Our son Jayden has accomplished so much in his first three years. How he has grown as an explorer, learner, and social butterfly has been quite exciting. Since his second birthday, Jayden has been receiving therapy through Early Intervention, which has certainly helped him along. Despite all of his accomplishments, he still has a way to go in regards to speech and developmental delays.
Being overly thorough preemie parents, we are not leaving any stone unturned. In addition to his recent medical evaluation at the Erikson Institute, Jayden had his school based evaluation a few weeks ago. I was so nervous about it because I wanted them to get a real snapshot of where he was. While I am eager to see Jayden progress, I didn’t want him to do so well that he didn’t qualify for the extended school year program. With all he has accomplished in this past year, to have Jayden out of therapy and not in a classroom setting for four months would stunt his progress significantly.
We had to wait two weeks to get a draft of the evaluation findings. That’s a long time when so much is at stake. We received the email late in the afternoon and I tried to read through twelve pages of information in five minutes before I had to leave for work. It was a fool’s errand, no doubt. Our conference with the preschool staff was the next day. Once I had a chance to sit down and actually read the assessment, reality slapped me right in the face. While our son’s delays have been quite apparent to us, the evaluation team marked him further behind in some areas than we anticipated.
When we met with the team to develop an Individualized Education Plan , or IEP as it’s most commonly known, we were eager to dive into what they saw. While we sat down and discussed the teams findings, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own obstacles as a child. It was like looking in the mirror. Easily distractible? Check. Trouble focusing on singular tasks? Check. Reading these findings gives me two choices: I can let this reality bother me and be a problem, or I can use this experience as a tool to help Jayden along his journey as he gets older.
We were thrilled the school district decided to offer Jayden the extended school year services. He starts school this week! As being the parents of a preemie, we find it is sometimes scary to venture into the unknown. But we are so very excited for this next chapter of his life. Whether it be weeks or months or years, we are eager to see the returns from a structured classroom setting.