Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pre-CPSE Meeting

We had considered canceling the pre-CPSE (for those not in the know, CPSE stands for the Committee on Preschool Special Education) meeting because of all the medical appointments we knew we would have this spring. We decided to reinstate the meeting once we had all the dates nailed down for Nolan's future medical procedures.

This meeting is not the official transition meeting, but just a "meet and greet" to let the district know about Nolan and to get a feel for what his needs are. Everything went great until we started discussing what Nolan would need once he started pre-kindergarten. There were two things the special education chairperson paled at: a teacher of the deaf (TOD) for Nolan and an FM system.

Children in the preschool age group are at a distinct disadvantage. They are no longer covered by Early Intervention, but are not yet covered by the services offered in school. Frankly, a 0-5 age group for Early Intervention makes more sense, but the system isn't set up to be practical. Thus, the TOD cannot consult on Nolan's education until he is in kindergarten, which will be in 2012-2013.

When we mentioned an FM system, the chairperson got excited and said, "every room in our elementary school has an FM system!"

"No, we don't want a sound-field for Nolan. We want a personal, ear-level FM system. Not now, but by pre-kindergarten."

Her demeanor changed slightly. Oh, we were those parents. The ones who know what their child needs to succeed in the classroom and won't back down. The ones who aren't afraid to break out the "equal access to his education" phrase. Darn those pesky IDEA laws.

She did state that he cannot have an FM system until kindergarten, even if he attends pre-kindergarten at their school. They might not have enough, you see, and if they don't have an extra one laying around... then he doesn't get one.

The school district isn't responsible for funding technology until kindergarten, and he isn't in Early Intervention for preschool. It will be very interesting to see how this will be covered, because he will have a personal FM system for pre-K. I don't care which agency covers it- he has to have one. It's the law.

The meeting wasn't negative in any way, but I did sense that we might have a fight or two coming up over technology. To be fair, the school district has never dealt with a child who needed assistive technology (AT) at such a young age. This is new for them, and it looks like we're going to pave the path for families who follow after us. Hopefully, by the time we're through the preschool years, the system will be "smoothed out" for any other mainstreamed children who require AT at the preschool level.


Pattie said...

What better parents to pave the path but the two of you!

I am sure you will be getting that system.

I love the spunkiness of this post, too! GO Mama!

Herding Grasshoppers said...


If anyone can do this, I know you can :D

Ironically, we had kind of the opposite situation... I wasn't crazy about putting Tate in preschool (because I didn't think he needed the special services), but I knew it would take several months for the district to cough up an FM. So we enrolled him in preschool in part so we would have the FM in place by Kindergarten.

I don't get why the district that is providing the special ed. preschool thinks they're not responsible for the equipment??? Or providing a TOD? That doesn't even make logical sense - it's in the district.

I can understand that they aren't going to yank an FM system that's already allocated to another student. I can understand that it may take time to procure one.

Duh.... that's why you're meeting with them NOW, to GIVE them that time.

You go girl!

Ericka said...

If he is going to be on an IEP, I'm pretty sure you can fight for an fm system. Though first they are going to throw LRE (least restrictive environment) at you. For some reason the schools think that a speaker next to your child is not as restrictive as a personal fm system. Then they will have to trial both systems to see what gives better results. And naturally, the personal fm system is going to give better results and they will cave. :) That was just our experience though that was in a first grade classroom not preschool. Good luck! I will be fighting for an fm system as soon as they decide whether or not Miles will get an IEP.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, as far as I'm concerned her comment that he won't have an FM until Kinder is FIGHTIN' WORDS!

You'll have a really interesting experience with this group, and you'll be teaching them quite a bit along the way. And of course you'll do it with style and ease!

leah said...

The funny thing is, we don't really care about the FM system for regular preschool (Nolan goes to a private Christian preschool with very dedicated staff and only 16 kids in the classroom). We really want it for Pre-Kindergarten (in New York state, public school starts at age four with universal Pre-K) because of the classroom dynamic (more kids, less staff).

We only want the TOD on board for monitoring through his preschool years, since Nolan is at age level (we want her to check in every month or so just to make sure he's keeping up in the classroom). Also, I'd like to have her on board as a consultant to his education.

Ironically, they are willing to pay to send him to their preschool for children with developmental disabilities, but we don't think that is a good fit for him. We want him with typically developing language models, so a mainstream setting is more appropriate.

If only FM systems were a little cheaper- we'd buy one ourselves!

xraevision said...

Oh, we really have so much in common! My husband and I just attended our local monthly meeting parents of deaf children and the topic was Getting Your Kids Ready for School. I have so much to blog about, if only I could muster up the energy to organize my thoughts . . . and I will eventually. Just want you to know that your blog has been really informative for me regarding preschool and issues that had never occurred to me!

Herding Grasshoppers said...


You may find, eventually, that you do want to buy your own FM system for personal use. Never, never, never, let it go to school!

We have one at home for Tate. It's very helpful in certain situations, like...

* family bike rides - hard for Tate to hear us calling directions, or hear traffic with a bike helmet covering up his hearing aid (and hearing in only one ear, it's hard for him to tell where sounds are coming from)

* family outings to crowded places, like the Science Center, or the Zoo - he can't hear us calling to him over the noise of the crowd, yet he's old enough not to need to be "glued to my side"

* soccer games - he can't hear the coach calling in directions, and often doesn't hear the ref's whistle. They blow very softly because the fields are all side by side - it's even hard for us hearing folks to tell which whistle is blowing!

Just something to think about for the future. And your audi and/or your Children's Hospital can probably help you find funding :o)

leah said...

That is a good point... I never thought about bike rides, etc. We also ski, and I can imagine hearing on the ski slopes would be difficult without an FM system (and signing wouldn't help, since we all have gloves/mittens on).

I wonder if I can find one on Ebay, lol...

lbre969903 said...

Evan entered pre-school at age 3 and the school provided him w/a personal FM and we were allowed to take it home. I would continue with that one.. It is so beneficial!! Also I was under the impression if your school district has a d/hh child in their district they have to have a TOD on staff. It can just be a contract but they have to have one. I will say this... It does get easier or I believe it does! Good Luck!!

leah said...


We have a TOD in our school district- but she isn't allowed to work with the preschool kids.

In the dumbest move EVER, NY state places kids in the 3-5 under the school district, but then requires all services to be provided by the county. SO the district TOD isn't allowed to work with Nolan until he is in Kindergarten, even if he attends universal pre-K at their school! Sigh...

We are working with the school district to get the TOD on the "county list."

Julia said...

This makes me worried about our CPSE meet-and-greet on Tuesday. I was hoping we'd get an easy process because we're(probably) "only" asking for an FM, but the resistence they gave you doesn't bode well for us. I'll let you know what happens. Hopefully (in regards to the more recent post above) Nolan will stay germ-free and all will go well on Tuesday.