Kayli has an IEP meeting tomorrow! IEP is an abbreviation for Individual Education Plan. When a child has developmental delays and is 3 years old (or older), the child leaves an early intervention program (home-based therapies) and moves into the public school district. Once in the public school district, the parents and school officials come together to set up a "plan" to help educate the child with his/her fullest potential in mind. The plan I speak of, is the IEP.
Kayli has global developmental delays because she lost apprx 75% her brain size when she had the 32 minutes of anoxia. We, as her parents, had a decision to make for her 3rd bday (a choice we NEVER thought we'd be making!!). we had to decide where/how Kayli would best learn. We met with the school district, and toured a couple of school options to decide what program would be best for Kayli's educational needs. Our options were: at home (with a teacher and therapists to visit weekly), in a local school/in district, or at a special needs school. Some choose to keep their medically fragile child at home, because there are many illness' in a school setting. Although Kayli is medically fragile, we feel she is strong enough to endure the same colds her brothers bring home to her (from their school), and that Kayli would be happiest with friends her age, in a school setting. We chose to place her in an all special needs school. The school she is in, already has all the equipment she needs (smart board, standers, light boxes, etc), special needs curriculum that has already been tweaked through the years, teachers experienced with special needs children/education, and wheelchair accessiblities. With Kayli going to the all special needs school, she is saving our school district money and frustration because they do not have to purchase/provide/train to give Kayli the appropriate learning opportunities that allows Kayli to reach her fullest potential. All our school districts receive gov. funding for every day a child attends school. The funding that our school district gets for Kayli, gets forwarded to the school district that provides Kayli the education. It is a win, win, win...for everyone involved! :D
After picking out the appropriate venue for learning, we also came together with an education and nursing team, to set up an education plan for Kayli (an IEP). In an IEP, we set up learning goals, medical precautions, equipment needs, and all other support needed to educate Kayli at her level of developmental growth. Kayli's IEP includes many therapies. She receives physical, occupational, developmental, hearing, vision, and speech therapies while in school. Kayli is meeting some of the goals that were previously written in her IEP, and she is moving farther away from other goals. This IEP mtg tomorrow will help us as parents, work with the school to adjust Kayli's educational plan. Currently she is using an FM (hearing) system, light box, eye communication devices, and switches. I hope to add use of their standers (she will be in new AFO's/braces in a couple of weeks!), and the use of the school pool for aquatic therapy.
There are many steps in getting a child with a trach into a school aquatic therapy program. Many professionals are not comfortable with the added risks of putting a trached child in a body of water, especially if they are not trained for emergent situations that could develop. Kayli has been in the ocean, takes baths, and frequents public pools in the summer. She LOVES being in any/all bodies of water, because she has Kypho-scoliosis (curvatures of her spine) and the water relieves tension while releasing gravity that restricts her body movements. Kayli will not only enjoy the pain free moments while in the water, but she will learn body awareness, trunk control,and limb control.
What an amazing country we live in, where physically and developmentally challenged people are given equal opportunities to learn on their own level of developmental growth.
If you need help with your child's IEP, please contact me and I will try my best to help you with the guidance and support you need!