Today was Kynsie's IEP meeting. As you may remember, we had a lengthy and productive IEP meeting for Kyan a few weeks back, and left with lots of work to do. It was not depressing by any means, but there was and is certainly a burden of the long road that is ahead with little man. Today was...indescribable. As a parent of kiddos with special needs, I have begun to expect sort of downer meetings. I am by no means used to it, but I do expect it. I knew going into Kynsie's that her teacher Miss Sarah felt that Kynsie had made nice gains, and we felt that she had, but I was not prepared for the information we received. Last year when Kynsie was tested for eligibility for special ed preschool, she tested at 50/100 in speech and 50/100 in occupational/functional skills. She did some better in gross motor areas, but still not stellar. Last year I actually left the meeting in tears. See my blog post from 1 year ago here.
Well today was a different story. Her speech and occupational therapists, along with her teacher were pretty astounded. This year Kynsie tested at 90/100 in speech. That is compared to NEUROTYPICAL (read: normal) peers. That's right. Our little Sissy made more than 1 year's gain, significantly more in 1 year's time. The speech therapist said "this just doesn't happen". Occupational therapist raved about her progress and said "you just don't see this kind of progress in such a short time". Beautiful, fabulous words. Salve to my soul. Affirmation to our actions, prayers, and plans. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. In addition, we talked about the possibility of Kynsie moving into an inclusion class next year. This will mean that she is in a class with a special ed teacher and approx 5 special students, AND a regular ed teacher and 7 typical kids, plus a teacher's aid. Essentially, she would still get extra help for the areas where she needs the help, but she would also be getting a lot of time with typical kids in a more typical setting. This would be a step in the direction mainstreaming for Kindergarten (being in a regular kindergarten class) which is of course our hope for both Kynsie and Kyan. Even so, there is work to be done. Kynsie still has some deficits. She does not participate in pretend play and there are some other social and speech areas that still need fine tuning. At her current school she will begin participating in more inclusive activities with the Governor's pre-k classes of typical 4 year-olds to give her more of that typical interaction and to see how she does. The decision about placement for next year will not be made until the spring. And it may be decided that Kynsie needs another year of regular special ed. If so, that is what we will do. But the mere possibility of an inclusion class delights me. Brandon and I are on cloud nine today. This is by no means the end of her journey, but I do feel like we are on the downside of a VERY large and ugly mountain. There may be more to come, but for now, it feels good to rest in the valley.