Meet Libby: Why are we concerned about this student?

Libby is a 4-year old Hispanic child who is being cared for by adoptive English-speaking parents. Libby appears to be small in stature in comparison to her same age peers. A recent evaluation showed her developmental levels of performance.

Testing Age: 44 months

Developmental levels:

  • Cognitive – 24 months
  • Expressive – 24 months
  • Receptive – 23 months
  • Personal/Social – 28 months
  • Fine Motor – 24 months
  • Gross Motor – 24 months
  • Adaptive – 24 months

What we know about Libby

Libby enjoys playing in the housekeeping and play areas of her preschool but prefers solitary play. Often she sits by herself with one or two toys and tries to engage an adult. She uses a limited vocabulary in the classroom including words such as “ah” “oh,” “please,” and “I got it.” She speaks very softly, so it is often hard for others to hear her. Libby points to objects in her environment and will make choices at circle time on request. She is working on toileting and will use the toilet or potty-chair when placed there though she resists taking her clothing down to use the toilet.

Libby currently receives special instruction, physical therapy, and motor development services. She is in a 3-day-per-week half-day preschool class with 4 to 5 other peers who are non-categorical special education students. The preschool classroom is broken down into 5 areas that include circle, housekeeping, art/snack, play and library areas.

Each area takes up approximately 9 square feet, and there is an open area in the center of the room for movement between centers. Picture communication symbols are present at circle time and throughout the room for area labels. Libby is able to walk to each area, but prefers to sit alone in the play area. Oftentimes, she will hide in the playhouse when it is time to transition to another activity.

Each morning when the students arrive, they remove their coats and backpacks, place their snacks and notebooks on the shelf by the door, and put their coats and backpacks into individual cubbies. On a typical day, circle time lasts for 15-20 minutes. There is a playtime during which the students are allowed to move between areas; a snack time followed by hand washing, and a clean up time at the end of each play session where materials and toys are put back into their labeled containers.

In general, Libby’s greatest challenge is communication. She needs to learn to share her preferences and to say her name verbally to her peers and teacher. She also needs to learn to better follow directions in the classroom.

Consider AT

Goals: What does Libby need to be able to do?

At Libby’s most recent IEP meeting, the school team, including Libby’s parents, agreed that Libby would likely benefit from the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) strategies and the possible use of a voice output device in order to help her reach her IEP goals and objectives. The school team needs to evaluate exactly what device would be best for Libby to use, so a trial with a voice output device was added to her IEP. While Libby has IEP goals and objectives across all areas of development, most are in the Personal/Social area, as they will help her to use her own name, put toys away, manipulate toys to interact, and communicate her preferences and intentions.