By Nancy Johnson Horn, Editor
While I love to participate in Wordless Wednesday, I’m going to put some words in. This is about my youngest child. He has come so far, especially since last July, when he started at his special ed preschool.
While he still has a speech delay and some other issues, he’s improving. We haven’t had an easy road with this, as Early Intervention in NYC let us down and it took the right educational evaluator to help (thank you to Hilary Spector at ICCD).
He’s 3 years, 9 months – but his verbal ability is 2 years, 4 months.
But things are getting better. He’s more alert, more talkative, more affectionate, and even eating more. He interacts with the family now. He loves his big sister and big brother. They adore him too — but know that he is kind of a wrecking ball. He’s a joy (but still very wild). I still don’t trust him around doors (when he was 2 he stuck his fingers in a door hinge — luckily he was okay).
I am grateful to his teachers and therapists who have really brought out the best in him. He’s in a 12:1:1 special ed class. His teacher lets me know what he does everyday (how awesome is that). This kid is a fighter and I feel that he’s winning.
This wasn’t my first time with the special education system in NYC. I taught for 6 years with the Department of Ed and both my oldest child, who I will now call “B” and my daughter, “A” have special needs. I’ve said their names on this blog before, but it’s time I stop, as they are getting older and it’s becoming more their story than mine. B was diagnosed with Low Muscle Tone and sensory issues at 3 and a half. He now also has ADD. We got very lucky with “B” – he exhibited enough behaviors that they knew that he needed help. My daughter needed some help and were were lucky enough to get that (but she had to fail Kindergarten last year to make that happen). She’s got fine motor and gross motor skill problems and has blossomed with therapy this year. I am very happy with the ICT classes they are in (half regular ed, half special ed class) that they are in at our local public school in Queens and am so thrilled that they have caring teachers. I was very lucky that our IEP meetings go well and I feel that I am supported by their teachers and therapists.
But I’m angry about the help that Skylar didn’t get. Early Intervention could have been a game changer for him when he was 2 and they denied him. I knew that things were off with Skylar when he stopped talking when he started walking, but wasn’t sure until he was 18 months and still not talking. I applied to early intervention when he turned 2 (and his pediatrician confirmed that he had a 30% delay). Early Intervention came out, tested him and said he didn’t qualify. I kept pushing and finally found the right person to help him. He started in his school on July 1st, when he was 35 months old. He’s made amazing progress and will spend his pre-K year in the same school, continuing to blossom and reach for the stars. Next year he goes into an ICT class (half special ed, half regular ed), in the hopes that he’l start modeling the behaviors of the children who are not in special ed. My goal is to get him mainstreamed in elementary school.
The point of my story is this. If you feel that something is up with your child, keep going. Don’t be quiet. Don’t accept it. Don’t take a no. Keep pushing. Don’t stop pushing. You are your child’s best advocate.