Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We have a Plan!

I am so excited! We had a GREAT meeting today. I feel so lucky to have had such a good team. Everyone was so thorough in making Harlie's goals and plan for her education.

She was found eligible for preschool special education through the county (along with continued speech therapy and some physical therapy). Woohoo!

In order to get her the services she needs, a "label" is required. I know this is a sore subject in the special needs community - a lot of parents don't like labels. But I understand the need for them. And it's not like the label can't be changed if the child's needs change. And to me, if the label gets my child what she needs to have the best chance at success, then label away I say!

So, her label is Other Health Impairment. They didn't want to put her under Developmental Delay because they just didn't think that label fit her properly. They said that she's only delayed because of her medical issues (she's spent a lot of time in the hospital - cumulatively about 6 months total) and the chain reactions they have caused. Also, you age out of Developmental Delay at 6 years old. Whereas Other Health Impairment can stay with her as long as she needs services. Makes sense to me.

I just want to highlight something from the meeting. Her speech therapist had to write down Harlie's strengths. She asked, "how can I say stubborn as a strength?" And this is what she came up with:

Harlie is an enthusiastic, social, strong-willed child.

Love it!

Anyway, to get to the exciting part...

They recommended a special education preschool class at an elementary school about 15 minutes from our house. They also recommended that she attend every day, Monday through Friday, from 11am to 2pm. They will provide transportation. So a bus will come to our house to pick her and Brandy up (or Jennifer depending on who is working, or myself for that matter) and they will drop them off back at our house after school.

The class is a small class (but I can't remember right now how many kids are in it) and there is one other little girl who is also hearing impaired. They said that she has started to learn sign as well. I think if I see the two of them signing to each other I will totally melt! There is the teacher and a signing adult in the class.

She will also continue to receive speech therapy twice per week, during school hours. And she will get some physical therapy as well.

And all this structure and education will begin on TUESDAY!!!! Can you believe it??? TUESDAY!!!!

It will take a few weeks to get the transportation set up, so until that happens, I will have to take them and pick them up every day.

Now a quick story about the teacher. My friend Donna's daughter (Alex) just turned 8 in November. She has Angelman Syndrome and receives special education (her blog is on my list to the left). And her teacher when she was in preschool is the same one that will teach Harlie! We both went to Alex's birthday party a few months ago and I got to meet her and loved her! It is obvious that she really cares about the kids that she teaches. I feel so lucky that it worked out the way it did! When they told me that she would be in Katie's class I was thrilled!

The team put a review date to this IEP (Individualized Education Plan) of June 17, 2010, which is the last day of school. They want to review her case again at that time to decide if she needs to attend the extended year program, which will mean she would continue to go to preschool in the summer.

I really can't say enough good things about Harlie's team and the meeting today. I really felt like it was such an energetic group who were all excited about putting Harlie in a position to learn and grow. The meeting took over two hours. And all the excitement of the day has left me feeling completely drained. I'm amazed at the amount of energy it takes to be Harlie's mom! Honestly, I am pooped!!!

Now the challenge (yes, the challenge as if there's only one!) is going to be figuring out how I'm going to manage my day and her additional private therapies (speech and feeding) in coordination with her school schedule. Especially with me having to take them and pick them up every day for the next couple of weeks.

Well, before I go I just have to share a funny Murphy story. Some of you might remember this post from a few months back when I talked about Murphy and T, a girl.

Well, I saw T's mom at the gym this morning and she asked me if it would be okay if Murphy came down to play after school. Today was T's birthday and she was having some friends over. I said Murphy would love to. So, I pick him up from school and before he even says hello to me he exclaims, "I'm going to T's house to play!" I asked him how he knew and he said that T's mom came to have lunch with them today and she told him then. How cute. So, we went to get in the car and as he was getting in he said, "No time for gum, Mommy, I'm too excited!" Um, okay. Didn't ask him if he wanted any gum, but alright.

So we go home for a quick snack before heading down the street to T's house and he says, "Mommy I didn't chase any girls on the playground today. My chasing girls days are over."

Wow. He's only FIVE!!!!

More later! Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

LOVE IT! all of it! So excited for all of you as you move forward in this next exciting and challenging phase. (I think I'm most impressed that you go to the gym...!) Seriously, you're really an inspiration in so many ways-congratulations on the new plan!

Anonymous said...

WHOOT WHOOT!!! Great news and to see her get on a school bus will be awesome. Hugs to you all!

Sara Cohen said...

This post is so great! I have been following your blog for a long time now. Your mom asked me to make you and Harlie some burp cloths a while back and I did, along with a few extras and have been following your blog since! I am a NICU nurse here in philadelphia so I am fascinated with the medical parts of your story but I am also a mom of two boys, both with their own mild issues, so I love the mom stuff too! The Murphy story about T is adorable and is excitement made me smile ear to ear! I give you so much credit for everything you do and how "normal" your life is despite all of the challeneges! You and your family are an inspiration! Sara

Grandma said...

Way to go Harlie!! I knew you would win the panel over...Christy, you are amazing..to be such an advocate for Harlie and know what to do, when to do it and how to do it..God Bless You...Congrats on all the goings on! And well...you know Murphy is a charmer..I guess I am glad that he is settled down and only chasing one female..we wouldn't want him to get the reputation as a "womanizer". Love to all.

Pam said...

Great News! OHI is a great blanket label. I have students in 3rd that fall under it and they get a lot of great services. Riding the bus will be so fun. We have a neighbor that went to the same type of preschool and he loves it! We see the bus come to get him every morning. She will have a blast. Great you got a good teacher too.

Kim said...

My goodness, I'm going to miss Harlie here at Three Oaks (EVERYONE will!!!!), but I'm so happy to hear she's got a plan that is tailored just for her needs. And it's fantastic you already know the teacher. I'm so happy for all of you. Yay for good news!! :)

B-Mama said...

Fantastic report!! This is going to be so awesome for Harlie... I'm so excited for her June meeting when you all see the FRUIT of these great decisions! What a blessing that will be!! Good job, Mom!

Susan said...

That's awesome Christy! I'm so glad she got into a great program and with a teacher you already know and like! It doesn't get better than that! It's going to be so good for Harlie!

Too funny about Murphy's girl chasing days being over. You're going to have remind him of that one over the years. Hee, hee.

Janis said...

Yay!!! Good for you and Harlie. So glad everything worked out for the best. Austin will be starting school in the Fall...so of course I will be needing some pointers!

Oh and Murphy...LOL!! Funny stuff.