About a month ago, we had L's transition meeting. I talked briefly about this meeting in this post. We've known about this meeting for months. This meeting occurs before a child turns 3. At 3 years old, the county reviews whether the child is eligible for services for any delays, and if so, the parents can decide to continue services as they have them in place currently through early intervention, or decide to terminate those services. If those services are terminated, the county (who has already researched availability and the child's needs) recommends a program or services for the child.
There is a lot more to the process than that brief description. But that gives a brief overview of the process. We had been preparing for this meeting for months. The week before the meeting, I printed all of the laws on delays, eligibility, and rights of parents. I wanted to go in prepared to advocate for L if needed, but hoping that the meeting would go smoothly.
We know L benefits from social activities with other children. But we also knew that L gets overwhelmed with bigger groups of kids. Some of the programs we visited to get a glimpse at various options were great programs. But none of them felt quite right to us. They were too big. Too little teacher involvement. Or were not intensive enough for her speech needs.
As a result, we were nervous going into the meeting. We prepared to terminate her current services, which was such a bittersweet thing to do. Her therapists have been coming into our home for over 1.5 years now. They have fallen in love with L, and L is so excited when each of them arrive. They have done beautiful work with L. They have seen her thrive in front of their eyes. So to terminate services was in no way a reflection as to how good a job they are doing with her. We just know that L is ready for a preschool environment. She thrives with social interaction. She is great with a structured environment. And recently she has been more cooperative to doing her therapy with someone other than me or Ian. Her therapists were all in agreement that she is ready.
As we signed that paper terminating the services, I felt my eyes well up with tears. Then, the meeting continued into discussing what the team recommends for placement. They chose a speech language class for her, 5-days per week, 2.5 hours per day. They felt that it would address her speech needs and that as some of the other children in the class may have receptive language needs, that L can be the model for those children since she is not dealing with receptive issues. She will also receive physical therapy while at school. When they phrased it like that, Ian and I agreed that it sounded like the perfect fit. The school is about 15 minutes from our house, and about 6 minutes from Ian's work. Starting this fall, off she will go to school.
To start off, we will be driving her. But we will eventually transition her to start going on the school bus. (Just writing that sentence made me cry my eyes out.)
I was extremely emotional after the meeting. Thinking about sending her off into someone else's care every single day makes my chest constrict. She still seems like such a baby to me. And to not be with her for all of her day to day experiences makes my heart hurt. She is growing up. So quickly. We know she is going to do beautifully. The hubs and I, less beautifully. Hubs has warned me that he does not want to be the one to drop her off for the first few days. He knows that if she cries when he goes to leave her, he'll just take her to work with him.
Big things. Good things. Sweet little L, not so little anymore.