Early last year I called an IEP meeting to discuss the preschool's shameful inability to communicate with my child. That was... unsatisfying but they asked at the time if I'd thought about kindergarten yet. The Girl's birthday is exactly four days before the kindy cut off so, although they stressed seventy kajillion times it was a "team" decision, at least they wanted our input. This sparked 8 months of ifs, ands, & buts. If you are one of the lucky three people I didn't force to listen to my tail chasing, these are the pros/cons:
- The preschool was underwhelming - we could get better teachers in kindy.
- They could be worse.
- She's in day care in the afternoon anyway, might as well spend that time in an educational setting.
- Kids learn best thru play - we should let her Play! Explore! Un-school!
- She already knows all her colors & letters - we should build on that! Neural connections! Learning is fun!
- She'd be awfully young for kindy anyway, add in a developmental delay and it's akin to putting a three year old in kindergarten. NO child would succeed in that situation. We're setting her up to fail & she'll never ever ever end up "mainstreamed". (*dramatic hand waving*)
- I read this book a while back and it argued for delaying kindy as kids learn best when they're emotionally mature enough to learn.
- That book was about typical boys. It might also be total BS. Zero relevance.
- With all the money we'd save on day care we could
retire buy groceriesafford more private therapy.
- Two words: potty training.
- One (& a half?) more: non-verbal
- Mah baaayyybeeee!
Fast forward to this spring. We have to have an official "transitional" IEP with the kindy folks. Because I'm always polite (*HA!*), I did not kick them out of the room as superfluous even though Matt & I had already decided against. I brought cookies so they might as well eat.
The SLP didn't show up. Awesome. Because we're clearly not at all concerned about her speech. Gah. The pre-school teacher said almost nothing. We later heard she quit the next day. The principal, who I'd liked during our call but hadn't attended any other IEPs, revealed himself to be a massive doufus. He wondered aloud if The Girl's speech might be affected by a structural/palate issue. He pointed to how messy she ate as evidence. (Dude. We've run thru 2 school SLPs, two private, had an additional outside eval, AND the surgical nurse at Children's knows us. You think we missed something? Also? Thanks, yes, my child is a sloppy eater. Ass). He also wondered if she had anything to say.
Read that again. He wondered if my child had enough cognitive function to, say, ask for "milk".
Meanwhile the elementary school's SpEd teacher, SLP, & company were asking awesome insightful questions, drilling down when she could do what in which setting. Asking if we'd tried this or that. They reminded the principal I had already said she was signing in full sentences and clearly had much to say. They talked about iPads and multi-modalities and the pros and cons of various approaches.
They said, "We can develop an intensive speech program for her".
They described it like 8 hours of speech therapy/day.
They talked about peer modeling and the benefits of inclusion.
They said, without asking, she'd have a 1:1 para and they'd teach the para all the signs she already knows.
They said, "We want her."
Kids, my girl is going to kindergarten.
I'm at Gigi's this week (Hence the post. Shocking! I know). I remember playing with this glass bird when I was a kid. Miracle it wasn't broken. No feathers, but here's to strength & fragility & hope.