An IEP for a 3 yo?

Hi all,

I don't usually post over here, but my youngest (will be 3 in early Feb) is scheduled for testing for a Special Education preschool.

She was placed with us at 4 months old for fost/adopt. She is very delayed in many, many ways, but we have worked so hard to help her get closer to her same age peers. She is a smart little one. Can ASL (American Sign Language) more than 150 words and the entire alphabet and her numbers to 20!! :grin: (proud mommy here!) But, has only about 40 spoken words and most of those only we can understand. She has been diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech. Which, from what I understand is: she can think of what she wants to say, but the process of getting the word from her brain to her mouth is disconnected. Thus, she is frequently frustrated, thus the need for ASL!! Speech therapist feels ASL is her first language and will be for quite some time.

J's small motor skills are at or above age level. Her large motor skills are far below. She cannot pedal a tricycle, even falls off it all the time (helmet worn!!) She stumbles alot, especially on uneven surfaces. When running, she "throws" her legs outward, doctor says that is to help keep her feeling "level". She is a BIG kiddo, weighs 47 lbs and is already 3'6"!! She is not chubby, she is very proportionate to height and body type.

We had her evaluated by an Orthopedist and a Neurologist, and had genetic testing at Shriner's and they felt "Yes, she is delayed, very delayed in some areas" they do not think she has CP or any genetic disorder. More of what she was exposed to while inutero and the abuse and neglect her first 4 months of life.

So, my very long winded question :smirk: is: Those of you with little ones, what do you ask for in an IEP? They will start testing her next week and told me the testing will be done over several visits to our home. Then we meet as a team for the IEP.

I know she desperatly needs to keep her Speech 2 hours weekly and Occupational Therapist (OT) as much as possible. Are there any other things we need to ask for? She is starting to have some behaviors at home that we can see are stemming from her frustration (and her age, lol!). Is it appropriate to ask for a behavior modification plan at such a young age?

Thanks for any and all info!!



Well-Known Member
My question would be how do they manage a special needs preschool without behavior mod? The kidlets are Well I guess it isnt behavior mod...its teaching appropriate behavior the first time since they havent been on earth long enough to really learn stuff they need to unlearn.

I would guess you are going to go for speech and Occupational Therapist (OT) since that seems to be her biggest weaknesses. They will probably work on getting her ready for kindergarten. I really dont know to be honest since it took us years to get an IEP.


New Member
Some early intervention programs are all inclusive. If this one isn't the testing will determine what areas your difficult child needs work in. Depending on the testscores your daughter wll be given such options as behavior mocification, Occupational Therapist (OT). and/or PT., speech & language, Sensory integration etc. I would bring the evaluation you got at Shriners with you. Have the recommendations and modifications made in that report addressed and written into the school district's IEP. When a child is this young the more services you can get them plugged into the better the outcome. I have two adopted children that I plugged in at a very early age one was diagnosis mentally retarded initially. He ended up graduating with honors from college. I always say ask for the moon but only settle for what is necessary nothing less. -RM


Active Member
Most IEPs for a child like yours would contain specific goals for the areas of speech, Occupational Therapist (OT), social and behavioral areas. It's not uncommon for an initial IEP to be written and then some adjustments made once the child has settled in and the staff can see what the needs are more fully and get to know the child better.

A behavioral plan per se wouldn't necessarily be included in an IEP at this age likely but what you do want to do is to make sure the IEP contains very specific measurable goals about behaviors. (ie difficult child will ask for help from an adult using sign language.) Anyway, I would be reluctant to have a team who doesn't know the child at all set up a behavioral modification plan prior to even seeing how she does in the preschool setting.

It sounds like there are a lot of gross motor issues so be sure and request an evaluation by a PT. A lot of schools try to pass that off to the Occupational Therapist (OT) but those fall under PT. Get a letter from her doctors if they balk.


New Member

My two youngest both did early intervention through a preschool setting. They both had IEP's at 3 years old.

Dylan got speech and Occupational Therapist (OT). At 3, he wasn't talking. His motor skills were slightly delayed. They did some behavior mod stuff with him in the preschool, 123 Magic was their thing there, but he mostly did preschool type academics (writing name, doing things on computer, counting numbers, weather, date, time, etc) and then the therapies.

Same with easy child. Although he also got PT, because of the heart surgeries.

Both children thrived in the preschool setting with the I.E.P.'s. In all honesty, it actually helped them transition into kindergarten. I'm really glad they both had the opportunity to do that.

Hope everything works out!



Active Member
difficult child 2 has an IEP (actually they call it an IFSP, individual family service plan, but its the same thing.) We put in into place and are now finding that the goals aren't appropriate and he is going to need different types of services than what is in the IEP. The IEP is flexible. If something comes up that needs to be changed then it can be changed. If you forget to ask for something difficult child needs you can call another meeting and put it in the IEP. That being said, the teachers might get frustrated if you do that every few weeks. difficult child 2's IEP has been in place a few months and as long as he is getting the services I think he needs I'm not going to ask for another meeting. Right now we're still in the testing and finding out what is wrong stage. They haven't balked at all about increasing his services without me calling another IEP meeting. I know I'm lucky and all school districts aren't like this. I guess my point to this ramble is to be the most prepared you can but if something comes up or you forget something important its not the end of the world because the IEP can be changed.


New Member
Occupational Therapist (OT) is considered upper body. she will probably get that as well as PT which would address her gross motor skills. behviors are addressed in these programs. i had a number of fosters go through this kind of preschool program. it was integrated so it included physical & behavioral. nice high ratio of student:teacher/aides.

good luck.

oh, & can i tell you thrilled i am that she's so conversant in ASL. try & keep that going even when she gets better at can be your *secret language*. she may end up being an interpreter someday!!

kris :princess: :princess:
Thanks everyone! That helps alot.

Kris, yes, I am thrilled that she can converse with us using ASL too! I knew that my taking advanced ASL in college would help me someday! :smile: I lost alot of it but it came back pretty quickly. And yes, we will continue to learn more and more ASL together, it has become a fun family time activity. Aly is learning right along with us and it is so cute to see her trying to teach her friends and cousins!!

J just blows us away everyday with how much she is capable of learning. Even with a very limited spoken vocabulary, she is like a little sponge and soaks up everything. She adores books, will "read" to her baby dolls all the time. Just yesterday I found her trying to "teach" her baby doll "I love you" in sign. It was so adorable. I got a few pictures, hope they turn out. Sure wished I had a working video camera!!!

J's daycare provider has ALOT to do with how she is learning her letters and numbers, etc. She has this way about her that is very calming and uplifting at the same time. She now goes 3 days a week for the socialization and to get prepared for preschool. She was SUCH a momma's girl until she started daycare, she is much more social now.

Oh, one thing I forgot to say about our little Miss J, she HAS to have everything just the "right" way or she has a mini meltdown. She lines up her shoes, toys, what-have-you, and God forbid someone move or jiggle something. Neuro doctor said as long as it doesn't get so out of hand that she can't function, it is probably just her way of controlling "her space". What do you guys think? Is it too early to think a little Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? Oh, and her blankets on her bed, she spends at least 10 to 15 minutes every night and every morning to get them "just so"! Kinda frustrating when we are trying to get her to bed or out the door in the morning!

Anyways, thanks again! I can always count on you guys!



Well-Known Member
The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thing sounds like how Duckie used to be. In her case, though, it was that she was staging her toys "perfectly" rather than actually playing with them.


Active Member
Speech delays and lining up toys/household objects (or arranging them in patterns) are red flag for Autistic Spectrum Disorders so you will want to familiarize yourself with those symptoms and keep close observation. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s are FREQUENTLY missed in young children. If her interest in letters and books intensifies at an early age (mine started spelling prior to age 3) you will want to keep an eye on that.

It sounds like the current diagnosis is plenty sufficient for the services she needs and I think you're already aware of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) angle but wanted to make sure.


New Member

The biggest thing I see asking for would be the PT, your J reminds me a bit of my youngest, also speech delayed, coordination/ balance/? problems, even the neat freak thing, mine just likes chairs pushed in and doors shut right now but his foster sister loves to shake things up and move things around and it upsets him. He is also the sweetest, most loving little guy(extra dose). He is getting EI at home 1hr a week by a PT and speech outside the home 1 hour a week. I should get him evaluated soon by an Occupational Therapist (OT) because my PT thinks she sees sensory issues.
I am really impressed with the sign language, that is a huge amount to know. Mine guy will be 2 in April but he only knows maybe 10-12 signs and only uses 5 regularly but he is beginning to do better with the speech end of things.