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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

And They're Off...

After a lot of stress, hemming and hawing, the decision was made, the papers signed and my itty bitty little twins are off to preschool!

And can you believe it, I separated them! Ok, that part wasn't intentional, but I think it will be ok.

And do you know what made me make this decision? Honestly, moving out of LA and LAUSD school district. Yea, sorry LA. I was TERRIFIED of my kids going to school there. I was worried Jack wouldn't get the help he needed and it would be more of a pain than it was worth. I wasn't sure what to do with Amelia, if she even needed school at all. Then we moved to Ohio and into a great school district. I saw the classroom, met the therapists, learned that the class size was half of what it was going to be in LA, and a few other key points that peaked my interest.  Last week we met the teachers and I must say, they are absolutely in the best place possible for both of them!

So how did it work? Jackson got his IEP done in California. They were ehh about diagnosing him with autism (I don't think he's autistic, just delayed, but I do see the red flags everyone keeps pointing out that make him kind of an ehhh situation) so he is in a weird place as far as services he needs and qualifies for, he was only going to receive group therapy sessions (and would still need several individual sessions a week), and he was going to be gone for full days, leaving me with little time to get his other therapy scheduled. On top of that, Amelia couldn't attend the same program, so I was going to have to find somewhere to put her or keep her home. I was very ehhh about the entire process. Until we moved, I didn't want to count on us moving (it's the Air Force, stuff happens), so in my mind I was preparing for them to be in LA and preparing to decline services, keep them home and keep with Jack's therapist and schedule. I wasn't thrilled about that decision but I just wasn't comfortable at all with the school and environment in LA.

When we took his IEP to Ohio, they were good about putting him in the program and very easily told me they would accommodate for Amelia to be in the program too (it's usually a lottery, parents apply in the spring and they select so many kids based on availability, we didn't do any of that). They told me he would get the services that were stated in his IEP and after he was in school for awhile they would either adjust the IEP and his goal as they saw fit or if everything was on track, we'd meet in the spring to update his goals. So it was simple enough, but I still didn't know a lot of the program. I spoke to a few of the therapists and I was feeling a lot more comfortable. They have group sessions in the classroom for speech and OT where the therapist comes in and works with the entire class (IEP or not). On top of that, they pull kids out for individual sessions throughout the week. So this means, Jack might need very little outside therapy, making my life a lot easier! He didn't qualify for school PT in his IEP but his neurologist and ped here in Ohio both agree he needs to continue PT so we are doing that on his day off from school.

So now that school is in, I'm so excited for them! They are going 4 mornings at week for 2 1/2 hours. Adding a bus ride in there both ways, they're gone a little over 3 hours each day. The classrooms are very play based and let the kids take the lead on the activities they want to do each day. There are only 12 kids in each class with a teacher and aid in each classroom (as well as therapists, floating aids, etc) so there is plenty of opportunity for one-on-one time for the kids. They even have an outdoor classroom they use for sensory play and learning how to plant/grow and environmental lessons. I think it's a fantastic, positive learning environment with a lot more opportunities so I'm excited to see how they learn and grow this year!

So the separate class thing, is just how they work things at the school district. Twins are automatically separated. I talked to a teaching about putting them together last week and after a lot of talking, I agreed it was best to separate them. They said if either of them was having a bad day, they would arrange for an aid to bring the happy twin to the sad twin to see if that would help their mood and I thought that was a great plan. They sit together on the bus both ways and apparently they think it's the best thing ever and sit there chatting with each other the whole time. The aid on the bus yesterday when they got off thought they were the funniest things ever. Since they hadn't seen each other in awhile they were discussing their backpacks and name tags with each other like they'd never seen them before and telling the aid every little detail out the windows. They also played great with each other yesterday afternoon so maybe some time away from each other will help their relationship at home grow. We'll see. Either way, they both seem really happy and I hope it stays that way!

So now, what you really want to see...the pictures ;)

I can't believe they're big enough to be doing all of this already! They ran to the bus stop this morning, grabbed the aids hand and just jumped right on the bus like they were pros. On their second day. They didn't look back at me for a second.

Benjamin is adjusting a little slower. He want to ride the bus so bad ;) He's still atleast 2 years away from school so he better get comfy sitting at home with me! We ran errands today and it was sooo nice only having 1 kid in tow! I think we might all adjust to this school thing better than I had anticipated!

How was your kiddos first day of school??

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