So here’s the update:
I got to my meeting 20 minutes early, as parking might be tricky with all the snow we’ve had lately, only to get a spot right in front of the school…however, I soon learned that they did not have the handicapped entrance on this side it was clear on the other side of the building…I gave up and shlepped my double stroller, complete with infant seat (little brother Alistair, 7 weeks, came with) and miss Amanda up the steps only to then spend four very long hours (the meeting was only slated to be two hours) with testing for Amanda and discussions, before we finally left.
I was not too sure where we stood when we left the meeting, I just knew that I had made sure they knew that I wanted Amanda to attend the private school best equipped to deal with her vision issues, as they are best equipped to give her the intensive vision training she needs. Which ironically, the vision person agreed she needed, but felt it was a toss up whether they could provide the services of if we needed to go to the private location. I made my points (that unless they could provide me with an aide to be with my child for every minute she is in school who is trained in vision, that she needs to be at the private school ). I happen to know that there is no such thing and if I can demonstrate that they can’t provide the services she needs, then they HAVE to send her to private school.
Her vision at best correction is 20/80…without correction she is 20/400…she essentially is low vision, not blind, but because her vision changes based on which glasses she wears, she needs help learning to see and adapt herself to her vision. But I digress…Basically after the meeting, I thought there was no way I would get her into the program because the public schools loses money if they send her there. First of all they kept telling me how she needs to be in a room with typical peers, and they felt the school for the blind would only old her back. Instead they were recommending a classroom of reverse inclusion, where the five kids there now who are all older then my daughter, all have cognitive delays, and no vision issues. Basically that not only would I be holding her back with her vision, but now I would be limiting her cognitively as well. I know my child is not a rocket scientist, but come on!! What a lame argument!
To make matters worse, at the meeting they were recommending that I send my child to a VERY high risk neighborhood, if the police see a white chick there, they stop you and tell you you need to leave (I am not kidding!! My PT had it happen to her as did my OT),...even my Black nanny wouldn't go to to that neighborhood! So I came home discouraged and trying to figure out if I could come up with the tuition money myself for private school.
Adding to this, there is a sheet you have to sign that you attended the meeting, and the diagnosis for which she requires services based on their evals…they wanted me to sign it or they can’t prepare for the IEP. I did what you said, I read the darn thing, took my time (15 minutes) and found a MISTAKE!!! They put that she ahs a vision impairment, and developmental delay as reasons for service, which is accurate. However, when listing the services, they put developmental as the main header with PT, OT, ST, Mobility training and vision was last all as supportive services…WRONG!!!! I said so too. The vision person agreed that vision should be right next to developmental as the main services with everything else as supportive. They made the correction, albeit begrudgingly. Then I signed it.
Friday afternoon, less then 24 hours later, a record for pgh public from what my EI therapists have told me, I get a call from the public school- they agreed to send Amanda to the private school! They will pickup the tab!!!! Not only that, but they called the school to see if they have room...they had one spot left, which they gave to Amanda ( I had called over there after my meeting on thursday to the director of the program, to give her a heads up that she might be getting a call from the public school, but that I wasn't too sure, just in case). Turns out the director saved the spot for Amanda, as the spots are available on a first come first serve basis, since I called the day before I beat another family to it!!!
OMG, I cannot tell you how relieved I am! I can relax about her vision issues they will address them to the umpth degree...meaning later she hopefully will need less services. Besides, they have this great policy if they lose a lense, the school will replace it for me! Won't my insurance company be happy.
I don't have to tell you 'cuz you know me pretty well to know that I stuck to my guns, refused to take no for an answer, and guess what it worked! Some people may say that I am too headstrong, and maybe to a fault, but here it worked to my advantage. It could have easily backfired, but I guess they saw I would only be a thorn in their side until I got what I wanted (truthfully I made a really good case)..what ever it was....
We have our IEP meeting scheduled for March 8…we were given the follwing recommendations at the transition meeting for services weekly:
2 hours direct + 30 min Consultatory PT
1 hour direct OT
1 hour Direct Speech
Here's hoping for more great news after her IEP in march...ttyl