I mentioned in a previous post about having Belle evaluated by the preschool special education department in our town. This consisted of one visit in a classroom with the two of us, and a team of three teacher/therapists from the special ed department. They basically shooed me out of that meeting, but not before they committed, at my request, to doing an in-school evaluation of her.
First, I want to say how impressed I am that they actually did this for me. I’m sure this department is already incredibly overworked with a busy caseload of kids with much bigger and more obvious issues than Belle has. The head of the preschool department visited her at her daycare for about an hour and a half on each of two occasions, about three weeks apart. Last week she met with me and her preschool teacher from the day care to go over her findings.
As I already knew, she doesn’t qualify for any special ed services. None of her behaviors are interfering with her learning, the standard to be met. But, she did have some suggestions for me and the teacher. They center mostly around what she called “heavy pressure” activities – basically giving her things to do which require muscle involvement. Belle is a dominant personality with two speeds: fast and faster (aka hard and harder). At school this could be enlisting her help in rearranging furniture, stapling pictures on the wall, holding a door open when going inside/outside and holding a squeeze toy during circle time. At home, I could have her carry the heavy grocery bags inside, have her help sweep, mop, wipe down tables and countertops and carry laundry upstairs. All good suggestions, and I’ll try to incorporate some of them more consistently.
I also learned a few things about my daughter. One of my fears for her is that she has limited social skills. She seems to be the champion of negative behavior, and I don’t see her developing friends in the same way Krystal did at this age. But the special ed teacher said she observed her being very caring and empathetic to other children during her visit, and her teacher said she is a sought after playmate. All very welcome news to me, since I don’t see this from her at all. I only see her being nasty to her sister and aggressive with the kids in the neighborhood when a group is playing at our house.
She also said how smart she is, and on this I have to agree. Belle is very intelligent and has made some really insightful observations about the world. Can I think of any good examples right now?? Of course not!!
And on our visit with friends this past weekend I got some interesting observations from them too, who haven’t seen her since Christmastime. They thought she seemed “softer”, which is hard for me to see, seeing her everyday, but is encouraging to think that perhaps she’s maturing after all.