We met with the school district on Wednesday and received our very first IEP. We also received his evaluations. Lots of interesting observations, but the bottom line is that he's at the low end of the normal range for speech and gross motor, and below the normal range for fine motor.
The IEP result - all good news:
- He will attend an integrated preschool four 1/2 days per week. The integrated class is currently 11 children, at least half of whom are typical peers
- For specialty services, he will receive two half hour sessions of speech per week
- With his class, he gets access to an array of group activities geared to motor, physical and social development
To anyone afraid the "autism" label is a one way ticket to some sort of educational ghetto, I can only say: that's not my experience so far. Quite the opposite.
I should also add that while his diagnosis guaranteed placement at the special education preschool, given his social and communication function, in all likelihood, he would have nevertheless qualified. The children that I know of who have gone to the same school didn't have a diagnosis, including a neighbor of mine.
One final note. I considered sending Brad to Montessori or a regular preschool. While I appreciate that Montessori is regarded as cultivating free thinking in children who break the typical mold, at this age, Brad needs structure and routine, not broad freedom. As for regular preschool, I was reminded of this essay in which Kerry Cohen writes:
When I picked him up from our first stab at a regular preschool, one where special needs kids were supposed to be welcome, I always had to brace myself for their day's account. He didn't listen. He cried and cried and they didn't know why. He wouldn't sit with the other children during story time.I wonder if this isn't an inevitable result for SPD and PDD kids, the result of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Why subject Brad to that?