Believe it or not, Daniel will be 5 next month. FIVE. I’m in denial. But my denial won’t stop it from happening, so when I had Daniel’s IEP meeting last Friday, it was also a kindergarten transition meeting. Even though he won’t be changing schools, (his preschool is at our home school) he will be changing therapy teams, because the preschool therapists only work with preschool kids. So! This meeting included everyone on his current team (PT, OT, SLP, & preschool teacher) and everyone who will be on his team next year (new PT, OT, & SLP, a kindergarten teacher, behavioral psychologist, and teachers from both the resource room and the intensive resource room. Plus some admin people. It was a full room.)
First we went over current goals (all going well, making progress) and discussed what he’ll be working on through the rest of this preschool year and during the Extended School Year (summer school.) He’s progressed enough in most areas that they’ll move from evaluating him against the 0-3 year scale to evaluating him against the 3-6 year scale. (That gives a pretty good idea where he’s at developmentally- he’s basically on par with a 3 year old for gross motor and fine motor, quite a bit further behind on social & communication skills.)
Next we went over the plan for kindergarten. The recommendation the team gave was to have Daniel placed in a traditional kindergarten classroom and also spend time in the Intensive Resource Room. The IRR is (you may have guessed) more intensive than the regular resource room. The benefits for Daniel are that the IRR provides daily therapy practice, in addition to being pulled out of class for speech/OT/PT, and provides him his own workspace for subjects where he is far enough behind his peers that it doesn’t make sense for him to be in the traditional classroom for those subjects. The IRR has its own teacher and is tiny, in terms of student numbers. (Currently only 2 kids are assigned to it, they are also both boys with Down syndrome, which made me smile.) They also provide music therapy, which I’m sure Daniel will LOVE. Daniel will also have a para (a helper) assigned to him who will be with him all day. (The IRR will also help train the para in how to incorporate Daniel’s therapy practice into his regular classroom stuff.) Kindergarten in our district is 1/2 day, unless you want to pay for full day. However, because Daniel needs so many therapies and extra help AND we want him to spend time with his typical peers, the team recommended on his IEP that he be placed in a full day class (with fees waived, since this is considered part of his services.) They gave a sample schedule to show how his day would go, and reassured me that he’d be spending more than half his day in the traditional classroom. It all sounds pretty great, and I feel sure Daniel will thrive.
Kindergarten! 3 kids in school ALL DAY LONG! Pretty crazy.