For those that are not aware and IEP is an individual education program. Cormac will need an IEP to attend school. Up until his third birthday he receives services through early intervention. I love early intervention. He has been receiving services since we found out he was deaf. For longer than I can remember he has received two hours a week at home with a Teacher of the Deaf, Joan. I also bring him one day a week to Summit Speech School for a group class. Why this all has to change at the young age of three is beyond me but I don't get to make those decisions.
At three years old the child is now handled by your local school district. Our local school district set up our identification meeting. This meeting is to determine if Cormac is eligible for services. He qualifies because he is deaf so that was not an issue. Next we have to discuss his education needs. This is where it gets tricky. Our district has never had a deaf child let alone a child with bilateral cochlear implants. They have no one in district has EVER worked with a child with cochlear implants. The speech therapist is a nice lady but has no direct experience with deaf children. Working with children with speech delay and a deaf child are two different things. Most people do not understand.
The only program in town is preschool disabled. This class contains all children of all disabilities. This is so not where Cormac belongs. He is not academically delayed or cognitively delayed. His fine and gross motor skills are perfect. I don't know many other two year olds that can write their letters. His only delay is in his expressive language and he is not really far behind. But his delay comes from not hearing for the first 13 months of life NOT from any other issue.
Cormac should be in a mainstream preschool along with his brothers and get support services. I am not sure how we are going to accomplish this task. But we will. I have been dreading this process for a long time. With a district with no experience at all I am hoping it can be a learning process for both sides. We can help them to learn what a deaf child with implants needs. Every child is different but at least int he future they would have some experience.
I have spent hours researching and seeking information to show the district what is in Cormac's best interest. There are lots of laws that protect him and I am familiar with them all. I will make sure to have copies of them with me when they make a recommendation of preschool disabled and prove to them this is not the least restrictive environment. Luckily, NYU has an education specialist and she is willing to come and talk with the district. I am hoping her expertise will be enough to make our case. All I want for Cormac is mainstream preschool with support services. Since they don't have qualified professionals for support services they need to contract with people who are qualified.
I knew it was not going to be a simple process. I was prepared for it but I did not think they would have no clue what so ever. Oh well, just another bridge to cross in our journey.