In quiet moments I am beginning to experience a sense of unease about upcoming changes. In five and a half months Ava will age out of early intervention. Before then she will be evaluated by our local school district to determine if she will continue to qualify for services.
Things are going so well right now. Ava has been making steady progress in speech. We finally identified a need for OT and are just now beginning to receive those services as well. The combination of speech and occupational therapy services is powerful and she is making progress.
I am both profoundly grateful for that progress and somewhat fearful of it at the same time. I am happy that Ava's ability to communicate is improving and her frustration is decreasing. I am happy that she's making progress towards her feeding goals. I am delighted to see her become a bit bolder with sensory exploration and a little less overwhelmed in environments that used to be overstimulating for her. At the same time, I am afraid that she will have made just enough progress that she will not qualify for services at the next level.
I feel like we are standing before a diverging path. One path takes us down a road where we can continue intense intervention through these early years and maybe, just maybe find ourselves in a place where she no longer needs extra help later on. I desperately want that path for her.
The other path involves being denied services. We will try to provide her with as many services as possible without help from the school district but it won't be the same. I worry that the second path will involve less intense intervention that results ultimately in her needing extra help for a much longer period of time.
I know it isn't that simple. I know there are always options even if they aren't the ones I want most. I just feel like this transition from the early intervention program happens so quickly. Many children are just settling into a program of services when they "age out" and have to go through another round of testing. Then, even if they do qualify, they go through another round of getting to know new therapists when the old ones were working perfectly well to begin with.
I find myself wishing that early intervention went just a year longer. Of course, I'm sure I'd still dread the transition even then, but at least she would have had the same set of therapists for 18 months rather than for 6 months by then.