Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's DONE!!!!!!!!

Ballerina's Kindergarten Placement Meeting was earlier this afternoon.  If you are a regular reader here, you KNOW how much this has been weighing on my mind these last few months.  If you are new, I'll just say that it's been weighing on my mind since February.  Well, before that really, but since that's when we learned the recommendation, we'll call that the start of the worries.

GENERAL EDUCATION CLASSROOM.  That's what we decided is right for her.  She will receive "Resources", but now I know what they are.  She will be receiving 15 hours a week of these resources (outside of the single teacher working with 17 other students simultaneously).  These resources will come from a combination of speech, OT, and time with both the resource teacher and "home school model" teacher.  Additionally, the small group setting which address her specific goals with the general education teacher will round out the hours.  But I have been assured that ZERO of those 15 hours will come in the form of the General Education teacher working with the entire class.

We made the decision to do her annual review at this meeting since she will be due in early October.  This way, the teachers who know her can dictate the goals for the next year rather than someone who is just getting to know her as it can take her a month or two to acclimate to her new setting.  The teachers, OT Therapist, SLP all described a child that I barely know, but have seen on the occasions that I visit her in school.  They pointed out that, despite not even being in kindergarten this year, has already reached many of the academic milestones that are expected for children completing their kindergarten year.  She can read, knows her 2nd grade sight words (as well as kindergarten and 1st grade), write her letters, spell, count (by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s) to 100, understands mathematical concepts (greater than/less than, more/less, first/last, etc) -- she's VERY bright and is highly motivated to learn.  We adjusted her goals to work on the comprehension side of reading rather than picking up on the basics.  We made her behavior goals more about paying attention and waiting until all the instructions are given before beginning a task.

She is going to have a hard time on August 27.  This is going to be a new experience for her.  But, for the first time in over 3 years, I know she can handle it.  She can learn what is expected of her and reach all the goals that are set before her.  She will likely reach them quickly and force her teachers to amend her goals, just as they have done in preschool.

When you consider where this journey began 3 years ago, it's hard to believe.  The first time many of her first classmates saw her was when we went to a local firehouse on a field trip, and I stood there holding the arm of a screaming child and she so desperately wanted to just run away from all of the people she was being forced to interact with.  I stood there just anxiously anticipating the end to the field trip so I could throw her into her car seat, strap her (and Music Man -- his behavior wasn't much better) in the car, and drive home so I could find a corner and cry.

My initial goal has been reached.  She was initially diagnosed with "Severe Autism".  I don't think that's her any more.  I see her as a starving student, anxious to learn as much as she possibly can about this world.  We have to do it in a more targeted way, but I now KNOW she will thrive.

My baby girl is growing up!

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