This morning, Jackson had his first assessment with the school district. Misha and I were in the small room along with a psychologist and speech therapist. The ladies were super nice and tried to engage with Jackson by doing bubbles, puzzles, make believe play, stacking blocks, play dough and other activities. Jackson was his normal self there: uninterested, unable sit down to complete a task and showing comfort by holding two objects in his hands or coming over to lean on me. His testing demonstrated his very limited abilities to communicate and follow directions.
Misha and I got to ask some questions. They made clear that Jackson does indeed qualify for services (no shocker), but they’re not sure which class will be the right fit. As they described the two classes offered at the school where we were today, they didn’t sound like a match for Jackson. It sounded like those classes were for kids who could follow directions and perform on a higher level than Jackson. The next option is to look at county programs. County programs are throughout the area at different schools for kids needing more support. I’m hoping one will be a good match for Jackson. We also asked about extra ABA therapy, either within his school day or at home. After seeing Jackson’s level today, they said, they thought ABA would be essential to include in Jackson’s IEP since Jackson heeds help still with the basics. A behaviorist is coming to observe Jackson during ABA tomorrow afternoon and one of the ladies who tested Jackson today will be stopping by his playgroup on Wednesday to see how he does in a group setting. Then, we have one last assessment (like today’s) on the 23rd before our IEP (Individualized Education Plan) Meeting on the 25th.
I also asked about going to visit any programs that might be appropriate for Jackson, and they said that is an option after the IEP once the district offers its placement for Jackson. I have sat through many IEP meetings and have gone to many IEP trainings, so I know I will not be signing anything until I am 100% comfortable with Jackson’s placement and goals, but I do want Jackson to begin services as soon as possible. The other thing they reminded me of is that their school gets out for summer June 8th. They do offer an extended year program which I’m sure Jackson will qualify for, so hopefully there won’t be too many breaks between his Early Start services ending and his school district services beginning.
In summary, I was very happy with our first encounter with the school district. The assessors were great and provided answers to all our questions. I feel comfortable that they are honest and trying to find a placement right for Jackson. Of course we left Lyme out of any discussions, but we did mention Jackson’s GFCFSF diet since part of the assessment was Jackson’s fine motor picking up GFCF cheerios. They introduced me to a magazine, “Living Without,” a GFCF magazine that they subscribe to. A lot is going to happen in these last weeks of May. With antibiotics starting and transitioning to a new program, I can’t wait to see what comes in the near future!