Last week we completed a SETT framework for a grade 9 student with complex needs. It was a great experience for all involved and will move the student forward. This is how it went. . .
We started the meeting with our Inclusive Learning Team (including the speech pathologist, occupational therapist, psychologist, educational/behavior specialist, assistive technology specialist, physiotherapist and me), the father of the student, the principal of the school, the educational assistant and the student. Unfortunately none of his teachers attended.
To begin, I gave each participant a copy of the student's main communication board and instructed all participants that they could not talk but had to use this board only. The first part of the SETT is to gather information about the student. Using the communication board, I asked everyone to tell me about this boy. This proved to be quite difficult for all as the board was mostly nouns. One person tried to tell me about his toileting, by pointing to the toilet and "don't want". I played along and asked, "You don't want to use the toilet?" She shook her head. Another person pointed to swing but of course, she couldn't say he loves to swing. Dad just pointed to "don't want" and I asked what do the student not want? He said out loud, "I don't want to do this." After a couple more minutes, we debriefed by saying how hard it would be for the student to communicate using just this board. We all realized that something would have to change for this board in order for this student to be able to communicate more effectively.
The rest of the process was fantastic and we ended up learning a lot about the student through the first part of the SETT: S (Student). Dad shared his hopes and dreams for his son. Next, we learned much about the Environment (E) and found the student needs to make his way into the classroom each and every day but agreed that he needed to have purposeful activities when he is in there.
Next we defined what the tasks are for this student (T) and finally discovered possible tools (T). In the end we took all the information gathered and shared it on a Google Doc to see if we had missed anything. The process really teased out specific goals and gave the school information regarding what needs to be in the IPP and what steps are needed to transition this student to high school. We looked at possible placements, including the student's community high school. It was especially important for the parent to share his hopes and dreams for his son so the school could act on this information also.
This was proof that the learning team must include all stakeholders and everyone must have their say, but most important we need to hear the family's hopes and dreams.