Don’t waste their time!

I saw a young 22 year old man this week. He doesn’t speak. In fact he has no conventional communicative means whatsoever. Furthermore, everyone TALKS to him without the benefit of visuals because everyone has assumed that he understood their speaking.  This young man has significant challenges, I mean significant challenges.  He does not have independence with his self-care, AND he has no communication system.  He just ‘is’; his interactions are primarily of a sensory nature and include ocular pressure, and tactile rubbing of cold surfaces, oh, and licking/sniffing animate/inanimate objects.  I found myself wondering what he did when he went to school.  What do you suppose his IEP goals were?  Insofar as he can do so very little now, how was his time spent, HOW?  Did he trace his hand?  Print the alphabet? Count money?  What did he do for those 16-20 years in school because at this point in time EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING has to be done for this young man.  It is tragic and someone let him and his family down big time.  Everyone around IEP tables everywhere MUST ask the tough question of “if (student’s name) doesn’t learn how to do (insert potential IEP goal here), will someone have to do it for him? And, if the answer is not ‘yes’ then move onto a goal that has real meaning for the individual. This has to be the mantra.  We can’t be wasting their time, we just cannot, because there are consequences; this young man IS a consequence….. and it didn’t need to be this way!

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