We entered into the public school system and my son was placed in regular class at his neighborhood school with four hours a week instruction from a teacher of the hearing impaired and an hour of support from a speech pathologist. He was also provided a FM system to amplify the classroom teachers voice into his hearing aids. (http://nichcy.org/schoolage/placement/overview) (http://nichcy.org/schoolage/iep/meetings/special-factors#AT).
I continued to attend the annual meetings blindly trusting the professionals, and when given a pamphlet that had something called procedural safeguards and asked if I understood them I would naively shake my head yes when in reality I had no idea what they were and why I would ever need to. ( http://nichcy.org/laws/idea/legacy/module17). The transition from early intervention into public school seemed to have gone smoothly.
We had survived the ordeal of almost losing a son and the impact of it. I had now become the primary caregiver for both of my sons and a stay at home dad. I was a visible parent at the school involved with supporting all of my sons teachers and the school functions . We lived close enough that there was no bus service so most of the time I would drive them and pick them up after school. One of the teachers of the hearing impaired made an effort to bring some of the parents together in a support group for parents of the children that were deaf/ hard of hearing. I did meet a few other parents that had older children. I learned that most of these children attended a program in the neighboring county just for children who were deaf. I learned this was done under a state law referring to a multi-district agreement.(http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ED/htm/ED.29.htm) Since children who are deaf/hearing impaired are small in numbers and require specialized instruction and specialized settings that were intense and sometimes hard to acquire, neighboring school districts are permitted to enter into agreements to serve students from the neighboring county or to have their students sent there. Five counties had agreed to do this, sending all the students that were deaf to one location to be served. Our county served children here, who required four hours or less per week of instruction, in their neighborhood schools. If you crossed that threshold and needed more service children were bused to the center site in the next county. At that time I was aware that other students were being bused, but my son was in his neighborhood school and I was still learning the endless thankless task of primary caregiver for my sons.
There is five years age difference between my sons so at this time my oldest was in middle school and I was experiencing a whole new parent hell of puberty with him.
I had learned a few things about my son’s disability. I had great relationships with his teachers and the school he could ride his bike to. I continued to have the meetings shake my head sign the papers and move on with my life. Nothing else could possibly go wrong.