It seems impossible to believe, but we are beginning the process of transitioning Meredith into the school system. We had our first meeting with the school last week when they came to our house to meet Meredith. Early Intervention services stop promptly on her third birthday (June 13th) at which point all her therapies will transition to the school system. Franklin has a public special needs preschool that has a lottery system for typical kids. It's called ECDC - Early Childhood Development Center. It has a great reputation and I've been reassured many times by her therapists that they have a great program, staff and therapists. So this is where we assumed she would go. I thought this initial meeting was to discuss her transition to the school, but like every experience we've had so far with Meredith, this one also delivered a few curveballs. It turns out this meeting was the first of a few that will take place to determine if ECDC is going to be able to accommodate Meredith. If they/we don't feel ECDC is going to be the best environment for her, they have someone who can help us find a good fit in another district. It was all a bit overwhelming and we left with a new label that makes my heart sink a bit: non-ambulatory. Apparently ECDC does not currently have any other students that are non-ambulatory. They don't have standers or any equipment that Meredith would need (though they would get it if it's determined that that's the place for her) but it was a little shocking to me to hear that there are no other kids like Meredith in the school - a special needs school. I left feeling like we need to start seeing some schools and programs right away. The first program we will go see is this one at ECDC. After that, we'll investigate other options just to see how they compare. The next thing that happens is the school system does an assessment of Meredith's development and then we all meet (whichever EI people we'd like present, the parents and the school system) to discuss placement and IEP. That meeting is scheduled for April 29th, so we have a bit of time. I love the idea of Mer being in an environment with a few kids that have somewhat similar needs. And I worry about her being with kids that are all "ambulatory" but have other needs that result in them being more aggressive since she's so completely defenseless. I know we'll figure it out - we're just going to need to do some work to get there.
Mer seems to be getting better now from another stomach flu, she's had a really rough winter with illness. Have I mentioned I'm ready for spring!?