What a difference a year makes

A month (or so) in from start of school and yesterday I met with the local school district director, speech therapist and preschool teacher to discuss John’s outstanding IEP from Hawaii. As it stood in May, he still required services, largely in the speech department, but with their full inclusion preschool he would also be challenged academically.

It’s amazing the difference of a year and fresh players to the scene truly make. These ladies have not known John when we at home could barely make out 40% of what he wanted, screaming fits were the release of a very frustrated child and oodles of tears in the midst of hugs were the daily norm. They did not know the helplessness of a mom who didn’t know how to help her little one and constantly heard “he’ll grow out of it” from loved ones an ocean away.

No, they see John as he is now. Eighty percent legible in public, as long as he’s not talking about Alvin & the Chipmunks at a rapid pace, counting to 20 (50 on a good day), identifying his ABCs, singing songs, playing with other children, cutting on lines, coloring within lines, drawing a person with 12 body parts…tasks some Kindergarteners have not yet mastered.

John’s level of functioning is beyond grade level academically and although he will still receive speech help, solely for the sound of “p”, their initial assessment and recommendation for me was to discontinue services, as he’ll likely pick up the remaining bits of missing speech from his peers this preschool year and transition seamlessly into Kindergarten next school year.

As a mother, it is the best possible news I could have received. My goal when we started down the IEP path was for John to enter Kindergarten without NEEDING speech services and that is a very real possibility at this point. Tears previously for an aching heart, now shed for utter joy.

Johns tale

Click photo for video to play (crossing fingers this works)

* A special thank you to the ladies in Calvary Chapel of Honolulu preschool care room. They were bold enough to suggest I seek help for John’s speech, although they had no idea how it would be received. It was the push I needed back then. And of course a HUGE MAHALO from the bottom of the McNulty hearts to Ms. Goode and Ms. Tindall of Shafter Elementary. I will love them forever!