It’s still weird to think of my daughter has having special needs. Just two months ago, she was just “sprited” or “quirky”. Now, she’s “special needs”. At least is in the eyes of the school system. I mean, it has so many negative connotations, doesn’t it? But regardless of how I feel about it, I have to explore all options.
From other mothers of special needs children (my own sister included), I keep hearing these horror stories about how badly they got the run around when they need special services or even just an IEP from the public school system. Everyone almost universally feels that public school therapy is not enough, and we probably would do best by getting services privately. But knowing that my husband’s insurance only paid $162 of the first $1400, I’m not very hopeful that we will get help from the insurance company. And while we could probably swing it for a while, with gas at $4.07 a gallon around here, I’m sweating the cost a bit.
In my state, we have to go through the local special education cooperative for services/IEPs, even at the preschool level. Even though we aren’t in the public school system just yet (as my daughter won’t be in kindergarten until 2009), we still can go through this now.
I called them last Thursday to ask them if they were still open to find out if I’ll be able to drop off the report. I know this late in the year, they can’t do any testing for her now, but I want to get a jump start so they can resume evaluations in August (they may not need to, they may just need to read the report and provide an IEP – but who knows, my sister who already dealt with the head honcho over there was told that that person didn’t think too highly of the neuropsychologist I took my daughter to see). Since I know what we are dealing with, I want no reasons for them to tell me we didn’t jump through the right hoops. And since we’ve got plenty of time, I’m just being proactive.
Today I dropped off a copy of the neuropsychologist’s report on my preschooler to the local special education cooperative. I’ve turned over a copy of the report and a letter requesting additional evaluation and copies of the original preschool screening we had last September (she was unable to test during it – we didn’t know at the time she had selective mutism). I also had them sign a receipt saying I dropped it off along with another copy of a letter requesting additional evaluations, as well as our original intake paperwork and report. I asked the woman to sign it, so that no one could come back and say I didn’t drop it off, or they lost it or whatever. I have no reason to distrust them (yet), but it’s better to be prepared.
I am keeping careful records and documenting every conversation I have with every individual regarding my daughter. I may never need it, but my experience as a forensic scientist has shown me how important these records can be, particularly if it ever came to proving someone dropped the ball. It’s not going to be me.
In the fall, I will hope to get an IEP, or they may actually tell me dd is eligible for the special education preschool. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I mean, academically, she needs to be challenged. If she’s not, I worry what will happen.
The good news is that they may actually put a special needs preschool in each elementary school. Given the fact that the elementary school is only 6 blocks from our house, and my oldest will be in first grade there, I know that it may be a good thing to have both of them at the same school.
In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of reading to do regarding IEPs because we will get one in the fall regardless of where she goes for her last year of preschool.