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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Extraordinarily Beautiful

We had preschool meetings #2 and #3 this week. The second meeting was for a team of therapists to work with Christian to get to know him and determine his eligibility for services. They played with him and took notes and Christian was just lovin' all that attention from a team of ladies handling him and holding him.

This particular team actually belongs to the school he won't be attending, which was a little disappointing. Not that he won't be attending Preschool Option #1, but that we've already met this team of therapists and they did his evaluation and they won't be working with him. I liked them all and they all liked Christian so I wish he had been evaluated by the team at Preschool Option #2. I compared the two in more depth here.

Anyway, the second meeting held on Tuesday was to play with him and evaluate him and the third and final meeting was today to discuss the evaluation, the IEP (Individualized Education Plan), and the decision of where Christian would start preschool.

Sitting down with a "team" is a little intimidating because you have multiple faces staring at you at 8 o'clock in the morning waiting for your reaction or opinion. I've also heard horror stories about IEP meetings so I had a thought flash through my mind - These ladies are going to try to tell me about my son and what they "recommend" and think he needs.

This was not the case, though. A majority of the summary of evaluations was basically from my own mouth about what Christian's abilities are. And I imagine they might seem a little intimidated by me being so involved and assertive about my son's education. I don't know, maybe not.

At the end of the meeting we discussed very easy and attainable goals and they asked me which school I thought would be good for him. I told them I thought Option #2 might be best because I couldn't see where Christian would fit in and get the attention he needs in a busy preschool.

I asked the team what they thought. And, of course, I would have liked them to tell me - "Oh no, he'd fit in perfectly here!" But he wouldn't. They, too, agreed he'd do better at Option #2, seeing as how overwhelmed he got visiting Option #1. He needs to have a positive start and a positive environment to thrive and I completely and whole-heartedly agree. Option #2 also has a lot more tools, gadgets, and equipment already there for Christian! He would get a lot more attention, especially since he'll be the youngest there. Peer interaction is important to an extent, but it's really no where near the top of our list for what's important right now.

And for God's sake, Option #2 has handicap accessible, automatic doors that are wide enough for a wheelchair. Nothing says "not belonging" like doorways that don't even fit a stroller through without struggle, let alone a wheelchair, and LET ALONE not even being automatic! It's the little things, ya know?

So Christian is starting school in August. My big ol' baby boy. And this thought makes me a lot of thing. It makes me want to cry, it makes me excited for him, but most of all it makes me thankful.

I am so thankful that I live in a time and in a country that doesn't forget about Christian and write him off to an institution. It wasn't that long ago that an institution would have been his recommended fate. I am so thankful there are laws to not only protect Christian, but to ensure that he, too, has a right to an education. I am thankful he isn't forgotten. I am also ever so grateful that Christian is here, alive and breathing, to make decisions for.

And I'm thankful that on this extraordinarily beautiful June morning in Tucson, we had the privilege of deciding where Christian will attend his first day of school. And that is extraordinarily beautiful.


Deana said...

Beautiful indeed! Happy days ahead!

ferfischer said...

Yes!!!! We'll be doing it together! Cici starts this Fall too!

HesterFamily said...

SO glad all went well and you've found a school you and Christian will like! And it's SO wonderful when your team listens to momma! Preschool is so exciting!! Cadence will be the youngest in his class too - but they are thinking he might be the biggest :-)

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