Navigating Special Education During COVID

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This photo has nothing to do with this post, but might be a glimpse of what our Fall will look like!

There have been certain points in our experience with Solly where I sit down in tears on my couch and scream, “It shouldn’t have to be this hard!” Usually this is a statement reserved for fights with insurance companies for refusing to cover durable medical equipment or procedures, disagreements with doctors who want to stick a label on him and tell me what he can’t or won’t be able to do, or conversations with random, ignorant strangers who feel my son should be placed in an institution (for the record, this last type of conversation happens very infrequently – most conversations with strangers are kind and often uplifting – but when they do happen, man, it stings.)

Lately, I’ve been fretting and losing sleep over another topic: school.

Life is difficult for everyone these days. There’s so much uncertainty in the air, conflicting messages about how to stay safe and what you should or shouldn’t do during a global pandemic, and on top of everything else, kids are heading back to school. Continue reading

Living Life in Limbo: How We’re Doing in the Time of COVID-19

One of the biggest lessons Solly has taught me is that you can’t control everything. Keeping that in mind, it’s pretty ironic that he was born to a type-A, control freak – a.k.a. me.  It took me some time to learn how to go with the flow, but five years into our parenting journey, there’s not a whole lot that ruffles my feathers anymore. That being said, when the future is in limbo, I sometimes still struggle to remain calm and unworried.

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Snuggles at home

After we moved to California, everything was very much uncertain. Other than immediately getting Solly on the waitlist for weekly therapies, I didn’t worry about anything else: I figured things would eventually fall into place. And they did – we got a coveted weekly spot at NAPA Center for Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapies, I found a very sweet and super responsive pediatrician who Solly and I love, and we were able to make a dent in setting up our medical team, having one appointment with a neurodevelopmental optometrist and scheduled appointments with a well-respected pediatric neurologist and orthopedic surgeon. We even made contact with the school district to kick-start the IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) assessment process so Solly would be set up to start kindergarten in the Fall with all appropriate supports in place.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. And, while we are all healthy and safe at home, a life in limbo became our unforeseeable future.

Here’s how we’re doing in all aspects of Solly’s life: Continue reading

Good Morning, Friend: A Day at School

Now that Solly is settled in at school, we’ve been working on moving his therapy appointments to during school hours so his therapists can work with him in his classroom. This helps his teachers learn about some of the things he’s working on, but also teaches his peers more about Solly, like how to best communicate with him. While parents have the option to come back to the school to sit in on therapy appointments, we recently discovered that Solly can focus better during therapy if we aren’t present, so we’re starting to limit the appointments that we attend.

Today was the first day where his speech and feeding appointments fell during the school hours and where I chose not to attend. This afternoon, I got this email from Solly’s speech therapist: Continue reading

Solly’s First Day of School

Well, this happened last week.

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Solly’s First Day of School

After a sleepless night and crazed morning on my part, I woke up Solly, dressed him in an outfit that he’d picked out the previous week, and packed up his brand new school bag, then Mike and I took him to High Hopes in Franklin, TN. I wheeled him into his new preschool room, chatted with his teacher for a few seconds, and then tried to give him a kiss goodbye – at which point he quickly pushed me away because, you know, preschool boys are too big for kisses from their Moms.

And then it became official. Solly is a preschooler.

Continue reading