Today we toured a center based therapy facility that we are hoping to enroll Sweet Pea in very soon. Our regional center will supposedly fund the child for 3 days a week at this therapy center in ADDITION to all the other therapies that she is already receiving. Now let me explain what this center based therapy facility does...
They have a program that is for 18 months - 3 year old children, most of whom have some sort of a disability (the highest percent of kids are in the autism spectrum, but they have all sorts and many that don't have a diagnosis yet, but there seems to possibly be something not quite normal). It's 3 hours a day from 8:30am to 11:30am. The daily schedule is as follows:
8:30 - 9:00 Exploratory Play/Floortime - They have a few activities set out and the kids can do whatever they want. I think at the end of this they do a circle time, but we were busy touring so I didn't see this part.
9:00 - 10:00 Focused Therapy Groups - The children are divided into either speech, PT or OT in small groups of 2-4 students and they get 50 minutes of a specific therapy. The therapists evaluate each child and determine what his/her needs are and so if Sweet Pea goes 3 days a week, then she will probably have one session of each during the week.
10:00 - 10:15 - Snack Time - The kids are broken into 3 groups to help keep it more manageable and then they are given water and a snack. Today the kids had goldfish crackers and Sweet Pea got to join them and sit in her own chair and she behaved like a big girl. Mommy and Grandma were very impressed (Daddy had to get back to work). At the end of snack time they do a little circle time and Sweet Pea loved all the songs that they sang!
10:15 - 11:15 - Centers (Sensory Motor, Cognition, Gross Motor, Pre-Speech/Oral Motor) - 15 minutes is spent in each center and the kids visit each center in the hour. It is setup so they do a sedentary center and then a motion center so that the kids are able to keep their focus better. We started with Sweet Pea in the ball pit and then she went into Pre-Speech and she did great in both centers.
11:15 - 11:30 Circle Time - Songs, listening, etc
Since Sweet Pea is currently in a day care that is pretty free flowing and doesn't have a lot of structure and directed play, this will be a big change for her. We feel that this will really help prepare her for preschool and also help her to enjoy some of her therapies even more since she will be doing them with other kids.
Because Sweet Pea is getting 7 therapies a week currently, we expect to dial that back some when we start this program. We aren't going to cancel anything right off the bat, but our expectations are to drop from 2 times a week of each PT, OT & Speech and 1 time a week of infant stimulation to just 1 time a week of PT and OT, keep the 2 times a week Speech and drop the infant stimulation all together. That will still be 4 individual therapies, but I think we can work that in. We will see how it goes and make adjustments as necessary.
We thought that we wouldn't be able to start until 18 months, but the center today said that they would accept Sweet Pea today if we had approval because she does seem fully ready for the program. That made me very happy to hear and I couldn't agree more that she is definitely ready for such a program. If this had been offered 2 months ago, there is no way that she would have been ready, but the advances that she has made even in the last month were very apparent when she was there today and I have to say it again, I am so proud of her!
Here are some photos of her from today at the center:
Fun in the ball pit
I just loved this look. She was looking at the boy next to her and you can just see her thinking something...not quite sure I want to know what it was though...
Oh boy! Crayons!
Of course I cut off the part that shows her actually drawing, but she was! At least for a second or two!
Does she look like she is enjoying this place?
Look closely at the center of her top and bottom lip...Sweet Pea decided that since she had a boy on both sides of her she needed some lipstick. She had a pink "dot" that is kind of like a huge marker for making dots and decided to paint her lips with it. I thought it was too cute and it was a good color on her.
Playing with the teacher:
She had a great time and while she was crashed out within 5 minutes of us leaving, I really think she is going to like this place and that it will be really good for her developmentally. Now that we have decided we like this place, now we have to do the real work...1) Get regional center to approve her funding for going 2) Start working to extend her morning awake hours so that she doesn't want to nap in the middle of the session (she often naps around 9:30 currently) 3) Figure out how to move the feedings around so that she doesn't miss too much food and to ensure that she has a snack that she can self feed while she is at the center 4) Eventually we will have to rearrange our therapy schedule and I know that is not going to be fun. It will definitely be worth it though and I can hardly contain my excitement for this new phase of her learning to begin!