January 14, 2011
Noah's fever spiked last night -- not high enough to necessitate a trip to the ER or anything, just one of those HOT. DAMN. moments when you stare at the thermometer and struggle to hold on to everything you know about small children's resilient little bodies and their tendency to run 102+ degree fevers for no damn good reason.
We dosed him up with Tylenol and I hovered around his red-hot presence anxiously, obsessively rubbing his back and his hair, convinced that we were, in fact, going to end up at the ER later and that it was pneumonia or something equally horrible, and wondering who the HELL left me in charge of this small, helpless human being? And the one in the next room? And the one that's not even born yet?
Dear God, why didn't we just stop with the damn CAT while we were ahead?
So I mentioned that kindergarten transition meeting thing yesterday. Kindergarten transitioning is a Big Honking Deal for the kids in the district's special education preschool program, obviously. It involves weeks of observations by a whole team of people, preliminary plans and pre-plans and planning to plan, then an initial "invitation" to the parents to go and observe a couple of the district's continuation-of-services options -- basically, whatever options the team is considering as appropriate for your specific child.
We were invited to visit two different options: Our school's "regular" kindergarten classroom and...well, the other one. The speshul one. It's called LAD -- Learning & Academic Disabilities, though it's a far cry from the type of remedial special education classroom that you might be tempted to picture, a la Bart Simpson's "Leg Up Program" with the kids who start fires and fell off the jungle gym or just moved here from Can-ah-da, eh?
Kids in LAD -- at our particular school, I've since found out that the program is different at pretty much every location across the county, like THAT'S not a crapshoot or anything -- spend 50% of their day with their LAD peers, usually the more academic parts of the day. Small class size, extra paraeducator support, any sensory accommodations they may need, transition help, and of course, time for any individual speech/language or occupational therapy services their IEP may include.
The other portion of the day is spent being co-taught with the "typical" kindergartners for stuff like PE and art and music and storytime, the "easier" blocks of the day, so they can get the critical social pieces of kindergarten without being impeded academically because they've just been tossed into a class of 25+ kids with one teacher and spend the entire day in an overwhelmed sensory fit, wandering around the room and singing the Star Wars theme over and over and over again while insisting that their handwriting practice sheet is "the yellow letters" and making it "crawl" in front of their face and wait...was I talking about the kids in general, or just mine?
(I should note, for the sake of UNFLAILINGLY BORING COMPLETENESS, that even if Noah was put in the typical classroom, he'd certainly still receive "resource services," like OT for handwriting help, but it sounds like there wouldn't really be any in-class support for him when it comes to his many, many other stubborn little quirks.)
(Oh! And if Noah WAS put in the LAD classroom, because it's at our home school [something that's actually on the usual side, since not every school has it and thus other kids must attend school further away], Noah could ride the "neighborhood" bus instead of the "special ed" bus. AND if, say, it was decided that by second grade or so, that he no longer needed to be in LAD, he'd still get to stay at the same school, with kids he knows and has spent time with. Other kids typically get booted back to their home school at that point to essentially start over. All in all, it looks like we really didn't do too shabbily when it came to buying this particular house in this particular neighborhood, even if the decision felt like we just panicked because our condo buyers wanted us OUT and we had no where to go so QUICK, THIS HOUSE IS FINE, WHATEVER, WE'LL TAKE IT, GAAAAAH.)
So next week, we go and observe these two classrooms. And then we wait until APRIL for our IEP meeting, where the team will presumably make their recommendation, albeit with input from us (supposedly) and from Noah's private occupational therapist, who will also be attending the meeting on his behalf.
A lot of the other parents are using all this hurry-up-and-wait time to tour and apply to private schools, just in case they are unhappy with the IEP team's recommendation. Hearing them discuss all the expensive private options in the area (and the multi-stage interview-and-IQ-test heavy application process) always makes me feel a bit panicky, because...well, we AREN'T considering any private schools. Are we...wrong?
I LIKE our public school, and I LIKE the way they've provided for Noah so far. And more importantly, I BELIEVE they have the right kindergarten environment for him, and I BELIEVE that they will do the right thing for him and put him in it. And if not at first, then they will after I get done with my own personal 20-minute slide presentation on WHY YOU WILL LISTEN TO EVERY GODDAMN WORD I SAY, RAWR.
But still, of course, I worry. I worry that our classroom observations will reveal some horrible unforeseen something-or-other that I never considered, or that our IEP meeting will go horribly awry, that I'm once again completely over- or underestimating the whole system and process and oh God, maybe even poor Noah himself, because he can't tell us what he'll really need for kindergarten next year. (Other than a Star Wars lunchbox, I'm guessing.)
Who the HELL left us in charge of this stuff, honestly?
Last night, about an hour after the Tylenol, Noah's temperature was down to a cool and refreshing 98.3. And it stayed down.
He's fine. We all are.