Yesterday we went for orientation at the elementary school where Reagan is eligible to begin Preschool on her 3rd birthday, which is in February. I use the word eligible because although we want her to start school for the social interaction and learning environment, we were not sure if this was going to be the right place for her because she has never been in a setting with several kids, other than the occasional play date.
The way it works when you have a special needs child is that they can receive Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services (if they qualify, which means they need to be developmentally delayed) until the age of 3. Through ECI they receive therapy services (speech, physical and occupational) where the providers come to your location (house or daycare) to provide therapy because it is an environment comfortable for the child. Not all parents choose ECI services because some prefer to utilize private therapy companies. However, ECI has been a lifesaver for us since taking Reagan to private therapy meant bringing along a newborn baby and now that Lauren is older, I don't have to worry about interrupting her naps.
On the child's third birthday, ECI services end and they are eligible for Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities (PPCD). The elementary school has a class designated for special needs children. It is through this program that she will receive her therapy services. The process to get your child in the PPCD program typically starts around 90 days from their 3rd birthday because besides the orientation, it involves an evaluation by the school district to determine your child's needs and the you have one or more ARD (Admissions, Review and Dismissal) meetings to develop the IEP (Individual Education Plan). An IEP is just what it implies, a plan with goals and objectives for your child over the next year.
Now, back to Reagan. She loved the class; I mean really loved it. We watched her with bewildered faces because we haven't seen her that happy and excited in such a long time. She walked really fast, squealing with excitement. She went up to the children and teachers and smiled, her way of saying "hi". She even might already have a boyfriend as one little boy kept following her around everywhere. I am so relieve that this seems like an environment where she will thrive.
I am really excited for the positive beginning and I hope the rest of the process goes just as smoothly.
Abby's first visit to Boston for the IGF-1 Trial
4 years ago