Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Let 'real' OT begin!

Don’t get me wrong. I am oh so grateful that Elliot receives EI services through our local public school system. We initiated PT directly after he was born. Regrettably, our physical therapist was plainly not used to working with a preemie with Ds. I do think that the school system would have preferred that we had waited until Elliot was at least “full term” to commence with services. I, however, am not one to wait, so, “Bring it on,” I said gleefully. And, they obliged. Wee Elliot is nearly 8 months old, but still, is not holding up that weighty little head of his. Nor is he rolling or even attempting to do so. At our last “well baby” check-up, our pediatrician suggested we initiate OT and PT services through an organization that specializes in working with infants that have Ds and other conditions. Bless her heart for being so very proactive. She suggested additional PT at first, but PT at said organization comes with a month long waiting list. So, last night, we started with OT and the therapist worked with Elliot on some physical things as well. She was magnificent and very encouraging. She noted that Elliot’s attention span is remarkable and “advanced” as she so cheerfully called it! Now THAT, in and of itself, made me smile huge smiles! He followed objects very well with his eyes and reached out for her face and numerous bits and pieces that she placed in front of our dear baby boy! And, he DID attempt to roll. I was amazed. I will continue to update regarding his progress, and will tell our EI folks on Thursday that we have started other services as well. IEP, you know, on Thursday and I am nervous. As the school system will eventually ascertain if indeed Elliot is “good enough” to be integrated into the public system with typical peers, I am very thankful that we will now be doing things on top of what is offered at no charge. Thank God for the REALLY good therapists!


S. said...

Elliot is so cute! I am confused though. In most cases, EI is not funded by the school system, and you don't transition to the school system until he turns 3. I guess it must be different where you are? Just curious!

Michelle - Momma to 2 Muffins - Soon to be 3! said...

Yikes, am I missing something!? Still so new to all of this. I do understand the transition at age three; however, all of our meetings, evaluations, etc. have come from the folks at the school system. Are they not the ones who determine if indeed Elliot will be "eligible" to be integrated? And, perhaps I am confusing two separate things: IFSP and an IEP. Can you give me more info?

S. said...

Well, I guess it would be different in every state. But my understanding is until age three, it is an IFSP, and for example in FL EI is completely seperate from the school system. Just prior to the 3rd birthday you have a transition mtg. and switch over to the school system and then have an IEP. So, at least here, while I researched and thought about what I wanted for L. in pre-school before he turned 3, there was no official discussion until the transition mtg. FWIW, L. is now attending Montessori with his typical peers and loving it.

Anonymous said...

It is easy to be confused by it. Early Intervention is supposed to be an interagency program. In my state all the therapists work for the public school and not the county and EI is a division of Early Childhood Special Education which is also run by the school system, but is still seperate from the public schools. We had a county social worker, but she was the only county member involved in EJ's EI and I think that EI is actually funded by the public school system here as well (though they may get money from the county to fund it in the first place).

Again, not sure how it works other places but I don't think the school system anywhere can refuse a child entrance into a public school. EJ just started preschool and the preschools the public schools actually run are all at public schools and are a division of special education, so they are not inclusionary. These are called "self contained" classrooms. However, because they don't have an inclusionary option on site (a "community" setting) they contract out to preschools all over the district. There is no situation in my state inwhich a child is refused entrance to publically funded preschool if that is what his family desires. My school district also does not "test" kids in - at least not at 3. They are placed where a good fit is suspected, but there isn't any IQ testing or anything like that. Ultimately it is the parents who choose the placement.

We have a large parent advocacy group in my state which is dedicated to special education and every IFSP & IEP is required to list their contact information. Do you have an organization like that available? ARC is a national organization that has advocated available for people with special needs...they might be able to explain yoour system better to you or refer you to somebody that can.

I used to email our lead teacher and social worker all the time asking every little question I could come up with. I still only have a rudimentary understanding of it all - LOL!