Today was my first step in transitioning to preschool in Utah. It was my evaluation with Early Intervention. I like to make things a little difficult for everyone so as of tomorrow I am officially in the 90 day transition from Early Intervention to preschool. To complicate things further, the school district is getting ready to go out on summer break and I turn 3 right as school is starting for the next year. So basically that means everyone needs to work a little harder and faster to get all this worked out - but everyone is willing to help.
We went to Riverton to the Kauri Sue Hamilton School which is really cool! Kauri Sue Hamilton had been a student in the district many years ago and her family was so happy with the special education she received that they donated land in Riverton to the school district to build a school for special education. The school was beautiful and filled with lots of fun rooms with toys that I would have loved to play with. We had a schedule to keep and first up was meeting the nurse for the medical intake forms. While Mommy answered those questions, I got to play with someone from Early Intervention. I may have been playing, but she was completing an evaluation of my skills. No surprise, although I technically qualify for early intervention services because of my hearing loss - in each of the areas I was tested in I am doing "too well" to really receive any services.
I will be in the Canyons School district and a representative was there to tell me about what they had to offer. I would qualify for the special education preschool class that meets 2 times a week for 2 1/2 hours. However, most of the children in the class are developmentally delayed so she didn't feel like it was the best fit for me. Melody from the Utah Schools For the Deaf and Blind was there as well. She let us know about the two programs they have to offer. In California they still use the total communication method but in Utah they will phase that out this year - so I have two options. The first is a listening and spoken language path that focuses on listening and speaking skills so that children can eventually be mainstreamed into the public schools. The second is an ASL path in which children with hearing loss learn ASL and will spend preschool to 12th grade in an ASL classroom. With the ASL path, I would be provided with a deaf mentor who would come to the house once a week until I am six to teach me and my family ASL and about deaf culture. They believe I can be successful in either program and they want me parents to determine where they want to see me in 20 years - as a hard of hearing adult who lives and works in the hearing world or a hard of hearing adult who is fluent in ASL and embraces the deaf culture. Even if my parents choose the ASL path, it doesn't mean at home that I won't learn to speak and be part of the hearing world around me - and if my parents choose the oral path it doesn't mean I can't still learn ASL - but depending on which path my parents choose will determine where the focus at school will be and what my goals will be in my IEP. Whew - that's a lot to think about! There are pros and cons for each path but Daddy, Grandma and I will visit the preschools next week before they break for the summer to see what they are all about and help in the decision making.
Peyton Nicole Smith