Sep 9, 2015

The One with the Preschool Evaluation: Part I

The dreaded day has come (and gone)...kind of. Most everyone knows that Addison has been with Infant Toddler Services for some time now due to her developmental delays. They have been amazing for her. She has really come so far and is definitely not the same kind she was when she started with them.

Last spring they started talking to me about the preschool offered through the school district for kids like her. I was told it was the best preschool for kids with delays to get them where they need to be by the time they enter kindergarten. I was told that it would be great for her because she will have three years of preschool since she can start preschool at three but can't start kindergarten until she's six. So last April I finally got the first call in regards to the preschool program. Because she is an October birthday we had to have our transition meeting in the spring to get everything started when school starts back up again the fall. Although I was told she would not be starting any programs until October after she turned three when Infant Toddler Services officially passed off their care of her. Basically I was given paperwork and I gave a little information on her. The whole meeting last about fifteen minutes then I didn't have to think about it again until I sent the paperwork back in until the beginning of August.

From what I was told from ITS and the transition meeting I had a vague idea of how the preschool worked. There were a few different options where she could be in a classroom environment or she could get individual therapy. I was told that there was no set number of days or hours a day but it would be based on her needs.

So I had some questions when I finally did get the call for our first meeting at the end of the August. What I thought would be a meeting to just go over information and set up a couple hours of evaluation with all the different services ended up being me signing paperwork to have her start school four days a week three hours a day for the next six weeks. All the teachers and therapist I met were nice and asked a lot of questions regarding Addison, some of which took me off guard. Problems that they had listened from ITS were things that hadn't been issues for months with Addison. I was suddenly concerned that this wasn't the right program for Addison after all. We spent over an hour discussing all the things that were wrong when there were dozens of ways she has changed and progressed.

But yet I went in for the meeting and four days later she was starting her first day of preschool.

I definitely had doubts the moment I walked out of the meeting. I couldn't help but feel that this wasn't the right thing. It was so quick and so much. I still had so many questions. And she wasn't that far behind anymore. She just had a speech delay. But we knew that if we wanted to get her help through the district with her speech then she would still have to be evaluation, so then I just wanted to get it over with.

So to say I was nervous about her first day would be an understatement. She was used to just being with me all day. How was she going to do in a sudden classroom environment? Would she be upset? Would she understand? How would she handle the change? I was definitely not ready for his big leap. I was okay with the idea of her going to preschool but this was too much too soon. She was only two years old after all. 

But the first day came and we dropped her off. Although she was confused, she went with her teacher and didn't get upset. I won't lie, I cried when I got home. Pregnancy hormones weren't helping in the slightest in the emotions I was feeling about sending my girl to school.

I filled my time and was more than ready to pick her up three hours later. They brought her out to the car and she was immediately excited. She pointed and said "mama!" Her teacher told me that she had no tears all day and she did amazing. She got in the car and as she headed home she talked about Cat in the Hat (the classroom's theme was Cat in the Hat). She even showed me the folder with Cat in the Hat on it in her backpack. When we got home I read the note her teacher left telling me that she did amazing. She did some painting and followed directions really well. She said that it was like Addie had been there from the beginning.

We were definitely relieved to find that she was having a good time. We have our doubts that she will stay in the classroom after the evaluation is over because we aren't sure this is the right thing for her and also because she may not even qualify for the classroom. At least we were glad to know the time she did spend in the classroom wouldn't be miserable. I definitely have some problems with the way things were communication whether it was me not understanding or it not being communicated well. I was not prepared for the evaluation period to last six weeks fours days a week three hours a day.

We are halfway through the evaluation period now and I am definitely missing my kid each morning. But I'm happy she's having a good time. She has truly come so far in such a short amount of time and I am so proud of her.

xo, B

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