Today we had a meeting at preschool to plan for Ashlea's arrival next year. We had quite a few people at the meeting and quite a few things to discuss!
As well as the preschool director and the special needs teacher, the Spastic Centre sent along Ashlea's OT, physio and the early educator. Unfortunately Ashlea's therapist from RIDBC was unable to attend.
Our list of hot topics included the following:
* disabled parking - the preschool are going to apply for a disabled parking space out the front of the centre
* Ashlea's level of supervision - next year there will be a special needs teacher and a teacher's aide to work with the 3 children with special needs. I'm not sure what their needs are but I'm pretty sure one of them is the child I blogged about on Audrey's first day at preschool - who I am guessing is ASD. He has pretty high needs too so I hope the preschool haven't 'bitten off more than they can chew'. Hopefully 2 staff members to 3 children should be plenty. I stressed to them again that they need to have their eyes on Ashlea at all times. And that means ALL TIMES.
* physical handling of Ashlea - we talked about her use of her walking frame and wheelchair, and how we are trying to get away from carrying her around and moving towards her using her mobility aids as much as possible.
* nappy changing - they have a change table but I suggested they use the floor otherwise someone will end up on compo with a back injury from lifting my little pork pie.
* feeding - I am unsure whether I will 'train' the staff myself or see if I can get a nurse from the hospital to come out and do the training. It would feel strange training people to tube feed Ashlea seeing as our 'training' involved being given the equipment and the child and a wave as we were sent on our way!
* vision support - the RIDBC are going to continue to support Ashlea while she is at preschool. As well as providing a visual assessment of the centre, they are happy to train staff and produce large print materials.
* equipment - the funding application for her 2 chairs is under way - I just wanted to make sure today that the chairs had actually been ordered - someone is checking on that!
After all this discussion we won't really know how its going to work until we 'suck it and see'. I'd be interested to hear from other preschool Mums about how the routine works for their child. At the moment I am thinking that on arrival at preschool Ashlea will be in her walking frame so that she is able to walk around to the different activities and participate. At group time she will be in her corner chair on the floor - same as at morning tea. Usually after that they have outdoor play - I'm not sure whether she should be in her wheelchair or her walker at that stage. Which will give her more freedom? Will she be too tired for the walker? Not sure how that will work yet. When they have free time indoors I think she will need to have some crawling time on the floor - it is her primary method of getting around and she will get antsy if she doesn't get to get down on the floor and move around!
The bottom line is that we are going to have to play it by ear and see what works and what doesn't. I'm pretty excited for her to have this opportunity to go to preschool - I really hope she enjoys it and it is a positive experience for her.
I am REALLY looking forward to Tuesdays next year when both Audrey and Ashlea will be at preschool and Emma will be at school. A whole day of freedom. Well a whole 5 hours anyway! I have been counting down the days since the beginning of this year!