Last Thursday, Anna had both her final Early Intervention assessment and an evaluation at the preschool by two therapists. I know, a lot crammed into one day for a toddler who has a painful molar breaking through her gums.
Where we live, children receive services through Early Intervention up to the age of three and then they transition into the public school system. Because Anna's only real "disability" is reduced muscle strength, she is not being automatically accepted at the preschool. Public preschools here are set up for children with some type of learning disabilities (and I really hate to use the word disability). Half of the class consists of children who qualify for services at the school while the other half of the class consists of "peer models."
It has been mentioned to us a few times by the school system that Anna may qualify to receive physical therapy, which to me is a given, but will not automatically qualify for a seat in a classroom. If this occurs then we will attempt to have all three girls accepted as peer models.
We do have a few things going for us. Competition is not as much of an issue as I know that the school has had open seats for the past few years. When I met with the school back in December, they still had open seats. They operate on a rolling enrollment. We are actually lucky to live in a town with a decent school system, which is part of the reason why we decided to move here. After chatting with a friend of mine, who lives in a Waltham (which is considered a city of Massachusetts, not a town), I discovered that our town has more than double the preschool classrooms than Waltham.
And, I think the school would be crazy not to take the girls. Their speech is phenomenal, and this is not just a Mommy opinion. I have heard this from Anna's therapists as well. We can easily understand 90% of what they say. They talk in long, complete sentences. They know a bazillion words. Their memory is fantastic. Their communciation skills are fantastic. They are creative and inquisitive. And best of all, they love playing with other children and are very sociable.
Anna's EI assessment went well but could have been better. She knew that she was being tested and decided to do what she wanted, which was not what she was supposed to do, and then she clammed up and wouldn't talk. One part of the test was the therapist asking Anna to repeat two non-consecutive numbers. Such as 9 and 2. Anna would not repeat the numbers for her therapist. So guess what? That's right, I have been "testing" her and she can remember and repeat three and sometimes four numbers.
Another part of the assessment consisted of the therapist showing her a drawing of a girl and a boy. Anna had to identify who was the girl and who was the boy. She did that without difficulty but then when she was asked if she was a boy or a girl, she would not answer. I tested her later. Not only did she know that she is a girl but she could go through a whole list of people and identify correctly who is a boy and who is a girl.
Her evaluation at the preschool went well. They did comment that her fine motor skills are good, which we knew. Our main concern is her "big" muscle strength. She cannot run very fast or jump like her sisters. She has difficulty climbing stairs, even with assistance. She tires easily with a lot of walking.
So I will end with these pictures of Anna stringing beads. My heart just about melted watching her concentrate so hard on her task. It was just adorable.