Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Interesting Day

Yesterday was an interesting day. My first day "back" after my little teeny tiny retreat. I didn't get much done in the hotel, but I did spend some time in JoAnn Fabrics and Michael's without the kids or husband causing a commotion! Woo hoo! I also watched Harry Potter and the Escape from A....

On Monday mornings Cali's special ed teacher comes to our house, and Calista was in a great mood. She didn't cry the whole time! But she did have a lot of her sensory issues, like running into walls and falling onto the floor. Then she just laughs.

The big deal was in the afternoon. The early intervention program here in NJ has a social worker on staff, which I didn't know about until one of Calista's other therapist told me about it and actually gave our name to the social worker. Anyway I met with him yesterday afternoon. I was not familiar with what a social worker does, so this was all VERY new to me. He assesses our needs and if he feels we need services then he writes that up. Well it turns out he used to be a social worker / case manager for a public school child study team (Colton is in the child study program for his autism)! He knows all this stuff about what our rights are in regard to Colton and when the school says "we don't offer social skills training" they should be saying "we will get you social skills training even if it is not at the school", etc. So, although in theory he is here because of Calista he can also help us out with Colton's issues! I asked him if he felt we should see that advocate for $250/hour, and he said at least do the consultation with her (2 1/ 2 hours) and see from there, but he might be able to help as well. Fair enough. Sounds good to me! He asked me what we had requested from the child study team and what they have denied (pretty much everything) and told me that they are really "preying on my naivity" - ummmmm.... yeah.

We are also looking for ways to give us a break, since we don't have family in the area (we moved from the midwest in 2000, although my mom now moved about an hour away but works full-time) we would really like a mommy's helper or something. The kids are wonderful and I love them immensely but I need to do laundry, clean, etc once in a while! So, I mentioned that to the social worker.

He then told me about a place that might be beneficial for Calista, called Learn-A-Way (Statement of Goals/philosophy: "Provide a daily structured environment from September - July for children under 3 with delays or disabilities geared toward development of the child's skills in which they are delayed")

It is run by the "Association of Retarded Children" in our county so it is partially subsidized.  There is a full-time nurse on staff with a ratio of 5 kids per teacher / aide, and a full-time social worker on staff.  I was always told by the drs that Calista should not be put in daycare due to her asthma being so severe (a common cold can put her in the hospital for weeks), but now with Colton going to school he is bringing it home anyway, ykwim? Calista never gets to meet kids her age (almost 17 months), they are always Colton's age (3 1/2) or older. So, with a nurse on staff, she would be able to monitor Cali's breathing and / or neurological issues a bit during the time she is there. I am not sure how much this program would cost since it is on a sliding scale... but I might look into it even though no one has ever watched Calista beside Jeff and my mom! I am so nervous!

Anyway, social worker is recommending services twice a month for 2 hours a session to discuss community resources for the kids and for us, advice with the child study team, help getting calista enrolled in some socializing programs, etc. To think I never even knew this type of thing existed!