First let me say, the end result is exactly what we wanted. Cooper will start a developmental preschool through the school district in the fall. He will attend 3 hours a day, 4 days a week. He will get help with speech, fine motor, gross motor, sensory, etc. He can also be bussed. (SCARY!) So, this is great.
Now for the real stuff.
I had been communicating with the Special Education Director for 2 weeks or so before the evaluation. She was very easy to work with and seemed extremely thorough. I believe we spoke 5 times and exchanged a dozen emails. ALL initiated by her. Wow. During the conversations she told me multiple times to come to the elementary ed office and then we would do the evaluation. So for a few days before the appointment I told Cooper over and over again that he was going to school to play. I mean we REALLY built it up. He was so excited.
When we got there he ran in like he owned the place. I was nervous but his excitement was so cute that I calmed down a bit. We walked in the office and met two ladies (special ed director and speech therapist). They were sitting in a very small conference room with a big table and lots of chairs. First thing I noticed was there were no toys. Not kid friendly at all. I was super confused. They started trying to usher Cooper into the small room. Which was a no go. Cooper wanted to go back into the hallway and go find the toys.
They started chatting with Jamie and I and Cooper LOST HIS SHIT! And that is the understatement of the century. He is a smart kid and realized there was no playing. And all HELL broke loose. He started running around the office crying and carrying on. He wanted to leave the office and go play. Cue sweat, stress, panic, exhaustion, etc.
Now, here is the part that I know for a fact I would describe differently than my husband would. And let me add I am a HIGHLY observant person. The two women estarted exchanging looks and whispering. It was very obvious that they were diagnosing him. My heart sank.
I was under the impression from the numerous conversations that we were there to have Cooper evaluated for services which in kid world means playing with a teacher. That was not the case. This was the ‘pre’ evaluation meeting. Really, there was absolutely zero reason to have Cooper there.
Then it dawned on. We brought Cooper because they wanted to see how Cooper handled being in an office setting with no toys. BARF. I explained numerous times prior to this meeting that Cooper is a highly active boy and he’s not going sit at a damn table and color. Nope, not going to happen. I was a little blindsided and pissed. We gave Cooper Jamie’s iPhone and let him watch a movie while we talked with the teachers.
They confirmed my suspicion. They explained that they needed to see how Cooper handled coming into the office and they felt that he didn’t handle it well. My childish side wanted to say ‘DUH! I told him we were going to play. He is a nonverbal 3 year old boy. What did you expect???” But, I just smiled and nodded. This had to happen to get Cooper into preschool Fine. But quite sneaky if you ask me. Well played school district. Well played.
So, we talked about next steps.
They want to see Cooper 6-8 times in the month of April so they can evaluate him. They know he will qualify for services but in the state of Minnesota (I am sure this is everywhere) they have to check all the boxes.
They also told us that we had two options. A 2 day preschool and a 4 day preschool. The 4 day is the best setting for kids with communication delays. It will be a small group, 5 or s0 kids, and they will get one-on-one help. It is the best. But, in order for Cooper to get in this setting, we have to allow open discussions about autism. Let me be clear here. This would not be a medical discussion but an educational discussion. Even though he isn’t on the spectrum, they have to check a box that he ‘may’ be on the spectrum to get him in that setting. **SIGH**
That pretty much sums it up. These 2 ladies were very nice. They were optimistic and said they could tell that Cooper will do great in preschool and will definitely improve.
I want the best for Cooper and this is it. We are very lucky that he is going to get these services. And for that I am thankful. Now we get through these 6 meetings and then wait for September.