Leaving Early Intervention and having Olivia attend a private preschool was an experiment. Her small, lovely little program at Edwards was closing, and the preschoolers were being shuttled to different larger programs in various Elementary Schools around Portland. She was doing OK at Edwards, and she loved her teachers. But it was a delicate balance at times, and we were still struggling with a lot of basic things - potty training, counting, alphabets, shapes and colors. Going to a much larger school with a much larger class just scared us to death.
We were lucky that a couple of her teachers decided this was the time to try an experiment of their own. Could they create a better environment for socially struggling children on a much smaller scale, with the same services and typical peer interaction, and see more progress in these kids? So Sunnyside Sensory and Art Preschool was started, and Olivia started attending 4 days a week back in October.
And with the end of Fall session, it is time to assess.
Lets see. Olivia is suddenly potty-trained. She goes days without an accident, at school and now at home. This is still a shock for me. I was beginning to wonder if we would be going straight from pull-ups to Depends (TM) at some point. She started counting to 5 on her fingers, and just the other day, she counted to 10. And recognized the written numbers. She knows her colors. She sings the "ABC"s to me. She has prolonged reciprocal conversations with others. She talks about what she did at school that day. She talks about her friends, and no longer shuts down at drop-off. In fact, she only shows anxiety at pick-up if she was having fun and doesn't want to leave. Twice a week a teacher from MESD comes to her school to assist with speech, OT, and other items on her IFSP. And they too have noticed a change.
Oh joy! There are a multitude of factors I am sure that contribute to the Emergence of O, but nothing is more important than feeling safe, supported, and valued. So we got a winner, folks. Now, this is Preschool, and I have already started to receive a slew of letters from MESD and PPS gearing up for the transition of O from one to the other. My reaction to these letters is totally neurotic ("yeah, that's what you think, suckers. I will decide what goes on, when and where she does" - said loudly in the kitchen with my husband peering in asking if I am OK), but that doesn't change the reality of decisions to be made in the near future. But right now, one week before Christmas, I am happy and at peace.