The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Jan 26, 2012

2 Year IFSP - a teeny reminder of how our girl is different

We met with our AWESOME Early Intervention team last week to go over and make adjustments to our IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) - a mere 25 page report on everything MACY.
Sharon (Speech Path), Shelli (Serives Coordinator,) Penny (PT), Renae (Special Education teacher) Valerie Jensen (School District Rep).  not pictured:  Lucy (OT)
I Love how Kenzie & Macy are blurred in the above pic...getting them to sit still for a nano-second is seriously impossible...oh well, this pic wasn't about them anyway.  hehe

Click on the following links for a quick look back at our first few official meetings.  a few weeks old     6 month IFSP     1 yr IFSP     18 month IFSP
It's funny how most kids go through life, they grow up, develop, they learn skills, etc... Most milestones are noted, but are for the most part over-looked (taken for granted even).   This, I'd say is the norm.

It's funny to think that with our Little Miss Macy NOTHING GOES UNNOTICED and most certainly not unappreciated!  Especially with Miss Sharon (her Speech pathologist documenting her EVERY move - she is a very thorough note-taker during our weekly sessions).  I have always liked to think that Down Syndrome slows things down just enough to truly appreciate each and every milestone, big & small.  Allowing us (not always observant parents) ample time to take notice, savor the moment and celebrate it appropriately before the child moves on and conquers that next challenge/obstacle. 
I'm not saying that Macy is slow...she just likes to take her time!  (As the wise Ferris Bueller once said "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it".)  hehe

I have been told, warned rather, that, for us parents, it is in this season of a child with a disabilities life that could perhaps be the most difficult.  It is during these years (1-4 years) that all the typical children begin taking off and developing various skills & abilities so rapidly, effortlessly even.  While Macy rocks & is doing super well, I am certainly not blind to small differences in Macy's preschool class...of which most of her sweet classmates are POTTY-TRAINING even! (but that's another blog).  It is not that in my mind I feel as though Macy may be "falling behind".  Sure, according to her IFSP, she's right on track & doing well.  Yes, I get it.  But I am still human and can wallow around in my own self pity at times.  I'm not gonna lie, it's somewhat frustrating...Wondering how much wider this ability gap will continue to grow.  (right now, at two, hers luckily is super subtle, especially to those unsuspecting friends around us.  I think her outgoing & vivacious personality makes up for any other possible short-comings).
I know she will continue to improve, I have confidence that on the scale of most intellectually disabled individuals she will rank high and be high-functioning.  But I also know that she will never really CATCH  UP to her "typical" friends & cousins, she will always be "behind" or "delayed".  This saddens me yes, but I think eventually I will be more at peace with the idea and accept these differences as no big deal.  She IS going to grow into that person God has specifically created her to be - no matter what.  Having this faith and TRULY believing in it day in & day out is just hard some days.
Perhaps when that day comes when there are no questions, this twisted-knotted feeling in my gut ( appropriate.amount.of.stimuli, etc...) will just go away and we can breathe easier again...
okay - enough with that - so now, if you're really bored (and looking to kill time) are some EXCITING IFSP details derived from our meeting last week.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty here, we addressed and documented (in a 25+ page report no less) EVERY development in the areas of Macy's VISION, HEARING, HEALTH STATUS, COGNITIVE/THINKING SKILLS, COMMUNICATION SKILLS, SOCIAL SKILLS, BEHAVIORAL SKILLS, SELF-HELP/ADAPTIVE SKILLS, FINE MOTOR SKILLS, GROSS MOTOR SKILLS, etc.  It's quite fascinating actually to see it ALL spelled out on paper and graphed even.  Seeing where and exactly how much (on a bar chart) she has grown since last time.  Who has this much time??  Our IE team apparently.  hehe  Love them & and very much appreciate the time and attention to detail they put into Macy's future of being the best and most productive person she has the potential to be.

So now that we have addressed where she is...what does this mean?  Where do we go from here? are some simple goals we have set for her:  and YOU CAN HELP!!

Gross Motor Goals -  work to improve Macy's ability to interact and move safely within her environment by mastering the objectives below:
a) develop a true run on flat surfaces, with a brief single stance moment.
b) step up and down from a few steps safely with minimal support
c) kick a ball from standing still position (balancing on one leg to kick with the other)
d) throw a ball overhand forward 3 feet from a standing position while maintaining balance.
e) jump up, clearing her feet from the floor
f) maintain a sitting position when sliding down a short (8 foot or so) slide.
g) propel a ride on a toy forward, backward, and turning it independently.

Fine Motor Goals - Macy will participate in activities to facilitate self help/fine motor skills by mastering the objectives below:
a) Drink from a cup and/or glass with little (to eventually no) spillage
b) Bring food to her mouth using a utensil with minimal to NO spillage 
c) unfasten the zipper and remove her coat
d) undress herself removing all articles of clothing.
e) Turn the pages of a book one page at a time.
f) imitate circular, horizontal and vertical lines with a model.
g) Fit at least 5 shapes into their corresponding places without prompting.

Cognitive Thinking & Social Skills - Macy will be able to play independently with materials in constructive play, imitate daily routines, and participate in interpersonal games.  During play and routines she will be able to demonstrate understanding of verbal requests and next step language.
a) use a variety of toys in constructive play (stacking blocks, connecting large legos etc)
b) sequence several actions during functional play with objects independently.
c) follow familiar one and two step verbal directions with fewer prompts or environmental ques from family and familiar adults.
e) when adults are not near by, use gestures or verbalizes to gain the attention of another to share, show, get help or request an item.
f) engage in parallel play (mimicking the action of others)
g) find 5-7 body parts during play, finger plays or during dressing routines.
h) imitate gestures for a wider variety of interpersonal games.
i) use pictures/gestures or signs to request or initiate familiar games.

Communication Skills - Continue to expand Macy's expressive communication skills by using words/signs/pictures to effectively communicate her wants and needs and to interact with people across her natural environments.
a) engage in vocal play imitating both her sounds and novel sounds when adults initiate them.
b) use sounds (animal-environmental-exclamations), approximated/true words, and signs with/without prompting.
c) Be exposed to picture choices as an additional method to make her wants/needs known (e.g. food items, toy items, routine sequences, availability of objects/activities).
d) Put her sounds/words/signs/pictures together to form combinations.
e) Use words/signs/pictures for early social functions (greet, get help, terminate, initiate, more, etc).
f) Monitor oral sensory motor skills, speech sound production skills.
g) Other things to work on...pausing, turn-taking, making choices, determining adequate portions, etc).

So there, that's it in a nutshell (it really is helpful for me to type it all out - this "sharing" exercise actually puts it more into perspective for me). 
Next time, you want to productively "play/interact" with Macy, perhaps you could keep a few of these goals in mind.  But really at the end of the day, this is pretty basic and common sense stuff.  Perhaps we're just over-thinking it...but HEY, at least we're thinking about it right!?  :)
That said, it's important to remember that the IFSP is not about predicting Macy's progress. It's about taking steps towards what we believe she can achieve. And we believe her possibilities are endless!

The plan?  We will continue our weekly Early Intervention Home visits - with Sharon (Speech Pathologist) as her primary service provider and rotating OT, PT & Special Ed into the mix too  :-)

A win-win for all!
so here's to all of us working together - to helping our Little Miss Macy
explore the world around her

Magnify all possibilities - Take it ALL in!
Effortlessly climb that ladder towards success
bring those feet step at a can do it!
It's not scary, you just have to try.  TRUST ME!
go Macy go!
Such a big girl!  We will most certainly improve on this slide stuff once Spring rolls around  :-)


  1. Wonderful post Sherri. Yes, Penny was Zach's P.T., more than 19 years ago! They were saints, wonderful tools in my toolbox of raising a very special little one. Blessings.

  2. Oh my gosh Sherri!! I thought Caden had a pretty good IFSP but then I see Macys... It is fabulous!! It is awesome!! It is so complete!! You did a great job with it. I hope you don't mind but I might 'borrow' a few of these goals for Caden as I think Caden is behind Macy in many of these areas.