Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Lindy’s School Came About

For as long as we can remember, our old hearing therapist, Chris, told us how great the hearing impaired preschool classroom was in F. County.  At the time we were living in S. County, which is very close to F. County.  S. County is a great place to live, but doesn’t have a lot of other kids like Lindy.  Their hearing therapists there were not necessarily trained in the auditory-verbal method of communication we chose for Lindy. 

Therefore we decided we should move to F. County to give Lindy the chance to go to the hearing impaired preschool classroom.  Thankfully Drew’s job worked with us and got us into F. County. 

Because we lived in S. County, we had to do all of the kids’ IEP testing there, even though we already knew we were moving.  When Lindy’s testing came back, we immediately thought some of it was very low.  It was not the child Drew and I (or her therapists) knew.  We made it noted in her evaluation that there were parts we did not agree with.  When we wrote her IEP, S. County said they would provide her with speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision therapy, and hearing therapy.  Speech was at 3 times a week, occupational about every other week, physical therapy almost weekly, vision twice a month, and hearing once a week.  Most of these therapies are only 30 minutes long.  We were mildly surprised at how much physical therapy she was going to get but we thought, it can’t hurt, so we accepted it. 

We got moved this summer and we waited and waited for F. County to call us about enrolling the kids in school.  Not exactly sure what happened, but we ended up having to take copies of the kids’ IEP’s to F. County at the end of July.  We finally heard from F. County about a week before school started.

All F. County had to go on was the testing evaluation (which we felt was low) and the IEP we’d written.  I don’t fault F. County at all because to them, Lindy looked like a fairly ‘low’ child who needed a lot of services.  Based on what they had, they recommended a school we’ll call SCS.  They did not recommend the hearing impaired preschool classroom that we had our hearts set on. 

When the preschool intake officer called to tell me which school they recommended, I immediately asked for a meeting in which we could bring Lindy to meet them.  She said yes and we set up a meeting.  She told me that we really needed to go tour the SCS so we could have concrete reasons as to why we didn’t want Lindy to go there.

The SCS is a school for developmentally disabled kids.  The school does have some typically developing students though.  We went for a tour of the school and we came out feeling okay.  But it was when the students were not there so we didn’t feel like we got the whole picture.  Therefore we went back once school started and we observed the actual class that Lindy would have been in.  There were three typically developing students in there which we liked.  There were 6 other kids with various developmental issues going on.  We left thinking that if Lindy did go there then it would be okay.  My major, and I mean MAJOR, beef with the program was that it was all day, every day.  She’d have been in school from 8:45-3:25pm.  There was NO way I was allowing that. I’d have fought tooth and nail to pick her up at lunch time to let her sleep in her own bed at home and spend the afternoon with Will and me. 

It finally dawned on us that although everyone said Lindy should be in the hearing impaired classroom, we hadn’t seen that class either.  So we went to observe it.  And we immediately fell in love with it.  We liked everything we saw.  The really small class size (right now they have 6 kids total), the teachers, and the intense language instruction was exactly what we wanted for Lindy.  She’d get daily hearing therapy, instead of 30 minutes a week.  We were able to talk with the lead teacher when the kids went outside and we asked her if Lindy’s therapies would interfere with her time in the classroom.   Based on what we told her, she thought it would be okay.  Another major perk, this class was from 8-11:30am each day.  I’d get to have her home in the afternoons with me, just like I wanted!

We finally had the big meeting.  F. County brought 7 people with them.  Speech therapists, hearing therapists, audiologists, etc.  We brought Lindy, her hearing therapist Chris, and our parent advocate, Terri. 

That morning Lindy left the house with a cute little pink purse and decided she couldn’t leave it in the car.  She looked pretty cute walking in with her purse on her shoulder and I think this immediately helped win the hearts of everyone there!  Hey, whatever works!

We got in the meeting and they briefly caught everyone up to speed and then they gave us the floor.  Drew talked for about 15 minutes  on how we had visited both schools and how we really felt like the hearing impaired preschool classroom was the place for Lindy.  He seriously had his pros and cons list and rebuttals to anything they had to offer as to why they placed her at the SCS.  Besides Drew’s most excellent presentation, they saw how high functioning Lindy is.  They saw her walk all around the room, vision never being an issue.  They saw her concentrating on the magna tiles I had brought with us.  They heard her talking.  They came to their own conclusions that Lindy is a lot different in person than she is on paper.  Which is exactly why we brought her.  On paper she is a child that appears to have a lot of issues and need a lot of services.  In person, she is awesome!

And then they agreed with us that Lindy did deserve the chance to try the hearing impaired preschool classroom!  We were so excited. We were prepared for a ‘no’ or maybe some further testing.  But they just simply agreed with us.  It felt great.  There were definitely measures we could have taken if they had said ‘no’ but we didn’t want to have to go there.  It felt so great! 

The meeting was on Tuesday, August 30th and they said she could start the next day.  And she did.  She started school on September 1st! 

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