Friday, February 12, 2016

First Grade and IEPs

First a Little About the Grown ups

The kids went back to school the first week of January. I worked 40+ hours through their entire brake and I felt bad about it. I felt like I needed something. A change. I didn't really know what, just something. SO I got on the job sites and started applying again. There wasn't much there, but I did apply for one job. The next day I got a phone call, I was at work so I called them the next day and set an interview for the next week, on my one day off. I got the job. Its part time, but since it pays more I didn't lose much money, in return I get to take my kids to school everyday. I get to be off every weekend. And I work with people who care. When they asked in my interview "how many days in the last month have you had to take off?" I panicked  little and decided to be honest. I told them that I had taken more than I'd like. I told him that the job I had working was full time 8-5 and that I had a children and that I had just found out that my youngest was deaf in one ear. I explained that since I worked all day, that I had to take off for her appointments. They were just .... understanding. Told me family was always first and that they understood, kids need their moms. I wanted to beg them to give me the job. (haha). I got the job offer the first week in January and Started the next week. I am so thankful for the job and the people I work with. Today I had to take off for the first time. We found out 3 weeks ago that a spot on Jason's nose was Basil Cell Skin Cancer. He had to have it removed today. When I told them, my boss just wanted to know how we were doing and what she could do. She didn't care that I needed time off that was a given. She was worried about me. Yesterday before I left she told me she would be praying for us. This is the kind of atmosphere I was looking for when I started looking for a job. A work family.

Jason is doing well tonight. Resting and healing.

Haleigh is my 5th child. I have done Kindergarten 7 times, as two of my children with July birthdays repeated. This my 5th time doing first grade. Its changed since my first was there, sure but I expected the normal, first grade experience. I am getting something completely different. I know every child is different. I know no two will be exactly the same. I know there is nothing wrong with doing things differently. Its just not what I expected. Haleigh is struggling. I know she is a smart kid, her teacher knows she is a smart kid. there is no doubt about how intelligent she is.

When she started first grade in August we didn't have a clue she needed glasses. She never said anything. She passed the vision screen at the dr the November before. We had no reason to believe she was seeing things any differently than she had in kindergarten. We also didn't know she couldn't hear out of her right ear. She didn't have issues with it that we realized, however hindsight is always clearer. So despite all of Haleigh's challenges, we always expected school to be mostly normal. We were prepared for time off for surgeries (maybe), but not this. We never expected so many other challenges. That's what these are they are challenges that we are overcoming. However it is taking its toll on her.

I talked with Haleigh's teacher for about an hour last week. She sent her progress report home with a note that said to call her. I've talked to her several times about Haleigh before, and I am so thankful for her guidance. My thoughts were that it was about the IEP meeting we have scheduled for The first week of March. It kind of was. She wanted me to know that, while Haleigh's grades don't reflect her progress, she is doing so much better, since she has her glasses and everyone is on her left side. The problem now is, she didn't get the skills everyone else did when she couldn't see things correctly and when she wasn't hearing everything. She missed skills and since she doesn't have those skills she is having a really hard time doing the work everyone else is doing. She is behind everyone else in her class. And while I don't know it for sure, she's probably behind everyone in the first grade who has been there 6 months.

Haleigh's teacher is wonderful. She stays after school on wed. to tutor kids in her class. Haleigh has been going since she started it in September. She also gets puled out and helped in reading for 30 minutes four days a week. It is suppose to be 5, however they have cooking class on Fridays and if you take all the good fun stuff out, there would be nothing for the kids to look forward to. I firmly believe kids need kid time, cooking club is kid time and I will not take that from her. She love it. While this extra help as helped her improve over the last couple week, she is still so far behind. With that her teacher decided she should refer her for an IEP meeting. To see if there is anything the special education program can help with. I honestly don't hold out much hope that it will make difference. (Landon has a TBI and since he is doing well and improving they cant do anything. He does get extra help in reading as well. But not from special education.) None the less, we have an IEP meeting scheduled and maybe we will get something out of it. It will probably come too little too late this year though.

I hate seeing her struggle. Struggling to relearn the right way the B and D and the P go because she wasn't mixing them up like the rest of the kids, she mixed them up because she couldn't see them correctly. I hate seeing her struggle to make the right sounds because she hasn't heard them correctly and when we were teaching her the sound for P and saying pa pa pa .... I have no clue what she herd and no clue what she saw when I held the P up. Its frustrating and not only is she now learning skills we thought she already had, she has to unlearn the wrong ones like hearing "BA" instead of "PA" and seeing "B" instead of a "P".

I'm mad that I didn't know something was wrong earlier. I'm sad that she is struggling so much after all the other things she has dealt with in her very short 7 years. I want her to be herself, not like everyone else. I want her to be able to hold her head high and walk into anywhere and be confident, I want her to be sure of herself, who she is and for her to be comfortable being who she is. I'm just torn on how to get her there.

Chances are she will repeat the 1st grade. We will make that fine. She will not be singled out about it. She wont have to wonder if she could have done better. we know she is doing the best she can with the issues she is dealing with. We know she can learn, we know she is learning, we know that given the chance to hear the right sounds with the right letters she will have the skills she needs. The problem with public or traditional schooling is that they cant go back now and reteach her skills she should have mastered. She's still learning them and that's why she gets pulled out. However she is tested on grade level. She is tested on a 1.6 level. she is preforming on a 1.1 level. Can she catch up in the next 3 months? Well, yes of course she can. Is it likely? No. My hope is that she can overcome this and thrive. That she will not become down on herself and that she will understand, she didn't do anything wrong. That she will understand, that she is smart and special, and that despite the challenges she faces, she can do anything she wants to do.