So, once again, we did not get anything we wanted from the schools. I am too exasperated and defeated to get into every detail right now, but basically, the mediator's hands were somewhat tied. In Massachusetts, schools are not mandated to provide education for three year olds. In fact, they don't even HAVE to provide it for four year olds. Since there is no mandatory preschool for three year olds, there is NO curriculm for three year olds as far as what they should be able to accomplish. So, I can't prove that Mairead cannot access curriculum because there is, in fact, NO curriculum to access... if that makes sense. Since I can't prove that she is deficient in any area, they are not legally responsible to provide support services.
This is actually a change in the original problem. They used to pretty much ignore all reports from doctors, etc, and deny that she needed help. Now, they are basically acknowledging that she needs help, but saying they are not legally responsible to provide it at age 3.
Thing is, they aren't. The mediator was pissed at the way they have been handling things and assured me that she made that quite clear during the confidential meeting with them. She said that I am doing everything I should be doing and that she wishes that she could make a recommendation based on the right thing to do versus the legal thing to do. She also suggested that I would probably not 'win' at hearing because, again, there are no clear expectations for three year olds, so I can't prove that she isn't meeting them. So, I will probably not go to due process at this point since I would be spending money on something I can't win.
The only thing that is new is that M's SLP (who we LOVE) and I get to make a list of things we think Mairead should be doing. The teacher in her (regular ed) preschool has to complete the 'checklist' weekly to let us know what she is or is not doing. When Mairead's IEP is up for review in the Spring, we will at least have evidence of what she can and cannot do in a classroom.
I don't even know how to tell you I am feeling about it. I'm angry, frustrated, sad, tired, incredulous, and a few other things. Mostly, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that at least until she is 4, there is nothing I can do to force these people to help her. We are on our own as far as helping our little girl, and that is very difficult to accept.
We already have to accept every day that she is different. That she is not doing what typical three year olds are doing and that she (and other children) is becoming increasingly aware that she is different. I have to accept that I can't have a conversation with my three year old. That she is not going to be able to play a game with me, that she is barely treading water when she should be advancing. WE watch her try to play with other kids and it is like a knife in the heart when she isn't able to. Personal things are hard- she is going to be a flower girl in my brother's wedding in July, and she has no idea what a wedding is, what it means to be a flower girl, or how to anticipate such a fun day.
I am going to stop typing because I am probaby not even making sense at this point. Thanks for all of your advice, support, prayers, and good thoughts. We need them every day and you are always there for us. Thanks, everyone, for understanding how special our girl is.