Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Build-Up

I have not been blogging as much the last few months. Life is busy, as it is for everyone. In addition to our regular 'busy', my downtime has been a bit consumed in praying, researching, planning, preparing, reading...all things associated with Ruby and what her schooling and therapy should look like right now. Specifically, when it comes to public services.

So we've been weighing the pros and cons of her speech therapy, of her extracurricular (gymnastics, soccer, etc.), of her private 'typical' preschool class, of her other speech therapist (who has also been acting as a facilitator on occasion in her typical class), so on and so on. When we started the process of Ruby's public school experience, she was not found to qualify for anything more than one hour of group speech therapy each week. We didn't agree with that (as we knew the reasons why Ruby scored so high were not a realistic picture of what her school experience would be), but recognized that the team that would ultimately work with Ruby, the team that was making these decisions, had never met Ruby - they had only seen the evaluation results from another team. So we agreed to give them some time (six weeks) once Ruby started services (speech) in the fall to collect the data they needed and then we would call for another IEP.
This process has taken a long time. That's a painfully long time for those of us that are impatient, especially when it feels like we've been waiting since May. In reality, we called for the IEP redetermination at the beginning of October, over two months ago. We met a few weeks later to discuss the path to get there, had a few new evaluations of Ruby (psychological and OT, and a new speech, based on her current level), had 2 or 3 observations taken of her in her private Preschool class, filled out more paperwork and online questionnaires about Ruby's levels, abilities, etc., had her teachers fill out more paperwork. All of that will culminate in a meeting for IEP qualification and redetermination this week.

It feels like we've been studying for finals all semester, but without a real clear picture of what subjects will be covered. Even though we received some of the reports from the evaluations, the interpretation of them from the team may differ significantly from ours. It did last May; Lehr and I did not expect to be denied services at that time, even based on her star-student evaluation. I don't feel this is an act of deception by the team, it's just the reality that Lehr and I are inexperienced in these types of meetings, so we don't know what to expect. Friends that have gone before us have mixed results, causing some cause for cynicism, but we are hopeful.
At this time, we are praying for a clear answer of what will best benefit Ruby. We think that is her private Pre-K with a facilitator 3 hours/week, in addition to speech once/week and OT once/week. Whether or not she attends special needs Pre-K also is something we go back and forth on; we are open to hearing the team's thoughts on how that works into our plan for Ruby's full inclusion for Kindergarten in a few years.

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