Public Preschool for Children with Disabilities. Rosie was evaluated last Monday, which means that the diagnosticians attempted to have her sit still to take standardized tests. My child was having no part of it. Rosie was, however, jabber-jabber-jabbering almost the entire time. The problem was, I was the only individual in the room who could understand a single word of it. The diagnosticians asked me if Rosie could point to an object that was out of her reach, indicating that she wants it. As if on cue, my daughter managed an impressive display of her Jedi powers: Rosie reached up for stuffed dog on top of a bookshelf and gently grunted, as if she’s willing the dog to fly into her hand. It didn’t work. Never works, but who am I to crush her dream? The end of the hour-long session was filled with shrieks, accompanied by flailing arms and feet, of course. I couldn’t help but smile at Rosie. I was beginning to think that she wouldn’t qualify for the Special Needs program in our school district. Then, she really expressed herself! I was both mortified and proud, all in the same moment. As we finished up, I scooped up my still-screaming two year old, tossed her over my shoulder, and headed to the office to sign out. We garnered stares, but since we were in a Special Education Center, the looks on the faces I saw said: “She’s in the right place!” By the time we reached the car, Rosie had composed herself, and was holding up her right hand, attempting to sign ‘I love you’ in ASL. *sigh* I taught her that!

On Thurday afternoon, I went to the ARD (Admission, Review, Dismissal) meeting, to learn the fate of my toddler. I was not surprised when I was told that because this happened at the very end of the school year, and Rosie was not cooperative, the standardized testing was not performed. The diagnosticians had to base their decisions on what I had told them, plus what they had seen of Rosie during the evaluation. It seemed as though the staff there were choosing their words carefully, making sure they used the kindest, safest terminology with me. I held up one hand and said, “You are not going to offend me. I know that underneath it all, we are all here to find the best possible solution for my daughter. You don’t have to sugar-coat anything. I’m just glad that Rosie’s getting the help she needs!” The principal of the school was attending the meeting (a fellow redhead, BTW) and finally spoke up and said, “We all agree that Rosie is an excellent candidate for school next fall, and I’d like to extend an invitation for you to enroll her to begin attending in August.” My heart began to belt out Ella Fitzgerald: At last, my love has come along, my lonely days are over, and life is like a song…”
I know, I know. It’s a love song. I grew up listening to it. When I’m filled with joy, that’s the song that comes to mind – and I feel it all the way down to my toes.
I met Rosie’s two teachers for next year (she’ll be in a class with other ‘regular’ kids), one teacher is Special Ed and the other is General Ed. Rosie will attend regular classes, with the exception of being pulled out of class for two 30 minute Speech Therapy sessions each week. Did I say that I’m thrilled? I am.
So, while Rosie will be attending a Special Ed preschool, she is not disabled. She is just delayed in her speech development. There is no reason to believe that Rosie will continue to need assistance once she begins Kindergarten. Thank you to all my readers who have thought about and prayed over our family situation with Rosie. You have helped!


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