Hello 2015! Wow…the last 10 months have flown by! Thanks Wyatt! Since making the decision to stay home, I foolishly thought I would have more time for blogging and photography. But let’s be real, if my teeth are brushed and I’ve showered before I go to bed, that’s a great day. Extra stuff outside of therapies and taking care of my kids? Bah!
That’s actually one of my resolutions this year- to take better care of myself and to take more pictures of my own kids. In this blog you will find non-iPhone pictures! Hello 2015!
So a lot has been going on with our little family but the big thing on my mind tonight is Eli’s school. In 4 short months, Eli will age out of EI. Leaving us with a big decision to make.
It’s brought up so many emotions for me. My baby isn’t a baby anymore.
In December, I attended a meeting through the local school district to gather more information about the program. I initially only went so I would know what I was saying “no” to. We had already decided that homeschool was the best option until Eli is 5, then we planned to mainstream him. (Since we are too “rich” for Medicaid and too poor for more than what our private insurance is offering (a pathetic 20 visits a year of all therapies)).
But because I like to research and explore all my options, I hired an advocate to attend the meeting and off we went! I was ready to fight and felt armed.
And perhaps “fight” is the wrong word…at least for now. The meeting went well. Our advocate is amazing and very experienced. I like her a lot.
One of Eli’s therapists also came to support me and offer as a witness to my description of Eli.
It felt good to have someone else who knew Eli speak of him so highly and support my description of his abilities to the school district.
The people in attendance were mostly supportive and primarily there to gather information and answer my questions. Upon learning of how well Eli was doing and how large his sign language vocabulary is, they were eager to meet him and facilitate his learning.
There was talk of a possible ASL certified aid to work specifically with Eli- which I’m told is a huge offer.
When we finished, I felt a little better about how the program works but I was forced to look at enrolling Eli as a real viable option.
Our advocate pointed out that we could definitely homeschool Eli, drive him up to the school for his therapies and look at putting him in when he is 5. BUT, if we want the best chance at full inclusion and good socialization, she suggested that we dive right in. 5 days a week, 3 hours a day beginning *the day* after his 3rd birthday. AND ride the bus.
This is the part where I admit that I cried a little at the meeting. And I may have cried even more in the car on my way home.
I feel frustrated because I feel forced into a decision I really don’t want to make. We had already decided that homeschool was the best choice. And before you say anything, I know socialization is important and I know he can benefit from the PPCD environment- there is good there and I know that. It’s the fact that it’s conditional….IF we want Eli to be considered for full inclusion for kinder, we have to build a relationship with the school and teachers and therapists.
It just doesn’t feel right. But I’m jaded from working in the public education system. I don’t trust the aids as far as I can throw them, I don’t trust the system, I don’t trust that these people have any vested interest in Eli’s success.
But try as I may, literally every person I spoke to about this transition had all good things to say. Literally.
Which makes me feel crazy. Do I want someone to tell me it’s going to be awful and that I’m going to have to fight people? That what I saw and experienced is truly how it is?
Maybe I’m trying to hold on to my baby a while longer. Maybe I don’t want to let go and trust someone else.
But never the less, from special ed teachers and therapists in the district, to educators and other families who have been through PPCD (even attended the program Eli is set to attend)– all good things.
rest of the world that needs the help.
I am hoping we will be one of those good stories.
Do I think we will have battles? Absolutely.
But we have our advocate, out EI friends, great therapists by our side and confidence in a good plan for our Eli.
A different plan but a plan.
I’m trying hard to see God’s will for this situation and give Eli the best of what we can provide.
I’m looking at the Medicaid buy-in program for Texas. I’m looking at trying to get at least 1-2 private speech sessions a month. I’m looking at iPad grants with PECS technology. And I’m trying hard to put more faith in the system (and in Eli). In the meantime, we are soaking up our final days with ECI and trying to implement an afternoon homeschool curriculum.
Of course you know I will keep you updated 🙂 it’s been a crazy journey already but I’m feeling a bit stronger today and more confident in our plan. I often wonder if things would be any different or any easier for Eli if we could get him all the best that money could buy. And then I’m reminded that Eli is Eli no matter what and it’s the