Thursday, December 28, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Early Intervention

My daughter with Early Intervention Teacher Melinda on Halloween

In Utah, and in various other states Early Intervention is the program that steps in to help children with disabilities. From birth to age three, Early Intervention provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, classes and other things a child might need on a case by case basis.

Even before my daughter was diagnosed, these kind people stepped in to give us a hand. They've helped my little one in so many ways and they've been a huge support to my wife and I during these first years of adjusting to our little girl's disabilities. Their in-home visits and the classes they've offered have helped my daughter learn to be mobile, to eat, to interact with other children and so many other essential things. Basically, the folks at Early Intervention have been a life line for our family.

So this next month is going to be a difficult one. My daughter is reaching the age of three and it's time to transition over to the public school system. A nearby elementary school offers a preschool class for disabled children starting at age three and that's where my daughter is headed next. During January there will be some placement testing that will involve the EI people and the new school and then before my daughter begins classes we'll have the chance to meet her new teachers and get a feel for the program.

Change is never easy and I know my wife and I are nervous about this one. My wife and daughter have already visited classes at her new school and were pleased with what they saw, but my little one is at the very bottom of the list when it comes to the abilities of the students in her class. So I guess her testing and placement will be concern number one. I'll report back in a couple weeks on the results.

In the mean time, a sincere thank you from my family to all those in the Early Intervention program who have made such a tremendous contribution to my little daughter's life. Her abilities and quality of life are a direct result of your time and caring.


La Bombera Loca said...

Your daughter is ABSOLUTELY PRECIOUS! :o)

La Bombera Loca said...

How did everything go with the transition (to preschool)?
I have a daughter with this syndrome, and she's almost 12 now. I remember how difficult a time the change from early intervention into a preschool was...but I think more so for me than for her. The bottom line is to trust your instincts - even if it isn't the "popular choice" with everyone else on your IEP team. I really can't stress this one thing enough. We're in Arizona, the stingiest state in the US for any type of educational funding, but even with limited funds from the schools being faced in all states, I honestly think the educators really do try to do the best that they can for us with what they have. With that said, many times they do not always share all of the rights that are available to you as a parent and to your child under FAPE. There are endless resources out there to help familiarize you with you and your little girl's rights, and to help you advocate with confidence on her behalf.
Each state is a little different in funding, local legislation, long term care (medicade), etc.. I'm an advocate here in Arizona, but would be glad to assist anyone from any state in finding a resource to help in navigating "The school years" as the rules apply in their state.
Thank you for this great blog, too, BTW. It's been wonderful having yours and other's experiences shared in such a candid and heartfelt way.
I'm looking forward to reading more!

Nate said...

Hi Beth,

Thanks for your post. I'm always in awe with parents I come in contact with who have children in their teens with a -1p36 condition. I wonder how my family will be doing when we reach that point. At any rate, thanks for the help with getting the most out of the education system. I'm sure I'll have some questions as time goes by. My little one missed her first day of school on Monday due to illness so hopefully she'll go for the first time tomorrow. I'll make sure I post about it. Should be exciting!