I told them that in the last 18 months he's gone from daily one-on-one services to none. That I understood we went from a phenomenal EI program supported by Arnold Palmer Hospital (Orlando's big children's hospital) and a school district with multiple elementary schools to a district with only three elementaries and one pre-k special ed program. This program is our only option right now unless I look at school of choice and make my own transportation arrangements. (which is something I may look into depending on the job hunt....if it meant a better program, I'd work 2nd or 3rd shift)
They responded by telling me that with a small class (8 kids) and already two adults, the kids are getting 1:4 help. When the OT is there, she has an intern, making it 1:2. They also sometimes have half the kids at gym, making it 1:1. I felt MUCH better after this.
Then they said they wanted to change his
This made my heart very happy that we could get rid of the PDD label for now, but sad because it was really something Eric needed to hear.
They all agreed that Sam's main problem is (and always has been) his expressive communication, but there is a receptive communication problem. Knew this, but okay.
The teacher said that she feels Sam needs visual cues for listening. Almost like he's still trying to learn to read facial cues. I said it could be that he had to read faces to listen before getting tubes that it's almost like a crutch for him. She said he sometimes doesn't respond when she talks to him if he's facing away from her. We agreed that some of that was probably selective, but that the majority of it was that he just really needs to face you to hear and understand what's being said.
I had every intention of asking for him to be retested since it's been 2.5 years and he's an entirely different kid. But they brought it up first saying they would redo it in the spring if I felt that we needed to.
We talked about kindergarten readiness for next year. And that's where I feel more of my frustrations came out. His program last year was ALL about getting every kid in the class ready for kindergarten, with or without services. They did a lot of academics, he was doing the Letter People, cutting/gluing/coloring/writing, even some math. The teacher admitted their program is basically a preschool for special needs kids. It's the only program in the district and right now Sam is one of the higher functioning kids, whereas last year he was middle ground.
The speech therapist gave me a few more ideas of how to get Sam's face muscles working harder. She also gave me an explanation of why my kid thinks he needs to shovel food in. With the low muscle tone, he's not feeling the stretch in his cheeks until it's bordering on way too much in his mouth. She said to use the electric toothbrush on the insides of his cheeks to get them stimulated.
Eric and I are fine with him going to kindergarten next year (w/ or w/o services) and repeating the following year. He turns 5 in July, so while he'll be ahead of the deadline (Dec. 1 in MI), but that doesn't mean he'd be totally ready. I told the teacher today, I'd be fine with him doing two years in her class then kindergarten in 2011 at age 6.
I signed my papers, happily that I got my frustrations out and that they understood where I was coming from.