Awhile back, (quite awhile, if you base it on how often I've been updating the blog lately...) I talked about our dilemma regarding whether Erin would be ready to start Kindergarten on time. With her summer birthday, she only barely makes the cut off for our district.
Fast forward to now... After exhaustive discussions and evaluations throughout the spring with her pre-school teachers, her TOD, the District Intervention Specialists, etc., we determined she is ready for Kindergarten. Not only is our girl mainstreamed - she is ahead enough of the game to start Kindergarten with children who may be as much as 11 months older than her.
To say we are proud would be an understatement. Saying we are grateful would be descriptive. But to say we're suprised? Notsomuch.
Once the decision was made, we had other factors to consider. The daycare/preschool she has attended throughout her infancy and preschool years has a fantastic full day Kindergarten option with a very low teacher/student ratio. The district has sent services to this school for the past two years. But we knew we'd head into a fight to continue these services out-of-district into her elementary school years. We needed to be prepared to give up services if she were to stay in place.
After a lot of soul searching and a tour of the district building that left us pleasantly surprised, we ultimately decided not to head into that fight. I had many legal arguments prepared. But in the end, we did not want to set up an adversarial relationship with the district. And we were happy with what we saw in-district.
The final results of the IEP:
Personal Bi-Lateral FM System (newly purchased solely for her)
One Hour Per Week pull out with a TOD
One Hour Per Week in class with Intervention Specialist
Quarterly Assessment from the school SLP to monitor her articulation
Lesson plans sent home for pre-teaching
So, here we goooooo!
Today was her Orientation.
It was a great experience. She is going to love her teacher. And her room (it is super organized). We visited the library and she was so excited to realize she would get to visit once a week all on her own (well, with the class... but still...). As we left, we ran into the District Audiologist coming into the building to show Erin's FM equipment to the teacher. She invited us to tag along and we spent an hour as she gave a brief overview to her teacher, the SLP and the Intervention Specialist.
Erin was pretty overwhelmed by all the adult attention and the concept of having the teacher's voice piped directly into her processor was disconcerting to her. I'll jump on in another day or two and give details of the impromptu Personal FM System session because I would hate for the details to be lost in this very long post. There are many things I would have done differently that I'd like to share. In the end, a pack of stickers and free reign to decorate her equipment at-will calmed her apprehension. I'm hopeful that will carry into the school year.
So, Thursday is her first bus ride and first regular day of K. We don't plan to make a big production about her "situation" to the driver. Instead we'll hand him/her a note explaining that she is deaf and cannot hear when her equipment is not functioning. Or is snatched from her head. (Eek! Busses! Who plans for that chaos???)
Signing off for now... and feeling thankful for piles of curly hair that hides electronic equipment from the view of 3rd graders.