Oct 21, 2015

The One with the Preschool Evaluation: Part II

We made it. Addison's 23-day preschool evaluation period has finally come to an end. I'm not going to lie, I have no sadness closing the door on it. Overall, it went well. She seemed to have enjoyed herself. But what started out as excitement at going, ended with her telling me every day that she was done when I told her she had school that day.

The point of this evaluation period was to see if she qualified for the school district's preschool program designed to help kids with delays get caught up before kindergarten. We were handed off to the school district for her continued care due to her time with Infant Toddler Services coming to an end with her turning three.

We knew going into this that she was going to qualify for at least speech services since she had a
speech delay. It was something that we knew and were good with getting help for. But as time progressed into this evaluation period I doubted if I wanted her in the "full time" preschool classroom. I knew that just speech services would be less time a week and she would get one-on-one help. I was guilty of guessing if she would qualify for any other services over the month and eventually landed that I doubted that she would qualify for the classroom.

However, when she went in for the meeting, we were surprised to find that she did. Speech was the biggest one but she also qualified due to social and gross motor. Although both were a surprise, none more so than gross motor. Even ITS had reassured me that she wouldn't qualify for a physical therapist because there are so few and she was mobile and actually caught up with other kids her same age.

It was definitely hard at times while we were in the meeting to listen to them talk about what was wrong and why she qualified, but we took it all in. They told us why she qualified and what the plan would be if we signed off on it. We were also told that she was a joy to have. She was smart and knew more than they expected her to. But due to those three areas, it was recommended that she stay in the preschool classroom.

Now it was our turn to decide how we wanted to handle it. It was all in our hands if we wanted to go with the plan that was given to us or adjust it or decline everything. We spent a good long time talking about it.

Rob and I quickly agreed that no matter what we did we wouldn't be declining everything because we wanted her to at least get some speech therapy. However the other areas were causing some questions. The social was related to her lack of communication and in my opinion would be resolved once we were able to get her talking. We knew she loved other kids, she shared well, and always willing to play with others. But where they saw her lacking was in her communication with other kids which went back to speech therapy. As for gross motor, she qualified only because they wanted to make sure she didn't fall behind. She was actually exactly where she was supposed to but they wanted to continue to work with her to keep her age-appropriate. It was all things that we could work on and encourage at home.

Although I tried not to think selfishly, it was hard to deny that I wasn't ready for her to be in "full-time" school. She still had three years (counting this year) before kindergarten. If she didn't have any delays and this wasn't an option, we would never even consider putting her in a program like this so it was hard to think about doing it now. And of course I couldn't deny that I wanted more time with just the two of us before the baby came and she lost her only child status.

But at the same time it was hard to pass up on a free preschool program that would benefit our daughter even if we didn't completely agree with all the things the school had to say at the end of the evaluation. We did learn that if we decline services now or just went with speech services that we weren't completely closing the door. We could contact the school and have her re-evaluated at any point, so it was a possibility that was still open to us in the future if we had concerns.

So we made our decision. We would just be moving forward with speech services. Although she would be with a speech therapist at the local school a couple days a week for a short amount of time, I would have her back home with me pretty much full-time. And although it was a difficult decision to make, we felt comfortable and confident in our decision.

It was something that we went back and forth on a few times before we made our final decision. It's truly hard sometimes when you have two paths in front of you which would benefit your child and you have to pick on. How do you know which one really is the best choice? Ultimately we had to decide what we thought was best, take everyone else out the equation, and move forward with it. We decided that focusing on her major delay had to be our biggest concern and that her being home with me right now was still the best thing for her.

xo, B

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