That is, if she still qualifies.
Last year, when we did Marissa's IEP in December, she was still pretty delayed. She was only 2 1/2 and she was behind her peers enough that she qualified for all services, 4 days a week, 2.75 hours a day. She was not very verbally communicative and did not really understand how to follow directions well. I knew that we would not be enrolling her in school until this Fall because of the hopeful decannulation. Therefore, we would need to reassess her abilities and needs, being as it was so long ago when she was first evaluated.
So, when I called the Child Find representative for our school district this week, I was not surprised when she asked me to update her on how Marissa has been doing in the last year. Through speaking with her about how Marissa can now speak in 3-5 word sentences (she is still unintelligible a good portion of the time but there are several occasions where she speaks very well and is understood by others), and can follow not only simple directions, but complex ones as well (Jeremy asked her to get her milk. She came into the kitchen from the living room, opened the fridge, got her formula out, and handed it to Jeremy.), we figured out that she may not qualify through the Child Find program for school. She can say her ABC's, count to thirty, and knows the different colors and shapes. She sings songs with mostly the correct lyrics, and dances like no one's business.
The representative did tell me that, if she does not qualify through the Child Find program, she will still probably qualify for school through the "at risk" category. This means that she functions high enough to be amongst her peers but is at risk for falling behind. In this case, she would be able to be enrolled in school, but would be put on a waiting list. We would have to wait for a child to age out of the program for her to be able to start. We do not know how long of a wait we would be looking at.
So, we are beyond ecstatic to hear that our girl may be too "in step" with her peers to attend school funded through the government right now, but it sure would be nice if she could start school sooner, rather than later. One of her biggest issues is the fact that she has not been socialized like other kids her age. We have kept her isolated through the Fall/Winter months because of the trach making her more susceptible to illness. She does not necessarily know how to play with other kids her age. She does not know how to share or how to interact with them. So, if she does not qualify for schooling through the Child Find program and we have to wait to enroll her in school for the "at risk" program, I will be seeking out avenues of social interaction for Marissa, whether it is a play date group or a formal preschool, until we can enroll her for good.
We are scheduled for another Child Find evaluation and IEP on Oct. 29th and that will determine what services, if any, she qualifies for. I'll be letting you know the results of that meeting as soon as I know.
It is excellent news that Marissa may not have a cognitive deficit big enough to qualify her for these particular services. That is something we have worried about since we first learned of her brain anomaly at 19 weeks gestation. At this point, it is a good problem to have and we will only work that much harder to find a suitable situation for our girl.