I've met a handful of parents through Ethan's school and this morning one his classmates and his mother invited us to visit a heritage farm. The weather was gorgeous and the kids painted pumpkins, pet several animals, and watched a group of cloggers do their thing to some bluegrass tunes. It was so nice to get out and enjoy the day with a new friend!
Ethan loved watching the chickens, I hated smelling them.
Ethan signing chicken...
A line forming for a hay ride around the farm. We didn't opt to try this since Ethan would have been diving head first off the back of the wagon.
The sight of this cow prompted a sign as well as a spirited "Moo" sound from Ethan, minus the "M" phoneme. He's still working on that letter...
We're moving things forward, slowly but certainly strategically. I dropped in and observed the preschool classroom at the public school where Ethan would be placed if he were not at the deaf school visiting. This is a classroom that we were told would be total communication. It was far from a TC environment. I saw very little sign language while I was there and even saw some being done incorrectly. So....
Next we are going to have an IEE (independent education evaluation) performed by a psychologist that will focus on Ethan's social emotional development with regards to his communication modality. Ideally, this person will visit both classrooms (public and deaf school) and assess Ethan as well, then write a report that will confirm what we have been saying all along. How is he supposed to develop socially or emotionally (or even academically) in an environment that at its most basic doesn't have any fluent signers?
Needless to say, I didn't see that interpreter/aide that they promised and even if I had, it wouldn't change the whole environment to a TC classroom. It would mean that one person in it was fluent in sign. Big deal.
We're also giving up on our advocate and are shopping for a new one. The one we've been dealing with has been harder to work with than the school. She's an abusive bully who yells at me when I ask any type of question. Yesterday after a quick question she responded, "Aren't you listening? Haven't you heard a thing I've said?"! She also never lets me finish a sentence. And she's very unorganized and is unable to focus her attention. People put up with her because she does it for free and she knows the law and understands apraxia and hearing loss. I'm not a glutton for punishment, nor am I incapable of reading and understanding my rights without being berated in the process. I think she's a liability in the long run.
This isn't easy and I'm sure I'll look back on this time in my life as a period of intense stress and worry. But the big picture remains unchanged, Ethan is going to be fine.