First, Duluth doesn’t seem to have any other places that can give him the services he needs. There are a lot of preschools but they are all for typical developing children. Second, Super Cooper will have a team devoted to him. He will have a speech therapist, occupational therapist, etc. It takes a village folks! And, he can be bussed to and from. (This freaks me the hell out and I am not sure how I even feel about it yet. But, I have plenty of time to worry about it!) The time that this will save us will be unbelievable. And most importantly, Cooper will have structure and lots of interaction with other people, including children. I see ALL good things with this.
A small part of me is devastated that I will be sending my 3 year old to school. Before I knew of Cooper’s delays, I was actually against this for personal reasons but that’s all changed. The more help the better.
So, as I have started this process I am blown away by the hoops that I am jumping through. This Friday Cooper has an evaluation with the Special Education Department to determine where his needs level is at. It was kind of a process to get this all set up and as I was working with this special ed director I received a call from the kindergarten screening part of the school district. They want to evaluate Cooper as well.
I wrote an email to the Special Education Director I was working with and explained that this didn’t make sense. Cooper wouldn’t be able to do any of the things on the screening. It’s a step backwards. We’ve established that he needs special services and that’s why we are going the special education route right now. Why do I have to miss work and bring him to this screening? She responded and told me that they need to ‘check a box’ that Cooper was screened. This angers me. I very honestly told her that these evaluations are crushing to me. And stressful on Cooper. No go.
Here is part of her response:
I know what you’re saying. We don’t want to overwhelm anybody.
First of all, Cooper is your precious child and you, as his parents can enroll him in any preschool you can get into.
If he’s going to need some help from school district staff, then he needs to go through an evaluation.
As much as we’d like to offer our expertise to all the cute little people out there, we have to first have test scores which support our working with any given child, and their parents’ permission to provide the help.
We have some free preschool slots for preschoolers who have met eligibility for special education services. Those paid slots (paid by the school district) are in:
Community Ed. Preschools
School Readiness Preschools
Head Start Preschools
If these are filled up then we may be able to contract with other preschools to help with expenses.
But FIRST, we have to have evaluated the child’s abilities to see if they meet eligibility to get extra help.
What she is saying is (or how I am reading it is) that Cooper needs to be really messed up to receive free services from the school district.
Why would I lie? Why would I kill myself doing all of these appointments and jumping through these damn hoops if my kid didn’t need help? Picking up the phone 20 times and repeating that my kid needs special services is crushing. Trust me, I understand the need to check a box. But, come on lady. I’ll gladly do the evaluation for preschool. It’s the other ‘hoop’s’ that are wearing us down. Just help my kid. He’s pretty damn great.