Wow, it's been a bit since I've managed to write. So much for a computer helping to make that happen :-) Needless to say, school, work and the kids have kept me busy!!
So when we bought a house back in April, one of the things that we looked for, as I'm sure most, if not all, parents do, was a good school district. Shortly after moving I outreached to the school district to talk to them about getting Bug assessed.
Let me back up a step. I've mentioned many times that Bug has a speech delay. Well initially we had her assessed b Early Intervention back at 18 months. We used them until she hit age 3, which is when she aged out. They would have transferred her over to the school district at that time, but we did NOT like the school district we were in, and therefore went on our own and worked with her, did the speech therapy thing, etc.
So I knew that at 3 we could get help.
Well we moved shortly before her 4th birthday. So I called the new school district and asked them about getting her assessed. It was at the end of the school year, so they sent me out the paperwork but advised that an assessment wouldn't happen until the new school year. Which I was OK with. I actually even held off on sending the paperwork for a bit so that I could send in the most up to date information. So I sent it in early August.
They came out and did an initial assessment at home. K and I were both here, and we actually got her to say a lot during this initial assessment. At the beginning of the assessment, the woman doing it let us know the steps of the process. The initial at home assessment, then if they determined the child warranted further review a play assessment at one of the schools where a team of people assess and make the decision together. Then they would decide at what level of need the child was at. For example, just speech therapy in the home, or maybe at her current daycare, all the way up to being eligible for the school districts preschool program.
So they did the in home assessment, and before the woman left she advised that they would want to bring Bug in for a play assessment.
So we took her in for the play assessment. K handled the majority of that assessment as I was only able to stay for a little while. They let me know before I left that they would schedule a meeting after they had a chance to meet and decide what to do, and that meeting would be either a 'your child is fine' kinda meeting, or they would present their findings and an IEP.
When I talked to K after the play assessment was over, I asked him what he thought. He said they eluded to the fact that she would be eligible for some services, but we weren't sure what. It took a few weeks before I got the call, but they scheduled an IEP meeting. Based on the call I knew it was an actual IEP meeting and not a 'give your kid a break, she's fine' meeting. And I was happy about that - she has come so far, but I think we need the professionals to be back in the mix now.
So, I went to the meeting. K wasn't able to come, but my mom was, and I was really glad that she was able to tag along.
It was kinda crazy when I got there and there were 5 people in the room. I felt a bit stressed about that at first. There was the speech therapist, 2 preschool teachers, the school psychologist and the person who did the initial at home assessment. They started off the meeting by going over each of their individual thoughts/findings/assessments of Bug. Nothing was surprising.
The speech therapist then went over where she fell on her language skills. They found her receptive language just barely normal, which is what i expected. I think she's got better receptive then what they gave her credit for, but knowing my daughter like I do, she didn't show them everything she can do. She gets shy, and when pushed in a situation she's not fully comfortable in she kinda shuts down. And they did say she didn't talk much for them, in fact, the speech therapist sat outside the bathroom door when K took her to the bathroom, because she was fighting him on going - and using her words. Yeah, that's my girl ha ha.
Anyways, then the part that made this mama cry came in. They diagnosed her with a developmental delay. That was HARD. Her score was WELL below normal. But they all said (and I've often wondered) that they think part of it is her significant speech delay. What they told me is that a developmental delay in educational terms is different than the medical term. It's given to children ages 3 - 5 who show delays in pre academics. Things like rote counting to 10, recognizing shapes, colors, numbers, letters, etc.
She struggles with these things. We work on it, but she still struggles.
So it wasn't a surprise. But the fact that she fell so far below normal was enough to break me down.
In the end, she qualified for their preschool program. So Monday through Thursday morning she'll attend preschool in our school district from 8:35 - 11:05. She will get 40 minutes of speech therapy a week. Her IEP is very detailed with the goals they are aiming for in terms of words and/or signs that others can understand, the number of capital letters she will recognize, how far she can rote count, etc. The school district will pick her up at daycare and drop her back off; and a car seat will be used (yeah!!).
She is the 9th child in the class, and they can have up to 12. No more than 4 of them can be 'typical' peers. They have 1 teacher and 2 aides, plus the speech therapist that comes in on Mondays. Amazing ratios. I have very high hopes. I'm happy with the school district so far.
I got a chance to talk to her teacher, and I LOVE him. He was actually doing a play assessment with another little boy when we took Bug in for hers, and I could tell just how good he is with kids. Talking to him reiterated that fact. You can tell he's in it for the right reasons.
So, the IEP meeting was last Friday. We are still working on getting the transportation set up since pick up/drop off isn't at home. But yesterday K drover her and took her to the program so that she could have someone there for her first day, as well as having a day break on Friday to help let it settle in.
K really likes the teacher too, and that's a wonderful wonderful thing.
So. Here's to the next phase in our lives. Here's to getting our Bug the additional help she needs, and here's to hoping that this time next year I'll be telling you all about the person my little girl is; and not just what I know because I know her, but what I know because she is TELLING me.