Wednesday we had out transitional meeting for Mason. Before we get to the nitty gritty, a cute story: There were some dollhouse dolls laying on the table, one with white hair and a mustache. Mason kept on picking it up and saying, "Papa Jim, Papa Jim." If someone else would pick it up, he'd say, "I want Papa Jim." Very cute. He loves his people.
When Mason turns three (July), he will age out of Early Intervention and switch to the Special Education track. The focus will switch from his functioning within our family, to his functioning in an educational setting. Bottom line - they want him to go to preschool. He would receive Occupational and Speech Therapy in that setting if he qualifies. He will have evaluations done to see if he does qualify. Apparently Physical Therapy is considered a medical need, and not an educational need, so he will no longer receive PT through their program. We are seeing our private guy now, so that didn't matter except that I LOVE the woman who comes to our home. Not because the services are fabulous, but because she has been very supportive and she clearly loves my son and wants what is best for him. I am sad that we will lose her in June.
It doesn't make much sense to me that PT is not seen as an educational need since most of Mason's barriers to his education will be in terms of mobility (we think).
I have said all along that we would not put Mason in a preschool at this point. He will not have been home a year, and it would be one more setting, several more caretakers, etc. I'm not balking because of the quality of the placement they are suggesting, I'm balking at sending him anywhere other than home. Now I'm second guessing myself. Maybe he should go to a preschool in order to get ready for school. It wouldn't be that long that he'd be away, and they could really focus on how he works in that type of educational environment, and then we'd be more prepared for the next year and Mason possibly going to the K-4 program in the public school. We were hoping to hold him back and start him in this program at age 5, but apparently in our school system, this is not an option. They would instead adapt his Kindergarten program. It's not the same for me, and I was quite disappointed.
If we choose to keep him at home, we do have options of private services, we would just have to pay whatever our insurance doesn't cover. We are applying for an insurance for him that would cover that gap, but we've heard horror stories about qualifying, especially since he isn't a U.S. citizen yet. Our agency told us that the problem with private providers is that they may not communicate with the public school when the time comes to develop an IEP. However, I'm pretty sure we can invite whoever we want to those meetings. If we end up choosing to go with private providers, we will ask if they are willing to do this with us.
For now, we have agreed to let this agency do the evaluations to determine what they feel he needs. We have agreed to tour the facility they are recommending. We've also heard good things about this place from several friends. I've told Dan that it is his job to think rationally and make sure that whatever decision we make, we are making it for Mason, and not for Mommy who would like all of her babies to stay home forever :)
The meeting actually went ok. The folks were very nice, and explained everything to us, answered all of our questions since this is really our first go around. I think we have until June 9th to develop the IEP if we choose to, so we have a little time to think. I'm going to try to talk to the local school's Special Education director. Any thoughts, feedback, suggestions are more than welcome.
I promise some nice spring pictures soon!