Educational services are available through the school system, although services can vary greatly among school districts. Within the United States, if your child is younger than three years old, therapy services can generally be provided by an early intervention program offered through your county or state. Once your child turns three, generally the school district will begin providing these services. Your school district will work with you to complete an Individual Education Plan (IEP), which will contain goals that the school will work with your child to achieve. Depending upon your child’s capabilities, your child may also be assigned an aide or a nurse to help him or her throughout the day. For our boys, we have found school to be beneficial, especially from a social perspective. Currently, John and Christopher are in separate kindergarten classes, and their classmates enjoy being with them and helping John and Christopher is a coveted “job” in the classroom. The boys typically attend school with a nurse, who rides the bus with them and also helps them with their classroom activities. Click here for an excellent article from Complex Child magazine on nursing at school for medically complex children.
Another alternative that we have used through the school district is homebound education services. Because our boys seem to get sick very easily and colds can quickly turn into pneumonia, the school district provided services to them at home for a period of time. Although it was a new concept for our school district, we worked out a plan during the boys’ IEP (individual education plan) to make this happen. The boys received about 45 minutes of education and therapy from the school four days per week.
Other services that may be available through the school district include access to someone who is an expert in the areas of adaptive equipment and assistive technology. We had an individual from the school district evaluate our boys to determine which equipment would be best to enhance their communication and education. These services can also be available through a rehabilitation hospital or Easter Seals.