01 May 2014


I'm not going to talk about being pregnant this time. Promise. Instead, I'm going to talk about preschool! Woot! (Past preschool posts part I, part II, and part III) Very briefly, the exact moment Abigail turns three, she is no longer eligible for at-home therapy. If we want to continue to receive services, we'll do that through the school system, either by sending her to preschool or taking her up during pre-arranged days/times to participate in group therapy with the rest of the preschool class. I used to think that preschool was just 2.5 hours/day of day care, but after touring the special ed class and watching the teacher in action, I realized that it's more like 2.5 hours/day of therapy. So Matt and I decided that we would send her.

But now I'm having doubts.

Almost all of Abigail's therapists discuss preschool at almost every one of our sessions even though we already agreed that she will be attending. Abigail is really high functioning and most of the time kids who are doing half as well as her are phased out early. I fought to keep her in-home therapy, but it's like everyone is shocked to still be working with her. I used to hear about preschool two hours per week, and even though they sliced her hours down, I still hear about it 1 hour per week every week and 2 hours per week every other week. I'm so &#*(@*@&^$^&@!^@$& sick of hearing about preschool. Of talking about it. Of discussing how it will work and how Abigail will do. I get it, she's going to love it.

Shortly after we walked away from the tour with the decision that she would attend, I started getting doubts. She's still so very young. She'll only be three. She's not potty trained. Her communication can be difficult to understand. But I remembered back to the classroom and felt comforted.

But then the therapists started talking about the bus. The &#*(@*@&^$^&@!^@$& bus. The preschool is literally .4 miles from my front door and they want to bus her in. They insist she will prefer to do what all her friends are doing. I think it's going to be hard enough to send my very young daughter away from me 4 days a week and seeing her to the classroom instead of watching her drive away with a complete stranger is a damn generous compromise.

You wouldn't think the bus would matter, but everyone is making it clear that it &#*(@*@&^$^&@!^@$& does.

And my doubts kept growing. Am I being over protective? Can a person be over protective of a child so young? What would happen if we post-poned preschool for one year? Just one year to let her grow and develop just a tad bit more? But when I think back to the classroom, my brain knows that she will thrive in such an environment.

And then I started filling out the paperwork for the big meeting next week when we'll transition her to the school system. (We'll transition her in May to start in Aug/Sep because Michigan's summer services are awful and she'll be too old anyway). Forms that want to know exactly who is living with who and how everyone is related to one another. Concussion acknowledgement forms. Forms that ask me in a dozen different ways what languages we speak at home. My heart started panicking again. I shelved the paperwork.

So this is my brain's argument:
Abigail will thrive in preschool. She will miss you, but she will love it. The teacher is great at what she does. Abigail will learn so very many new skills. This program will really help her reach her potential. Preschool is good for Abigail.

This is my heart's argument:
Abigail is way too young to be sent away from her family for so much time during the week. She is still too vulnerable - relinquishing so much parenting to a government entity at such a young age puts her at risk. Post-poning school by one year will not damage her potential, but instead give her time to mature so that she is better able to handle the challenges of the classroom.

My gut says:
Hey, let's switch sides every couple of days.

Hence why this issue of preschool is still not resolved for me.

We are proceeding as if we are going to send her because it is way easier to transition her from at-home therapy to in-school programs than it would be to end her at-home services on her third birthday and re-enroll her in the fall. Or, it will be easier to change our minds and pull her out of school than it will be to change our minds and enroll her.

Ample more time spent in prayer, thought, and discussion is needed before the fall arrives.


Allison said...

My daughter is starting regular 3 year old preschool this fall, and I can't imagine putting her on a bus, so I don't think you're weird for not wanting to put your daughter on a bus either! I think that's a bit young personally. And she will want to do what her friends do? I would bet at this age she will not care. I know my daughter wouldn't. Maybe when they are 5 or something they would notice the difference, but that seems like a silly argument as a pro for riding the bus at this age.

Anonymous said...

I am a grandmother who has not had children at home for a while. But it seems to me that if you decide to send Abigail to school that just going to school is going to be a big change for all of you - so taking the bus seems like another really big step. If you drop her off yourself you'll have the chance to hang out and check to make sure she settles in or go a little early and check on how things are going. Then maybe when she's a little older she might want to take the bus. Remember... you know her better than anyone else in the whole world. Never be afraid to follow your gut feelings. DM

Laura said...

I could have written this post back in December! My little guy turned 3 in January and I really wanted to wait to send him to preschool in August. But at the IEP meeting, they offered 2 mornings a week. Everyone was very encouraging that he would succeed. So I said yes and it has been an amazing experience. Seeing him participate in the classroom blows me away! I've always felt proud of him just because he is here but for the first time ever, I'm proud of him because of his actions. I gave him a chance to shine and he has! Only you know the best choice for your daughter, but preschool isn't as scary as I thought it would be. I will add that I do drop him off and pick him up every day. Because he can't tell me about his day, seeing his face right after the school day ends gives me a clue as to how things went. Good luck with your decision making process!!

Cam Wollner said...

I really, really, really dislike the pressuring and pushing for you guys to do things when you don't feel comfortable with something like busing. But I'm really horrible with any sort of pressure like that and tend to react with a subtle "we could just pull her altogether" signal that everyone seems to get.

Go with your gut, whatever it is. You do know her better than anyone and you know what's best with her. It sounds like you sounded pretty comfortable with the class, but if you don't feel comfortable with busing I wouldn't have a problem saying "hey, we don't feel this is best for OUR daughter and I'm done discussing it."

Prayers for you with these meetings this week!

(And in random news there's totally a package that should be reaching your house any day from us! Sadie helped put it together and I even woke up to her telling Paul "Abigail is going to be a big sister!" as she went down the stairs! We're so excited for you guys!)