This week I decided to be proactive about learning more about these kids, since I have the feeling they may be here a while. Of course, I could be totally wrong about that, too!
I was told they had IEPs, which are individual education plans, by the social workers. All but the oldest child did. I called the school to see about getting copies of the IEPs, and about possibly increasing the number of times Goofy gets his speech therapy. Instead, the school counselor ended up saying I could request a progress meeting, so we did! (It was great timing, since report cards were coming home that day.) I got to meet all the teachers for the 5 kids, plus one of the two speech therapists. It was a wonderful meeting, as I could tell how much each one of them truly loved these kids in my care.
I'll list just a few of the gems we discovered that day.
Daisy was held back in second grade, but swears up and down it was first grade. Either way, good to know. She is now in the highest available math class for her grade, and almost highest in reading and is doing very well, especially now that she gets enough rest each night. She should finish out third grade strongly.
Donald has not yet been held back, and his teacher didn't think her superiors would allow that to happen this year. I don't normally want kids held back, but he has already been labeled as MMR (mild mental retardation) and been getting special services. I was thinking if we could get the label stripped off and simply let him try the whole year again, it might improve his self-esteem by being treated "normally." Both the regular classroom teacher and special education teacher raved about his improvements this school year. He started out so far behind, but is now almost finished with the first of the 1st grade readers (1 of 5 - the rest of his grade is starting the fifth reader now). The improvement in the 3 weeks he has been with me have been amazing, they told me. They were very excited that he might actually test out of special services when that time comes up again.
Mickey has likewise shown huge improvements, and his teacher was full of pride (I think they said he was borderline MMR at the beginning of the school year). He is most definitely ready to start kindergarten in the fall. He will likely continue with speech for a while.
Minnie will have another year of preschool, and continue with speech and occupational therapies, as well as working on her communication and socialization skills. The only goal set for her this school year that she hasn't met yet is to be out of pull-ups completely. And if you've read my other posts, you know just how hard we are trying to meet that one! For my own sanity, if nothing else. :)
Goofy unfortunately will not be "ready" for kindergarten, but has to go anyway because of his age (and because he's in foster care I can't home school him...and not sure I'd want to try in any case). The only letter he can recognize is the one his name starts with. He did get the colors right, and a few of the shapes, though, so perhaps its not hopeless. They also can't increase the frequency of his speech therapy until he moves from "the trailers" into the main school building next year because this therapist travels from school to school and is only physically there twice a week. The teachers and counselor were in agreement to increase it for the next school year, though, as well as in sending home some things for me to work with him on. He is the hardest to understand of any 3-5 year old I've ever known, and very slow and methodical in his self-care. Crazy fast when he tries to play and talk, but slow for most other things. He's an interesting child, and challenging.
The whole meeting made me feel fantastic about having these kids - every teacher was thankful I was able to take all the siblings, and two called me an angel. I would like to say that I am totally NOT an angel, but its nice to know that some see me that way, LOL.
Other than school news, D, D, M & M will soon start visitation with their father on opposite weeks from their mom. I hope it goes well....and wonder if I'll meet him.