Last week we completed the weeks-long process of having Will evaluated by our school district to determine if he is eligible for early intervention services to address his vision impairment. At this point he doesn’t qualify, which is actually good news. It means his academic skills are right where they should be for a child his age.
Although they acknowledge that he has a visual impairment, some easy classroom modifications are all that is needed currently to keep his development continuing on par with his peers. The acknowledgement of his visual impairment will make it easier for us to get the correct accommodations when he starts kindergarten. The accommodations they outlined are:
- Preferential seating during circle time
- Verbal directions for some finger play songs
- Using high-contrast materials for early writing and cutting projects
- Awareness that Will may not be able to discern facial queues unless at close range
- Use of a second copy of a book to follow along with the teacher during reading
Back in October I spoke with the principle at Jack’s school about Will, understanding that he was two years away from Kindergarten, but wanting to understand the process for evaluation now. She directed me to our district’s ChildFind program, which provides early intervention services for preschool age children. After speaking with the school psychologist of an area elementary school who participates in the screenings, Will was scheduled.
At the initial screening in early November, it was concluded that Will needed a more formal evaluation to determine if he qualified for early intervention services, which could include placement in a district preschool. As part of the evaluation, a teacher for visually-impaired students observed him in his preschool class and evaluated him at her office.
Also in November we moved Will to a different, more traditional-style preschool, which better fit his needs. Even though the teachers at his new school had only known Will for a month, they were very accommodating and actively participated in the evaluation. Among the conclusions, the report showed that Will’s new teachers had already started to incorporate some of the recommendations in the report, in anticipation of his needs. We have been so happy with this move and are delighted with their openness to helping Will. And the ultimate proof is in Will’s demeanor – he asks frequently if he can go to school on non-school days.
This is great news that Will is performing right where he should be for a child his age and we feel like we have the right support system in place and a plan that will ensure his future success.