I am a procrastinator by nature. This began in school, of course. I've never completed a project more than 24 hours before a deadline, at least not once my parents began leaving it to me to get things done. Homework was often done in my car before school or inside my desk in another class. Though, I was always an excellent student, even half-assed work generally garnered an A. This has transferred to life, to the workplace. I need my employers to give me, what have been called "drop dead dates" or I can't organize my workload. I need to know the final moment something must be completed, and then I organize accordingly. Instead of working towards a goal from the beginning, I try to time it from the end. This has now transferred into blogging, evidently, because today is the day after Hump Day, and here I am with a Hmmm.
School. It's a timely topic. My son just started Kinder this week! He is attending private school, a half-day program. There are a few possible topics built in right there. But that isn't what I'm going to discuss. My other child, my baby KayTar, will be, most likely, starting school herself in February.
My baby! In public school!
It sounds distant, doesn't it? February. But in October, we have our first meeting with the district. Next month, she has her very last ECI evaluation. Services will continue, but only until the switch in February.
We never intended to deal with the public school system. We decided to put the children into private school before there were any children in existence. It was a given for us. Financially, it is a stretch, but it is worth it for us. Then came KayTar, and not only will we have to enroll her in public school to allow her to get the assistance she needs, we have to do so when she is 3. On her third birthday, specifically. In six months. And I am wholly unprepared. It was difficult for me to send my capable, social, five year old to school this week, and it is only a half-day program at the same school he attended last year. I can't imagine dropping my three year old KayTar at public elementary.
First, the school district will review her paperwork that is transferred from ECI. Then they will do their own evaluation of KayTar's development. This will stand alone, not affected by reports from ECI or from her current private therapists. It will only be what they observe during the session. Her team leader/developmental therapist said, that with her hearing loss, motor function and speech delays, along with the feeding disorder, she will likely qualify for the classroom setting, half-days, 5 days a week. As she said that, KayTar read a word out of the book they were looking at together. Her therapist looked at me and said, "But don't let her do that in the evaluation. I don't know if they'll buy it if they realize she is reading." I think she was half-joking, but it concerns me for two reasons. First, I can't control when she reads. We were driving down the road two days ago, and passed a Work Boot store, and she pointed and exclaimed, "Work!". The list of things she reads it still growing, and it cannot be controlled. Second, I don't want to ever have to downplay her strengths in order to have her weaknesses addressed. Yes, I am fully aware of her capabilities and incapabilities. I have a realistic view of what she can and cannot do, and I know that she needs services to fulfill her educational needs, whether she is reading or not. I want the school and the teachers who are working with her to accept this as well. I don't want her to be disqualified from receiving assistance for her deficits, because she is ahead in certain areas, and I don't want her strengths to be ignored in favor of her weaknesses. I feel that this will be a difficult balance to achieve, and that is worrisome. It cannot be remedied by private education, at least not in our area, because even the best schools are not equipped to handle children with any sort of substantial differences.
In February, as I've mentioned, we lose her amazing insurance. All other plans that we've looked into do not cover private therapies for children with developmental delays or disabilities past the age of three. No coverage. If she does not qualify for services through the district, she will fall through the cracks. I am so thankful for the Birth to Three initiatives that have provided such excellent services for us and others like us, but age three is not when these issues end. Private therapies cost a pretty penny, and right now, she receives (from both ECI and private therapists):
Developmental therapy once per week, 30-45 minutes
Physical therapy once per week, 30-45 minutes
Occupational therapy, once per week, 1 hour
Speech therapy, twice per week, 1 hour each session
Nutrition evaluations, once per quarter, 45 minutes
There will be no way to continue a load like that without assistance. And none of these therapies are frivolous, they are all necessary for her to continue. So, I hope that when the time comes, the district will decide she qualifies for their programs. Our fate is in their hands, essentially.
For those of you with older children, who have navigated the murky waters of the therapy to district transition, how did you manage it? Is there anything I should know? Wisdom about the IEP process? I have many books to read, but I know that in the end, personal experiences are much more valuable that anything that I can read in a book. If you've got it, lay it on me.