Wednesday, February 23, 2011

School Days--Part 1

We have entered that brave and scary world of public education! Fraught with frustration and anxiety, the process for special ed is nothing short of mind bending. There were days when we actually considered putting our house on the market and moving. And that's saying a lot because we LOVE where we live.

We live in a small town and this is their first year to have a special education program. Needless to say, there are still a few quirks to work out on their end. To their credit, things ended up working out for the best for everyone involved.

From the beginning it seemed like Snugglebug was being placed in the same category as most people place him. Afterall, he looks healthy. On the outside, he doesn't seem to have any problems. He's just quiet. Right? The initial evaluation did not go well to say the least. We picked up on attitudes that just didn't seem to understand why we were there in the first place. Questions seemed to be leading, and the reasons for Snugglebug's use of sign language was questioned. We left feeling completely dejected and we prepared to fight for a place in the program.

In the end, they analyzed all his records and came to a much better understanding of who Snugglebug is as a person. We were surprised to see the change in attitude.

They opted to place Snugglebug in a brand new class which had only been started a month earlier. This class is purely experimental and completely outside the box of most other special ed programs. The one goal of this new class....To teach speech to children with severe speech issues. Using the same tools as any other preschool classroom, games, music, story books, puzzles, Play Doh, crayons, etc, they encourage speech from the children. It seemed like a perfect fit for Snugglebug except for one concern. We were adamant that Snugglebug have an interpreter and that he continue his sign vocabulary. To our amazement the teach, a speech pathologist, was also a certified sign interpreter. What are the odds of that? According to someone in the know, slim to none in even the largest of school districts.

Our first ARD was far from what we expected. Everyone was amiable and cooperative. There were no surprises from either side of the table. The teacher was already aware of our desire to continue sign in addition to speech and agreed that it was necessary.

After all the horror stories we have heard, after the horrid evaluation, we were stunned to receive all the services we needed for Snugglebug. It was better than winning the lottery! Talk about your unexpected blessings, this was it. We left with a spot for Snugglebug in their new class and permission to start the very next week.

To Be Continued....

1 comment:

Jennie said...

Cynda, what great news! You are right about the teacher and her ability to sign. What a tender mercy! I'm so glad you and G are having a good experience. Last night I was looking through one of Jackson's books and came across his first day of pre-k. He was all smiles. He loved the whole thing; the bus, the class, the interaction, etc. He was ready. Keep us posted. I can't wait to hear.