I am so excited to send Angela off to preschool in the fall. For most kids preschool really isn't that big of a deal, but for Angela is signifies something huge -- something bigger than I can even wrap my mind around. With the excitement of the endless possibilities this school year will hold, also come lots of planning -- the part that's not quite as exciting.
I'm waiting to hear back on a date to have Angela evaluated for her IEP. Since Angela didn't receive any services this past year we will need to start over as if she never had an IEP. For those who are new to this story, we decided to reject Angela's IEP last year after the school district was not willing to compromise on the number of therapy hours they wanted her to receive. Basically, they wanted more and we wanted way less -- we wanted her to have time to be a three year old and enjoy life. Since they were unwilling to work with us, we decided to not do services through the school district. Let me tell you -- this was the best decision we ever made. It's not for everyone and oh, did I get lots of mean comments about our decision, but looking at Angela now -- I'm so proud that I stuck with it and did things a little different.
This year she is ready. I have no doubt. Last year I felt so uneasy about her IEP meeting -- this year I've got big plans and goals and I'm excited to get them all together -- to let Angela's needs be known and help the district help Angela reach her full potential.
Two weeks ago I received paperwork in the mail that needed to be filled out prior to her evaluation. I about freaked when I got it. It basically was three standard questionnaires. I hate questionnaires and feel that no child should ever be defined using standardized norms. After all, what person on Earth is really normal? Who gets to decide what normal is? I sent them all back blank. I know they are simply a tool the school uses, but I refuse for my children to be defined on paper. According to that questionnaire Angela would score with little to no function. Although they say they don't look at those until after actually seeing the child -- I don't care. They will learn about Angela's awesomeness when they see her in person. It's just the way it needs to be -- it should be that way for every child.
I look at my children and I see children first. I see two beautiful little girls who are smart and have so much to teach and show this world. I see a little boy who has fought so hard to survive and who is busting out of his shell that has held his little mind and body captive for two years. I refuse to let anyone see anything different.
I'm excited to walk into that evaluation room and show them that us Owens' do things a little different. I will choose to be open minded and teachable and will demand that the same respect is returned. I'm excited and confident because the past two years of hard work has paid off. Like I said in previous posts -- I refuse to hold my baby girl back. There are risks, but they are worth taking. Angela deserves autonomy -- a chance to become her own little person to live her own life outside mommie, but rest assured mommie will be right behind her pushing and cheering her on.
I look at Angela and see a child first. Those silly disabilities mean nothing -- they just make life a bit more interesting!