Here we are in mid-February and I still haven't been able to get the school to add OT to her education plan. I had to ask five separate times before they finally agreed to schedule an IEP meeting where we can formally request an assessment. This whole time, they've been pushing back with "Well, we don't really think she needs it."
Meanwhile, we have her in private OT at the same place where she gets speech therapy. It's been great so far, but during her assessments at the private therapy place, they recommended that she have 2 one hour sessions a week. Currently, we only have time for one because Faith is in "school" 4 days a week and we already have to factor in 2 speech therapy appointments. Even with one day of OT a week, Faith has made significant improvements. She can now put on her own jacket and snap it up (!) and they've been working on pre-writing skills so she can learn how to appropriately hold a crayon.
At the public school, they've been "working on" getting Faith to learn how to put her own coat on for over 3 months with no progress. It took three OT sessions for her to get it.
Even though I told the school that I wanted to be present for any assessments done on Faith, the conducted an informal assessment without me and sent home a letter stating that Faith is totally average in terms of motor skills and doesn't need any services. Nice try, but we aren't canceling that IEP meeting for next week and we're still going to make you do the formal assessment.
It's pretty clear that they have made up their minds that Faith doesn't need OT services (and I'm just sure their testing is completely free of confirmation bias), so there is little to no chance we're going to be able to achieve our goal here.
Luckily for everyone involved, my husband is coming to this IEP meeting with me because my opening question was going to be "What exactly do you see as your value added to Faith's education when we have to seek private resources to meet all of her needs?" While that question may be blunt and rude, it's not unfair. Right now, this is how it breaks down:
For social interaction: We pay for her to go to a private preschool program two days a week because the public school classroom has no typical peers.
For speech: She goes to private speech twice a week for 30 minutes each time. At school, she gets 90 minutes per month, and if there are snow days, they do not make up the time at a later date.
For occupational therapy: Private therapy because as far as the school is concerned, she's totally fine even though experts at the freaking Kennedy Krieger Institute provided them a report outlining why she needs this therapy and what specifically she needs help learning.
So what DO they do at this public preschool? As far as I can tell, they spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the seasons and holidays and consuming junk food. They send home copies of the curriculum and a daily report of activities, so that's the source of my information here. I don't understand the preoccupation with seasons and holidays. Are learning shapes and rudimentary math passe now? I get that it's not what they learn that matters so much as introducing the classroom learning process, but my God...do we really need to waste time making fucking Groundhog Day cupcakes? They are only there for 2 hours twice a week, so is that really the best use of the time? It's not that I'm against a treat occasionally, but it's literally every week:
"We decorated cookies today and read a book about Gingerbread Men!"
"We ate popcorn today and talked about movie theaters!"
"We made ice cream today for no goddamn reason!"
"We made cupcakes because they can't talk when their mouths are full!"
As you can see, I'm not having warm and fuzzy feelings for the public school program right now. We haven't made any decisions yet, but we are exploring options of private school programs for next year. I'm also considering cutting her down to one day of public preschool a week so she could have an extra private OT session that morning instead. It's not like she'll miss out on any critical curriculum (but what kind of sugary crap WILL they make for St. Patrick's day?!) but I'm not sure they'll "let" me do that. I'm pretty sure I'm already "that parent" by now, so I have nothing left to lose by proposing it at the IEP meeting next week. Well, actually my husband suggested that I should just be quiet during the meeting and let him talk. Apparently, I have a problem controlling my "tone".
What's your biggest source of rage at the moment? Nothing ticks me off more than when I think something is impeding my kid's education or ability to catch up developmentally.
Does anyone have experience with having a kid with special needs (like a speech delay) in a Montessori school?
Do your kids go to a public or private school?