Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To IEP or to IFSP: That is the Question!

So O's transition meeting with MESD and PPS is coming up, and the discussion on the table (okay, on my side of the table), is whether or not my soon to be 5 year old is starting Kindergarten in the fall (the "where" is on the back burner a bit, but could be stoked at any minute).

So I am working on the Pros and Cons.

Well, she is almost 5.
She is very verbal.
She is catching up academically.
She is almost potty trained.

Oh God. Wait. My "Pros" list is starting to sound like a "Cons" list. Will start with the Cons.

She is still prone to toilet accidents.
She still has a hard time in a group of over 5 kids.
She can only identify some numbers and letters, but we suspect she knows more.
When overcome with social anxiety, she hides in a corner of the room.
She needs to be monitored, will sometimes take off.
She has a hard time sitting in circle time.
She is so freakin' tiny. She is still wearing 3T's, and weighs 32 pounds soaking wet.

She is getting better at ALL of these things.

Miss O is having fewer accidents. She is starting to articulate when she has to use the bathroom. Now, O is very comfortable with her small class and is starting to actually make friends and have reciprocal interactions. Her anxiety keeps her from telling us all she knows ("I don't know, what is it?" is a common response, even to topics we know she knows), but she does learn things. She no longer hides when she enters her classroom, although we still have to coax her out in public, and she now knows that she can't take off on her own, although we still have to practice this. And she sits in circle now, but only just.

So there are pros wrapped up in the cons. But she needs more time and maturity to get there and have success in K.

And there is a little parent-guilt. When we were sitting in Isaac's first IEP meeting, all so optimistic about Isaac's transition from MESD to PPS, I think we ended up pushing a kid who just wasn't ready. I am terrified we will do it again.


I need wine.


  1. Have a glass for me, dear friend. I am thinking about another year of preschool, too. My only hesitation is that my daughter wears a size 6. -M

  2. Ahhh! you guys are making me wonder if another year of preschool should be on the table. we need to meet up.

  3. I don't know if they will allow us another year of preschool with MESD services, but when I mentioned it to O's MESD Coordinator, she agreed we needed to consider this.

    On our side of the arguement are two major factors: Olivia is in a private sensory preschool where she receives a lot of services through the teaching staff independent of MESD, and our history as a family.

    By pushing Isaac into a situation he was wholly unprepared for, it ended up costing the district a ton of money and resources in specialist brought in, FBA plans formulated, and an expensive (but successful) behavior program at Pioneer.

    I am gathering a few parents from our preschool together to discuss the transition into K and introduce everyone to the IEP. We are deciding on a date, and I will let you know when and where. Spoiler alert! There will be wine!

  4. In the last day I have been in touch with a mom from the ACB classroom at Lewis and a mom from the ACB classroom at Capitol Hill. These conversations did more for my nervous system than a night out dancing. We will get through this. Let's all take a deep breath...

  5. I"m hoping Lewis will be the school Ru is slated for, not Bridger (which is our 'home' school.) I've heard great things about lewis and was excited about it. Bridger has a Externalized behavior class, which I don't really know what that means, but from the one kid I knew who was in that class, it doesn't sound like Ru. She needs A CB class for sure.

    I still say screw the wine and pass the xanax.

  6. Is it possible to "register" for both options (kindergarten and preschool) and then make a decision in August? After all, it's only February (in 1 more day) and things may change in 6 months.

  7. I would talk to them about it, Tatiana. I am not 100% sure, but I think it is a valid request. PPS goes on about how they need to know early so that they can set up the classes for the fall, but when Isaac went into K, the teacher found out about having an disabled kid in her class one week in advance of school starting. Same when he went into 1st grade. So obviously not THAT advance. If you do sit down for an IEP meeting, put in the IEP that an evaluation needs to be made prior to starting K (most likely during July, since even MESD takes August off). I am sitting down for the K transition meeting soon, and that will be part of my request (but will schedule it for end of this school year, in June).

    Am going to fight for this one.
    Will see how it goes...

  8. It's always difficult for parents to know if their typical child is ready for Kindergarten, but a whole other ball of wax for a parent of a child on the spectrum. I was a wreck for an entire summer waiting for Ellie's first day of Kindergarten. Our Pediatrician explained to us that Ellie's more like a young 3 year old (she just turned 6 last week. Ok, so we now have a child who is developmentally at a preschool level enrolled and active in kindergarten. What do we do now? Well, we do our best and make sure that our child is happy and thriving in school. Ellie is behind academically, but she is participating and enjoys the classroom. When Ellie becomes overwhelmed and no longer wants to participate, she asks to go to the bathroom and spends a few minutes standing in the stall. Poor thing!
    A part of me wishes she were still in preschool working on artwork, gardening, playing and going to yoga. She now comes home with handwriting and basic math homework. Was it too much too soon? It's hard to say since she can't articulate if she's overwhelmed or not. Time will tell. I hope I'm doing the right thing. In the meantime, I may have a vodka tonic.