Tuesday, June 11, 2013

IEP, IFSP, ARD, ECI and all the other things in between

So some pretty crazy information has been passed my way over the course of the last few weeks. My son only has 12, well now 11 more ECI sessions left. Before everyone starts passing around the congrats and celebrating its not because he has graduated and made enough progress to leave the program, its due to the fact that in 11 weeks he will be 3!  After 3 years of age the child in ECI graduates to the school district. To those of you who do not have special needs children or have never had to deal with ECI do not even ask why 3 is the magic number and not 5 when they are school age. This is how the program goes and I assume that because they have preschool/pre-k special ed (PPCD) that is why. 

For the last 6 months I have worked my behind off to learn all the ins and outs of what was to come for us. Of course I thought 6 months was plenty of time. After all most of my college courses only last 3.5 months and I have done fine so an extra 2.5 months to prepare and study up should make me golden right? I have never been more anxious and worried in all my life. Even my toughest course, Abuse and neglect, was easier to get through than this. I made a reference today that this has all been like taking the college course and on July 17th is my final exam, the moment I will make or break this for my child. 

You might be asking why am I assuming this all comes down on me when after all its going to be H they are evaluating and testing. Well it's because I am his mom and his advocate. If I am not going to fight for his services who is? If I don't prepare myself, get the information, gather those to speak on his behalf who will? I have been going to every meeting I can make, talking to others who have been down this road and read up on my own what to expect. Maybe this is more like childbirth than preparing for the big exam. Regardless I am anxious. 

I have done a 504 with Hannah and it was nothing. However it was easy given we all knew ahead of time her severe learning differences/ disabilities so her teachers knew exactly what she needed to succeed. No one at AISD knows who Hunter is or what he has been going through so I will relay on every evaluation, assessment, exam  and person who has interacted with him to help us in our plea to get H the education he deserves.

Over the last year ECI has been one of the best things that has happened to us. Our coordinator and our therapist have been amazing. They have found us resources that have helped us far beyond what we ever could have found ourselves and been a shoulder to lean on when we have felt down and out. I know in 11 weeks while I will be so excited my baby is 3 I will be so sad to have lost such a wonderful service that has helped us so very much. 

Today I have compiled a list of who I would like to attend our meeting next month, what information I will need and letters from those who I would like to speak on our behalf on why we need these services. My work is cut out for me seeing as I have a meeting with HHS to get state assistance for us and submitting my paperwork for SSI again. I am sure we will be denied but hey you never know until you try. We even set up a fundraising page to help us alleviate the costs we are incurring because of the therapies and appointments. So far no luck but it was a long shot anyways not that we were honestly counting on it. A friend suggested it so we went with it. 

I guess it is back to work. H has his iPad and eaten his cereal and eggs for dinner. I can use this time that he is distracted to get things done I need. I am still sitting here staring at him and wondering how did we go from IFSP's to IEP's! Apparently time keeps on moving even when you are busy trying to keep it still!