapist.  She has no doubt that I will be able to carry on at home with my son, after speech therapy officially ends.  When I look to the future, I see a whole lot of things I still need to learn.  Just as my son is getting so close from officially being a child, to being an adult, I have a whole new area to educate myself on.  It won’t be easy.  I’m grateful to have a team of experts to be able to consult with.  I’m also grateful for my blog readers, who have shared their knowledge and advice with me.  Whenever I feel alone, and in over my head, I’m humbled at the support I get here on my blog.  Thank you all, and I will continue to keep posting updates of our journey navigating the rocky waters of raising an autistic child.

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