As September began, we counted the weeks until Josiah turned three. The big boys were in school, full time. Around the corner, big changes were in the air. Josiah was about to start preschool, in the local public school. Our first IEP was in our immediate future. Early Intervention was going to come to a grinding halt. Our way of life, for 3 years, was about to change. Though exciting, we were feeling the nervous energy that often accompanies anticipation.
By mid-Sept, we had received notice of the scheduled IEP meeting. I didn't know if I should be excited or dread it's very existence. I had heard nightmares about IEP meetings, attitudes, different perspectives where no one is willing to work together, etc. The morning of the IEP meeting finally arrived. Carl & I arrived to the school with Josiah's EI worker & an advocate from the local DDS office. We were, truthfully, prepared to be unimpressed.
I was never so pleased to be proven wrong!!!! The IEP meeting was amazing! They had considered everything & then some! Josiah's needs had already been considered. Special accommodations had already been thoughtfully planned out. They were offering him 7 therapies per week, in addition to his classroom work. They offered him an extended school year so that he can attend in the summer. They had already included sign language as a method of communication (as Josiah has few spoken words).
I asked only for two things: 1. Potty training - it was included before I could finish speaking. 2. A communication log - which was implemented on day one & has been a constant! We walked away impressed. We walked away knowing that we were blessed! This was the right place for Josiah. We didn't need to fear the unknown any longer.
As we prepared for Josiah's first day of school, we said our goodbye's to Early Intervention. We said goodbye to the Early Intervention Child Coordinator who had been with us from the very beginning. It was a strange sensation....to be actively involved with a team of people, then they simply stop coming. Strange, strange, indeed.
Before we had time to mourn the loss of our friends, we quickly met new friends as Josiah's Physical therapy was moved to an outside agency (where he was already receiving OT and Speech). Josiah transitioned nicely to all the changes. Before we knew what was happening, it was the first day of preschool. He was up, fed, dressed, and outside waiting for his bus. We could hardly believe our eyes.
And so it began, mid-October. Josiah attended his first day of preschool. There were a few tears, the first two days of school, then he was off and running. He attends school 4 days per week, 2.5 hours per day. During those four days, he received OT 2x/week, PT 2x/week, and Speech 3x/week. Two afternoons per week, he attends therapy at an outside agency....OT, PT, and Speech, each day. That's 13 therapies per week!!! Unbelievable!!!
So, four days per week, this Mama finds herself with 2.5 hours to get errands done, clean the house, do laundry, change beds, etc....without interruption. By lunch time, each day, Josiah happily arrives home.
This has been our life for the past 10 weeks. Meanwhile, we've celebrated family birthdays, enjoyed Thanksgiving, survived a stomach bug, and now excitedly prepare for Christmas.
This Mama finds herself tired....blessed, but tired.