I was very nervous about our ARD meeting last spring. We are in a unique situation. We live in one city, but are zoned for schools in another city, our HOME school. But because Aubrey has a hearing impairment, she actually attends the Regional Day School for the Deaf, which is in a third city:) Luckily, there has been a great unity between our home school and the deaf ed program that she has been in for three years of preschool and they have always maintained that it was in her best interest to be in that program. We are blessed that we haven't had to fight for what we wanted for her. They knew what was best for her and they provide it.
We were also blessed with the program that is set up. She is NOT in a general education class all day. I'm so glad for that. I don't believe she would have thrived in a classroom full of 20 kids. I think she would have struggled. I think more adjustments would have had to be made. I know that sometimes integration is what so many want for their kids, but I don't think that would be in her best interest. Her hearing impairment is what is the blessing here, because it puts her into a different class.
In the mornings, she is with Ms. Hall and her 5 other deaf ed friends. Yup, she is in a class that has only 6 children in the morning, and some of them also have other health impairments. It is a Total Communication classroom just like she had in preschool. So they sign and speak everything. This allows her teacher to really teach her at the level that she is at in those morning subjects. She integrates for recess in the morning with ALL the other kindergarten classes and then integrates into the general education class after lunch for center time, science, art, music and gym, with Mrs. Godfrey. I feel like those areas of the day are great times for her to be with the general education kids and I think she is doing well at those times of the day.
She gets so much one on one in the morning and I think that has made all the difference in her success so far. She is doing so well in school. She loves going every morning. She is excited about her homework and has shown very little frustration about school.
I'm so excited to hear some bits and pieces from her day. And when I say bit and pieces, it's just that. Example: Today, we had oranges for lunch and she signed, "Amy, orange". Me: Amy (classmate) had an orange yesterday/ Aubrey: "yes. buy orange" Me: Amy buys her lunch? And she got an orange yesterday? Aubrey: "yes!" Whether that is true, I have no idea, but at least she told me something about her day at school.
We feel blessed with the school and program that she is in, but rest assured, if it wasn't, we would fight for what we wanted and needed for sure. There are still things we are working through with the school and I'll share that later this month.
I want to encourage you to really search out and look at all the options for your children and don't compromise. Surround you and your child with people and teachers and therapists that love your child and will help you fight for your child's best interests. They answer endless questions from us and they always help us get to where we need to be for Aubrey.