In a few short weeks Levi will be turning 3. How the time has flown by! What that means for him is that he will be leaving the Early Steps program and entering the school system.Levi will be attending a special class at Shady Hills Elementary with 13 other children who have special needs. We are told that Levi will be the only one in the class with a physical disability.
On Friday we went down to visit the school and meet with everyone involved. Represented were the physical, occupational, and speech therapist, the classroom teacher, somebody from audio, the special needs coordinator and finally a physical therapy intern. He qualifies for a lot.
Everybody took a turn explaining their role in the process. The physical therapist explained the possibility of bringing in a gait trainer so he can walk freely around the classroom while keeping his hands free. In the end, we are not sure if this will be counter productive to what he is doing now so we will need to keep an eye on him. She was also putting a list of equipment they are going to need for him in the classroom. This will include a wheelchair in case there is an emergency and they have to wheel him out. I am glad that they are thinking about those types of things.The occupational therapist explained that her focus is going to be on the things that will aid him in the educational process. Feeding himself, dressing himself and continuing to work on developing the use of his hands.
We didn’t get to spend much time with the speech therapist but we briefly discussed how we would like to work on his communication either through signs or verbalization. We will continue to work through his eating issues at UCP.
Finally it was time to hear from the classroom teacher. She thought it best for us to experience the classroom first hand. So Levi grabbed his walker and followed us in. There were 7 boys in class today. I was excited to see that. I so desperately want him to interact with other boys. Once in the classroom, Levi made himself right at home. He immediately made his way to the circle where the boys were sitting and pulled a book off the shelf. Caroline and I instantly knew that he was going to do well in this environment.Although I am sure the first day of school is going to make us a little nervous, we know this is a great opportunity for Levi. We have told ourselves many times that he needs a more socially interactive environment. The one thing that Levi does well is adapt so we know he is going to do great. Next up, the dreaded IEP process. I am hopping this isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. Wish us luck.