In the state of NY, therapies for children are provided through EI (Early Intervention) from birth until their third birthday. We’re starting to prepare for Maya’s transition out of EI and into CPSE(Committee on Preschool Special Education) which is run by the DOE (Department of Education, aka Board of Ed.). In general, the DOE is known for being extremely stingy with services, and very difficult to work with (placing children in “special needs” schools that are across the city from where they live, drastically cutting therapies, not providing one-on-one aides without a huge fight, etc.).
By the way, this all ties in really well to the learned helplessness model again---it's us parents vs. the DOE, very David vs. Goliath-esque-----and they know all of the rules and hold all of the power, while we're scrounging around trying to gather as much infomation as possible to fight back with.
So this week we have a group of evaluators coming to, well, evaluate Maya. This morning we had the PT evaluation---later this week we’ll have OT, Speech/Feeding, and Psychological evaluations. Each evaluator will ask me some questions, watch Maya, interact with her, and administer some type of standardized assessment. The scores of each assessment will say how delayed she is in each area of development, and those scores will be used at the big meeting with the DOE in which we try to find an appropriate preschool setting (and whether she’ll be at a therapeutic—aka “special needs”—preschool, or whether she would be in a mainstream preschool and get therapies at home).
Also, I’m calling preschools, setting up tours, trying to find schools in the area. Trying to figure out what would be best for Maya, when really I have no idea. How can anyone know this stuff? I’ve gotten the name of a place to call this week that is supposed to help parents navigate all of this a little bit easier . . . I’ll be interested to see if I can find some guidance.
This stuff is all so stressful. I feel like a few months from now, my hair will fall out again.
I'm not joking.
I have felt my base stress/anxiety level increase, and I can’t really figure out how to best combat that. If you saw my last post, you saw what our schedule looks like . . . granted, this week is busier than usual, but even on a “normal” week, all of those therapies are there. We’re busy. There’s not a lot of time for relaxation or unwinding. There's a lot of worrying. A lot of "what if there's something I'm missing" and "what if there's some school that is only doing tours right now but I don't find out about it for a few months".
December is my favorite month, and I don't want it to get lost in this. I've been addressing our holiday cards :) I'm going to start decorating this week, and wrap presents. We made reservations to go out to dinner for my birthday. I'm going to make shopping lists. I'm trying to figure out how to Maya & Parker proof our future Christmas tree, since they are getting more and more mischievous. Like this:
That's Parker in the bottom corner, saying good morning to Maya. And that's Maya, who somehow was trying to undress herself in the crib, apparently.
I'm going to try not to let this giant dark evaluation/CPSE/DOE/preschool placement cloud overwhelm my favortie month. But I hate the fact that it feels like it will take effort.