The count down begins... 1/31/11 is the date of my next jaw distraction. Since my last two jaw distractions (Spring of 2010 and Fall of 2009) were cancelled due to upper respiratory infections, my parents are attempting to prevent a third cancellation. Today was my last day of preschool until after the surgery. Today was also my last official therapy/doctor's appointment until after the surgery.
Mommy and Daddy met Grandma Glenda and I at preschool today for my IEP meeting. After hearing how all of my test scores are at age level or above Mommy wasn't surprised when the topic of an appropriate placement for me came up. As my parents learned this summer, the only area where I am having difficulty is articulation. Since the school feels that most of my articulation issues are related to the structure of my mouth and not my hearing loss - I no longer qualify for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind preschool program since hearing loss is not the issue. A representative from Canyons School District (my home school district) was there and the suggestion was to let me finish out the school year at Upland but next fall to begin at Quail Hollow - the Canyons preschool program. There are definately pros and cons to the change. I will be in a "normal" preschool program with typically developing peers without any type of hearing loss. In the long run, the goal was always to mainstream me but my parents weren't quite prepared that it would happen so soon. Obviously, my articulation is not where anyone wants it to be, so I would continue to get speech therapy at Quail Hollow and PT and OT consults if needed for any physical issues related to my upper extremities and balance issues.
The hope was that after the surgery when I was feeling up to it that I would go back to preschool with the hardware still on for several months. Not surprisingly, the school is a little concerned about liability should I fall and knock out the hardware with my history of falling. Apparently the other child in another program who returned with the hardware was wheelchair bound and not a falling risk. So when we left today it was with a lot still up in the air about when I may be returning.
After the placement bombshell, I had my speech therapy appointment with Courtney. We spent some time using the Dynavox communication system. It is definately an "old school" communication device but it does give me some practice using something to be my voice when my speech is difficult for others to understand. After the surgery, my parents will probably look into having an augmentative communication evaluation done. Although my parents don't want it to be a crutch and prevent me from trying to be verbal they also want me to have another option for communication.
With surgery just a few weeks away, my Mommy has been tucking things away for me to take to the hospital to keep me entertained. Hopefully, I will only be inpatient for 3-4 days but from past experience the more I have to do the easier it is for everyone. There were quite a few Christmas gifts that I have yet to play with because Mommy put them in my "hospital bag" immeadiately so they will still be new to me. Mommy is also putting a few things in the bag for her and Daddy as well - tissues, snacks and coffee.
For the next few weeks I will be sticking close to home and away from pretty much everyone except my parents and my Grandma Glenda. So don't be offended if I don't see you for a while - my parents are hoping the third time really is the charm!
Peyton Nicole Smith