I know I've been absent on the blog. No particular reason...overall things are going well, I"ve just been very busy. I am still training hard for my half-Ironman distance triathlon, which is in September. We're wrapping up the school year, which is a whirlwind of activity, not only for the kids but for the school Foundation I'm a part of. We took the kids to Disneyland for a few days, and are getting ready to re-do our kitchen.....really, just life has gotten in the way.
One thing that has happened recently that is getting me down, though, is my daughter's recent IEP. Last week was her annual review. It ended up being over 2 days, as one of the therapists couldn't come one day. So on Monday we met with her Physical Therapist (PT), Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Therapist (ST), and Adapted P.E. (APE) teacher. On Tuesday we met with her Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing (DHH) Therapist. Present both days were her kindergarten teacher, the Speech Therapist, the Resource Specialist (who acts as A's case manager) and the Program Director.
Overall, A is doing very well. In PT, OT and APE she has met most of her goals and has made progress toward the rest. In Speech and DHH, however, she making progress but not as much as we'd like. Her expressive language is still very delayed (a language sample transcript shows her language to be about that of a 3 year old; she'll be 6 next month). All 5 of her therapists wrote tons of goals for her for next year...so many! I know this a good thing. If they didn't think she was capable, they wouldn't make so many goals, so set the bar so high. She'll be pulled out from class a lot next year, even more so than this year.
The question is, where do we place her? She'll be in kindergarten again; she is in a great 2-year kindergarten program which is for kids born June-November, who would normally be the youngest kids in the class. This gives young kids an extra year of growth. So next year is Year 2 of kindergarten, this time at our home school (our home school doesn't have this 1st year of kindergarten, so she's at another school in our district). Academically, A is right on target (reading, writing, counting) and does not qualify for Special Day Class. What she NEEDS is a DHH class, a small class just geared toward deaf/hard-of-hearing kids. But my school district does not have such a class.
We CAN think about putting her elsewhere. A school district near us has a DHH class that mainstreams for some activities. And, even farther away there is a private DHH school, with only DHH kids. This intrigues me a lot. Our DHH therapist said that most kids only go to that school for a year or two, then transfer back to their home school. Most kids' language is greatly enhanced by going there.
In the end, we decided to try A at our regular home school in the fall. I want to see how she does this summer and receiving school services again. In the fall, October or November, I will call an emergency IEP and meet with all the therapists. If she is making progress, we will keep her where she is. If not, I will start the fight for the district to move her to one of the DHH schools as soon as possible. Six months is a long time, and I want to see what more we can do for her at home and at school. (I already have her in a language pragmatics/social skills group that I pay for privately once a week; she'll continue over the summer. I'm also looking into another such group, and maybe 1:1 speech therapy. I am also calling the DHH school this week to see if there is a summer program that we can enroll in).
The hard part is knowing if we're doing what's best for her. I want her language to improve. It IS improving. I also don't WANT her to be segregated with just DHH kids, but I will if that's what best for her, especially if it's only for a year or two. I guess time will tell. The good news is that no decision is irreversible, and we can put her in a DHH class or a general ed class at any time. The bad news? Parenting is hard. Making these decisions is awful.
The art of the deal: special needs child version
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