Several weeks before school ended a meeting was lined up to discuss William, his progress, his needs, and what our options are. It was sort of like an IEP meeting, but not. The attendees were me, Will's teacher, the school psychologist, the speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and I believe there was another professional there but don't remember her role.
We are blessed to have wonderful people working with Will who want him to succeed. I have nothing but praise for our experience here with the school.
To start we re-established the basis that William will be staying in Preschool and not attending Kindergarten in the fall. We all agree this is the best thing for him.
Then we discussed Will's progress. He has been making wonderful progress in all areas of development, but is not quite at an age appropriate level. He recognizes most of his letters and can count quite well. He can even write his first name fairly legibly.
The biggest hurdle is his speech (no surprise there). It affects how he interacts with his peers, it limits how well he can answer questions and contribute to class discussions, and it drastically limits his ability to learn phonics when he can't even make the sound necessary to state the letter sound. But, he is improving!
We also discussed how we (collectively, all of us - parents, teachers, therapists) want to see occupational therapy and possibly even physical therapy included during school. He does receive it privately, but he would benefit from additional help. His pencil grasp is not good. His gross motor movements are still awkward. We just want more focus on his weaknesses to shore him up for his future.
All of this basically means that the school wants to do more testing. They also want to do a sensory assessment since he is an avoider of things he is unfamiliar with (textures, food, etc).
What was hardest for me to take in was what the psychologist discussed. Will has had some IQ assessments and did not score well on them. He is in the below average range by 2 points. Like, the mentally challenged section. So now they want to look at a possibly cognitive disability. This is all preliminary and a full IQ test will be done in the beginning of August. The psychologist told me that they actually cannot give a fully accurate IQ test until age 7, but if they have a record of previous IQ tests and he consistently scores in a certain area it is a better picture of what he really is like.
The thing is, the psychologist explained that when working with Will it is quite obvious that he is a child who has had A LOT of therapy. They can't figure out if he is not testing well because he just doesn't care, he doesn't know, he doesn't want to try, can't communicate what he knows, or what! It is possible that he doesn't want answer the question so he knows that if he flippantly starts pointing to things they will move on. Or maybe it is hard and he's just done working and doesn't want to think it through. Or maybe he does know the answer but can't express it correctly. Everyone who has worked with him say he's intelligent, but a question mark. There's something about him they just can't figure out.
After the meeting I had a lot of emotions. He's still the same boy I love, regardless of where that IQ number lands on the chart. It was hard to take in and accept though. And another "mourning period" began for a couple days... just takes time to wrap my brain around the information and face the fact this is what we are currently dealing with.
I talked with a friend of mine who is also a school psychologist. I was able to work through some of my thoughts and concerns with her, and have her explain things from the professional side, which was helpful.
And then, just by chance, a couple weeks later that same friend came over to babysit the kids while Ryan and I were out. After I got home she chatted with me about Will. She calmed some of my fears and bolstered me up. In her opinion she does not see a cognitive disability. She was surprised at how smart and clever and intelligent William is. She agrees that his speech is dramatically limiting how much he can show that he knows and is pretty sure he will score in an appropriate IQ range, if not now, then when he is better able to communicate.
Now school has ended and I am working with both kids at home. I'm not sure how many days a week we'll be working, but I have begun a modified homeschool curriculum to work with (mainly) Will during the summer. Alanna is just participating because she's there, but she loves it. I'm using Handwriting Without Tears. I'm not completely certain of all the things we'll be working on, but right now we're working on writing and recognizing letters, letter sounds, drawing a person (Mat Man), proper pencil grasp, and cutting with scissors.
Our work is going well. I'm trying to make it fun. And I hope it helps my kids... both are "enrolled" for preschool in the fall, though we're not sure if Lana will actually get a slot. I'm not sure how well I'm cut out for the homeschooling mom role... we'll see how this summer goes.