Monday, March 28, 2011

big girl

sometimes m seems so grown-up.
 and sometimes she still seems so little.

suddenly she is almost three. i'm not even thinking of it as her birthday, i'm thinking of it as the date that she has her first iep. m's iep meeting(which is when we meet with the school district to determine the services appropriate for her needs as a deaf child) is this wednesday. 

she has received services since she was 7 months old through the early start program, which is for 0-3 year olds. when a child turns 3 years old, it is a whole new pot of money, so that child gets transitioned over to the school district. we're working with the same people (more or less) than we have been since she was a baby, so in some ways things won't be radically different. we've worked with great and very kind people at oakland, and even in the past when we have fought for other services, things have worked out. in light of that, i'd like to say that i feel confident and ready, that even if they deny her continued services (which is kind of what i am assuming will happen since she tests very well in quiet settings & with adults) that i will know what the next step is that we should take. but instead, i'm totally scared. 

i think she needs one more year of intentional auditory/oral training at her school. she needs another year of being around lots of kids who are deaf and have hearing loss. she needs to be with teachers who are used to troubleshooting cochlear implants, and who can tell that she is quiet because she can't hear, not just because she is being shy. she needs to learn how to listen in louder contexts, and how to survive in a larger/typical preschool context. she needs a bit more footing before she's launched out into the mainstream.

but on paper, she has great vocabulary and age appropriate mistakes for a typical hearing child. for that i am of course incredibly grateful. just really, really anxious about what is next and feeling like this time things may not go the way i think it should.


  1. call me in the am..i got some thought on the iep matter.

  2. Just remember: Testing well in a quiet environment, where an adult is directing speech straight at her and has her full attention, tells you squat about how she does in a real-life classroom setting. Also, a lot of her language acquisition in the 3-5 year range will be from peers and in group settings. The message that the NYU folks kept emphasizing for me is that at 3, they're too young to "test out" of the system -- the tests that you can administer to a 3 year old don't tell you enough. No matter what the tests tell you about her performance in an ideal environment, she's still deaf, and that has to be your starting point. (I'm just recapping what I sent by e-mail, but it's the narrative that worked for us -- in the face of district resistence -- so it's worth repeating.) Also, ask for evidence. For example, if someone's trying to "assure" you that she'll be "fine" without continued support, ask, "What evidence do you have for that? As I explained, the test results can not be used to support that conclusion -- they give us a baseline reading of her language acquisition *so far* and her aptitude, but that's all. And decades of preschool deaf education suggest otherwise -- continued support is essential." Good luck!

  3. Good luck with the IEP meeting! We had no trouble with Nolan's (and he tests age-appropriate in everything but some articulation issues). We used the same reasoning that Julia did (even though we only have HA's) - 3 year olds with hearing loss are simply too young to leave the system. Nolan will be in pre-K next year (mainstream) and will receive speech services 2x per week, just to address his hearing in the classroom, socialization, and vocabulary acquisition.

    Also, I can't believe little M is almost 3! Happy Birthday to your little preschooler!

  4. thank you guys for your input/support/help! julia-i am totally using the write up you used for ben.

    i'll let you all know how it goes...although i may have to wait a bit to tell details.

  5. my heart is so in this! i want m at jwosd! and it has nothing to do with the benefit dinner fun. for reals. i'm totally praying.

  6. Hi. I'm a preschool teacher at an inclusion program in San Francisco. I have seen children who really really need services (including deaf children) be denied them INITIALLY more times than not. And then, I've supported (with my school) many parents as they fought like hell to get their children what they need. Although we've had to call in advocates a few times, every single time the children have had their needs met in the end. With no exceptions.

    So, my advice to you is that, if you do not like the IEP, do not sign it. It seems like M goes to a school that will step up and advocate for her to keep going there. Use them to help you get what she needs. This is a system where the louder you yell and the more you refuse to back down, the more you get. It can be hard on parents who don't want to make waves, but it is what it is.

    But it seems like I am putting the cart before the horse. Sometimes, the system does its job and everything falls perfectly into place. Let's hope this happens to you!


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