It was a bittersweet goodbye for us when Ethan graduated at PTN. I had grown attached to the dedicated staff at PTN who always made sure that the kids were thriving and the parents’ concerns were addressed. As a true mama bear, I was both super excited and worried about Ethan’s entry into Torrance Unified School District through LAUNCH preschool, which had a very good reputation as a hybrid program for both typically developing PALS and special needs kids. I was also slightly worried about Ethan’s adjustment into the program, although I was reassured by the fact that the LAUNCH program really looked upon PTN’s Leaps and Bounds as their model. I had also heard nothing but good things about LAUNCH. A day after Ethan’s third birthday, our LAUNCH Rocketeer was off to his first day, October 2, 2019. His teacher, Ms. Val, said he did very well, and Steve and I were thrilled! We’re glad Ethan gets to go here until he’s five. Based on his IEP evaluation, he will be getting one-on-one speech therapy sessions and behavioral therapy sessions, apart from the therapy embedded in the program. We were approved for one-on-one Occupational Therapy sessions on September 18, his first progress report, after phone calls, emails and continued advocacy for services. He is currently being evaluated for an AAC device.
Since Ethan started at LAUNCH, he’s been showing steady progress, as his teacher reports when Mommy or Daddy picks him up everyday. He’s been doing better with transitions, allowing tactile input such as touching glue or shaving cream, sitting in attention at speech therapy or whenever he has to sit at a table, learned some of the numbers from 1-20, added 5-10 things to his vocabulary, learned a bunch of new songs which is he is never shy to hum and sing at home and is developing his social skills as manifested in learning to play chase and growing interest in other kids. His teacher says that he still does protest a lot when offered non-preferred activities by letting his legs go limp and dropping to the ground. His school team were generally very positive however, on the progress report and he is meeting each goal about 50-60%, which they said was a great surprise!
One great event that happened since he started was the Halloween Parade. He had a cute turtle costume on. I was so relieved and happy when he actually wore his head gear for the entire parade. He didn’t want to wear his head gear for his tiger costume the year before at PTN, so that was a nice improvement. He walked the parade like a champ, which made mommy very proud!