Sunday, March 8, 2015

Clear as Mud

It's been a few days now since we had Sophia's conference and my initial reactions of confusion, discouragement and frustration are watered down. They're still there but the strong emotional reactions I was experiencing have decreased and after lots of discussions with Will and others, I have began to s l ooooo wly put my emotions aside and really get a sense for what will be the best for Sophia.

Here's the breakdown- Sophia shuts down mainly when prompted by a teacher to respond- in either a social setting (IE- needs to ask a friend to give a toy back) or to answer an academic question. Sometimes these shut downs escalate into a fit- crying, kicking shoes off, etc.. although this has not happened since December. We met with the teacher in January and put together a plan of action- where they were going to let Sophia visit a "quiet corner" or alone spot along with six options for coping- some examples of these are "Take a deep breath, "Hug a stuffed animal," and a timer is set for a certain amount of time, giving a time limit for time spent in the alone spot. If she continues to escalate or continues in shut down mode- she gets sat in time out for 4 minutes and tries the process over. This has been working wonderfully and she has decreased the amount of times needed sat in time out. She also has been requesting alone time BEFORE she shuts down, which is a plus as well. Teachers and a specialist from AEA are happy with her progress but fear that once she enters Kindergarten and these supports will no longer be there; Sophia will have difficulties, again. Her academic development is on track and they recommended continuing to Kindergarten, but they worry that if she continues to experience these shut downs, eventually they will interfere with learning, if they haven't already. They are encouraging us to get her evaluated for eligibility for an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan. She does not need a medical or mental health diagnosis to qualify, just identified as an "individual of need."

I still have a BIG part of me that wants to show these teachers a specific, not so appropriate gesture and remind them that she is ONLY FOUR, PEOPLE!!! AND THAT SHE IS SHY, INTROVERTED, SENSITIVE AND... but then I think about how her behavior COULD be perceived by a teacher- DEFIANT, OPPOSITIONAL and I do NOT want my daughter to be cast aside as a naughty, annoying student and get sat alone or sent to the hallway, just the thought of those images breaks my heart. So, IF she is eligible for an IEP- she will only benefit. She will benefit by HOLDING the teachers to provide those supports for her when/if she needs them. They will be LEGALLY accountable for not casting her aside and sitting her at a table all by herself. (Yes, I have seen this happen, even in preschool settings) So, with that bottom line- we will go forward and get the evaluation. Do I still have reservations? Yes. Do I think she needs an IEP? I still really do not know. But, I know we can only go forward from here and I think this is the best next step for us. See- clear as mud.

On another note, we had a wonderful weekend and I can't tell you what a little sunshine and time spent outdoors does to lift one's mood. We spent Saturday taking a little road trip to Marshalltown and spending time with my family. We then ordered Zeno's pizza to take home- if you haven't had Zeno's pizza in Marshalltown- you. need. to.  It's seriously greasy, gooey yum. We spent some lazy nights watching movies and eating ice cream once the girls went to bed and then today, spent the morning at KidsFest and the afternoon outside getting seriously dirty from all the melting snow in the backyard.

LOVING being outside...

Fun at KidsFest
A REALLY ROUGH draft of Saidey's 2nd birthday party invites
She's ready to go!
How we spend the majority of our Friday nights