On Wednesday my little girl graduated yes graduated you heard me right, from ICEC Intervention Centre for Early Childhood. Here in California when a child with special needs turns 3, the funding for therapy goes from the Regional centre to the School district because Annabelle turned 3 on Saturday funding ends and we would have started at a state funded school district preschool on Monday, but because we are moving to the UK we decided not to go through all the assessments and meetings to get an IEP (Individualised Education Plan) from the School district because we would have just have to go through it all again on the other side of the pond in the UK.
We started in their infant program in Laguna beach when Annabelle was 7,5 months old. We had met a wonderful Mom at Aqua Therapy, that gave me the details of the program and after enquiring we started the program a couple weeks later. The program was my life saver at the time because not only do the children get therapy but also after the program they have a parent discussion time, where the therapists look after the children and the parents get a chance to talk to other parents with special needs kids and a trained family counsellor that leads the discusssions and everything from potty training to spouses to behaviour problems to sleep problems to doctors to depression to our trip to holland (if you have a special needs child you know what this means) get discussed.
The program for the children works like this, the parent stays with the child through the program and it starts off with circle time, all the children sit in a circle in cube chairs and then one gets to go up to the teacher and pick a song from the board, Annabelle got to choose the Apple song, then a soft toy apple is retrieved from the box and then the song is sung with actions.
Then the children are divided into 5 groups and go to different stations, a few examples of the stations are -sensory intergration, communication, pre-academics, fine motor, gross motor, oral motor, music, outside play and arts and crafts. Here in the pictures below we are at the outside station playing in grated soap, each week the teachers and therapists have themes to work by and this week was winter and snowmen so the grated soap was supposed to be like playing in the snow. It was great Annabelle loved playing in the soap and the feel between her fingers.
Then after we have gone through all the 5 stations and a snack break in between we then do closing circle with more songs and goodbye song but before we said goodbye they said goodbye to Annabelle and she graduated, they gave her a backpack to take with her to her new school in England with a tag on it with her name and on the other side "I am a proud graduate of ICEC". I had a tear in my eye saying goodbye to everybody we have met some wonderful people, other parents, therapists and have had some great teachers who have helped Annabelle progress. They all work so hard to help all the kids and parents.
All the teachers and therapists were all very interested in knowing what the services are going to be like in England for Annabelle and I will be posting about all our experiences over on the other side and seeing how they compare to California, so keep on reading, I will keep on posting.
I would like to say a big thank you to everybody at ICEC for all their hard work and support, you guys do such a great job.