He is quite excited about going back to "occupational therapy." He loves trying to say these words. Theraplay is much more of a business than the last place in the sense that they employ many therapists and you don't get the same one every time. The rooms are very small for small-motor work and then there is a large open space which is used by many kids. The former place just had one child and one therapist in it at a time. The environment afforded a sense of calm that was certainly needed for Elias. But, I'm quite pleased he's heading forward with Theraplay and I liked the therapist who evaluated him there. In fact, they even recommended therapy twice a week. But, in keeping with my "Simplicity Parenting" I just couldn't fathom how we would get there twice a week. It will work out nicely that I will take him right after school on Monday and Adam will take Addie and Jed to the Y while Addie has a swim lesson. I know that we can't always have the luxury of having something for Adelaide to do when Elias has to go to an appointment, but it's helpful when we can. It's also good just to spend time apart like that every once in a while.
On the IEP front, I made real progress. I played phone tag for a while with the Teaching & Learning department, but eventually spoke to the district school psychologist. We had a good conversation and we both determined it would be good for Elias to have a full evaluation--not just a n OT/PT one. So, I filled out the release forms for that process. I received in the mail on Friday all the paperwork for his I.E.P. I filled out a few behavior scales, identified some of his strengths and weaknesses, and made sure that all the paperwork to his teacher was filled out as well. His school will submit two reports from teachers, do an observation, submit his progress reports, and a summary of the school environment by the principal. Once all of these forms are completed, we are entitled to an evaluation in the following 60 days. Once that evaluation takes place and is scored, we will meet with the district to see what kind of support services Elias is entitled to receive.
However, in the meantime, we have been thrown for a loop. The public school which Elias was supposed to attend for next year is going to be closed for roof repairs all next year. This was announced about three weeks ago. That news was so upsetting to me, I couldn't sleep the whole night after I heard this. I just couldn't fathom Elias trying to negotiate another school with all different kids and then coming back to another school the following year. So, he would have attended 4 different schools in four years. Not such a great idea for a child who is very sensitive and has a difficult time following routines. So, with some ambivalence, we applied for financial aid and put down a deposit for him to continue at his present school for one more year.
I did learn, however, that even children who are in private school are entitled by federal law to receive special services. So, next year Elias will probably receive services after school that will be funded by the state of Pennsylvania. This certainly has been a learning process, but now at least I can help someone else who is navigating this path.