Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Here we go

I have so much to talk about.
I had the meeting to discuss Bianca's test results. It was with the staffing specialist, a psychologist and two special education teachers. It was determined that Bianca needs special education and will be starting a program this school year. The program is called Self-Contained/Reverse Mainstream Classroom. Here is the description:

The prekindergarten self-contained classroom may serve one exceptionality exclusively, such as a class for children with autism, or it may serve more than one exceptionality with 4 typical Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) children referred to as a reverse mainstream class in a full day program (8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.). Although all children placed in a self-contained classroom are disabled and may be functioning at various levels of abilities, each child's individual needs are met in the daily program. Children have opportunities to interact with other non-disabled children through a variety of different experiences such as eating lunch, playing outside, cooking, reading, or field trips. Many classrooms have 4 nondisabled children who participate as age appropriate role models (through a screening process) for the children with disabilities.

In order to provide an appropriate program for this population, a child-adult ratio of approximately 6 to 1 is recommended (a class size of approximately 14 children with one teacher and one full-time aide/assistant).
Sounds good, and I am hoping that it is as good as it sounds. They all knew the teacher of that particular school, and they all agreed that she was great. She also has two autistic children.

We should have had Fifi's meeting at the same time, but they had an open spot and called me last minute not realizing that they were twins. They should be calling soon for Fifi's and we will be more prepared with questions as to what kind of approach they use etc. Hopefully this time they will call us with enough time so that Dan can come with me.

We went to the Neurologist yesterday where we were told without a doubt that the girls have autism. He said he would not even put them in the PDD category. They are definitely autistic. Which broke my heart yet again even though I was not expecting any different. It just doesn't get any easier to hear those words, no matter how many times you hear them.
They need to start therapy as soon as possible. He recommended ABA therapy, which is not surprising since it is the only therapy recognized by the "community" for Autism Spectrum Disorders, and speech therapy. He also evaluated Ethan and concluded that he is perfectly fine. He does have some comprehension issues and recommended a comprehensive speech evaluation. I think he is still having trouble hearing and that is the reason for the confused look in his face sometimes. So he has an appointment for the ENT on the 25th, and then we will go from there.

We are now looking for therapies for the girls, which will be done at home by me. I have already spoken to somebody at an ABA therapy place and got some information.
We also need to look for a speech therapy program. I'm looking at a lot of books I will be getting on therapy approaches and will also be taking seminars courses etc. so that I can do everything I can to help my little girls. I have created a wish list on Amazon with some of the books I have looked at in case any of you are interested. It is an old list so there are a lot of other books that have nothing to do with autism in there also. I will be posting the names of the books I have and have read in case anyone is interested in borrowing them.
I am going to create some PECS for them too. These are little cards with pictures or drawings on them so that the girls can communicate better. They use them a lot with autistic children because it is understood that they are very visual, and since it is hard for them to speak they can use pictures to communicate.

There is so much to do. They start school August 20th and I'm so sad they are going to be there for a full day. I wanted to keep them at home as long as possible. They are not going to the same school as Ethan and they have the same schedule so we have to figure that out too. The schools are only about 10 minutes from each other.
I'm also not looking forward to Ethan getting lots and lots of homework as I have heard is the norm nowadays. How will I be able to give him my attention and help when I also have to work with the girls on their therapy? Curve balls all over the place, but we will find a way.
It is a lot to deal with but I know we can do it. The more we do now, the less we will need to do later, and it will all be worth it.

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