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Something to be thankful for.

So this year Hannah started going to the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) at our local elementary school. And, since it's a public school, this program is free. (Well, technically our taxes pay for it but that's a whole other issue.) This is a good thing. They have a summer program too, for the severely disabled children (and thank GOD she isn't that!), but it still leaves me wondering... what on earth am I going to do with Hannah all summer? It seems such a shame that for 3 months her therapy is put on hold. Who knows how much she will retain, how much she will backslide? And with school starting later in the fall, this summer will be even longer than usual.

So I put in an inquiry to the Kemah Early Autism Project, a private education program near us that services the needs of children with various types and severities of autism spectrum disorders. It looks great. One thing I thought was particularly cool was that they integrate typically-developing children into their program, as a role model for the special needs kids. What a neat concept. (Many schools do the opposite, and try to integrate the autistic children into "normal" classrooms.)

The thing that got me, though, was the price tag. This was in their informational letter:
Our client families end up paying fees of $500 - $3000 per month depending upon the numbers of hours and the services selected from our menu of offerings.
Yikes. I am so, so thankful that the public school near us has such a good program, and that Hannah is doing so well there. It makes me indescribably sad to think that if circumstances were different, if we didn't live in such a good school district, that I wouldn't be able to afford to get Hannah the help she needs. They did say that
We are beginning to see client families that are successful in having their private insurance companies reimburse for ABA or Behavior Therapy, particularly those client families associated with the military TRICARE Insurance program.
but that doesn't help us much; even if our insurance would cover her therapy, she would need an official medical diagnosis. Which she doesn't have. And might not be able to get. Yet whether or not Hannah is in fact autistic as the "professionals" define it, there is no denying the improvements in language development, social skills, and behavior that we have seen since she started preschool in August 2006.

I don't know what we'll do this summer. Among other things, I hope there will be summer dance camp, and playdates, and trips to the zoo. Dinner picnics in the park and ice cream for good behavior. Movies at the theater. Playing at the beach, in the sand box, and at the pool. A lot of laughs, and a lot of fun. Right now, I'm thankful for Hannah's preschool, and for the teachers she adores. For the bus driver that brings my baby home safely to me every day. And for Hannah. Most of all, for Hannah.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather, I found your blog through 2Peas, your journal about your daughters autism. Just wanted to drop a line and say 'Hi'...our daughters sound very similar, Molly developed normally and just lost skills, she's now five and is beginning to speak, which is just delightful. We've had a bumpy ride with diagnosis too...and I'm still researching and making sure we're in the right place - my heart is with you and your gorgeous daughter!


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