The new school year has begun for many of us, which means another year of IEP’s. For some parents, it’s their introduction into the world of Special Education. The pre-school assessments might be their first experience hearing about their child’s areas of strengths as well as areas of needs. As we all know, the latter is much more difficult to deal with because when our son or daughter was born all we were concerned about was making sure they ate, slept and had on a clean diaper. The thought of having a child with special needs was not on the list of concerns. So when a few years pass in a child’s life and they begin to show signs of developmental delay, behavioral problems, etc…parents have to ask the hard question “does my child have special needs?”
If parents cannot afford private therapy or they are unaware of any Non-Profit Agencies for help; families must look to their public school system when their child is ready to enter pre-school. The Pre-School Assessments will not only evaluate a child’s present levels of performance, it will also look at Kindergarten readiness. As we all know a typical three year old child is not ready for Kindergarten, but a special needs child has a much higher mountain to climb to achieve that goal. I realize it’s difficult to think that far ahead but all parents must look at the journey from Pre-School to Kindergarten. Because that journey needs to prepare them to be able to function in a group setting with other children in order to be educated. I had to learn this as well, even though my son was lucky enough to receive private therapy for a few years.
My son had been receiving private Speech, Feeding and OT therapy long before his IEP. I thought I knew everything about him. I didn’t focus on the big picture of Kindergarten because my son had a lot of private therapy; I figured he would be fine in a few years. However, when I had him assessed for an IEP I was surprised to read the results. I assumed he would be further a long because of the private therapy he had been receiving. The IEP team reminded me that the school district’s responsibility to look at whether a child’s disability will impact their ability to access the school’s curriculum. That is so true, because that is what IDEA is all about.
My son ended up in a Pre-School Mixed class; which was the best placement for him. Don’t get me wrong, he still struggled a lot in Kindergarten, but placing him in a more restrictive environment for pre-school allowed him to learn and develop skills needed for Kindergarten.
As my blog title states “Pre-School Assessments Serve Many Purposes.” Whether your child is being assessed for the first time or they have been receiving private therapy, Pre-School Assessments are a window into your child’s abilities, disabilities and classroom readiness. Look to them as valuable information for the future of your child’s education.