We recently had our 3-year-old son Buki evaluated by the school system here in Chicago. (Actually we’re in a suburb and we purposely chose it for the quality of its school district, and I’m thankful we did.) Last Friday we met with the school district for the IEP meeting. I was so worried that they were going to deny him services and that we would have to fight them.
My husband and I arrived for the meeting and there were at least 8 other people there. It was intimidating, but I was glad that they were willing to have so many people meet with us about our son. They quickly went over the results from the evaluation (including the fact that they believe he has Asperger’s Syndrome). At the end of that, they talked about the things that qualified him for services. At that moment I felt so relieved. They agreed with us!
Then they talked about placement. There’s a bigger Pre-K that they were thinking of putting him in, but it would be 20 students and two or three teachers and aids. I originally thought I would want him to be with his typical peers, but after hearing the description, they just didn’t sound like the right fit for him. He needs more attention and direction than that.
Their Early Childhood preschool has 5 other students in it. There is a teacher and two aids. In our meeting, the teacher said, “We can help him. I’m already thinking of ideas for him!” I almost started crying – these people actually care and want to help my son. I could feel it, and it just warmed my heart. We all came to the conclusion that for right now, Buki needs the Early Childhood preschool.
In addition to preschool, he’ll be getting some OT and speech therapy each week as well. They are offering him everything I had hoped they would and then some. And the fact that I feel how much they care about Buki…my eyes started welling up with grateful tears during the meeting. I don’t know if they can possibly understand how amazing it is and how different from our experience with the school district in Georgia. I am very thankful to be here in Chicago where we can get my boy the services he needs.