OK, so my little Kiwi (Kayleigh) is starting school on Monday. Her IEP (Individualized Education Plan)meeting was completed on the last possible day before winter break. For those that are not familiar with an IEP; basically its the written plan designed to help develop specific educational goals for a child with disabilities. It identifies the disability, describes the child’s strengths and areas of need, lists goals the child should reach in a year’s time, includes short-term instructional objectives that represent a series of skills to master or goals to accomplish and identifies programs and services. What it really is...
Basically you start out thinking that schools and professionals will offer your child everything they possibly can to help him/her succeed. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Every parent of special needs children quickly finds out that they are their BEST (and sometimes only) advocate. We know our kids the best and have to fight for the services we know are "appropriate" for our children. Even if its not in the "budget" for the school system.
That being said, I knew what to expect and had everything prepared for her meeting. They did the eligibility meeting and IEP meeting together and it went with minimal conflict and pain which I was happy about. I walked out of that meeting feeling good. Well as good as you can.
With Ashton's birthday "party" and the holidays that followed the meeting, I have had little time to digest the fact that my BABY girl will be starting school on Monday. Today was the first day that it has really hit me...and boy oh boy did it hit me, like a freaking MAC truck. My little 23 pound 2 year old is starting preschool. Did I realize that before I made the decision to go forward with the school system...of course I did. I spent months and months going over and over it in my head. Weighing each option, the benefits and consequences. There have been some naysayers along the way but I am happy with the decision I have made to put Kayleigh in a preschool class. Afterall, its a couple hours a day, a few days a week and I feel in my heart that she will progress better being around other children. Even though I feel this is whats best it's still hard to "let go", she has been by my side since she came home from the NICU (minus a few days with grandma over the last 2 years). Alas, I know I am going to be a freaking mess on Monday. Hopefully it will be better than when Ashton started school, I called my mom in tears every morning for a week.