Shortly after Fiona was diagnosed with profound hearing loss, the audiologist told us she was required by law to report Fiona’s status to the state of Georgia. That was fine with us, but her tone almost made me feel like we had done something wrong. It was a stern, almost apologetic “sorry they’re making me do this” sort of tone.
This had me wondering, was this really a problem they’ve had with other parents? Do some people RESIST the process? Maybe out of embarrassment or a way to keep their public record clean? I’m not sure I’ll ever know.
Regardless, that report kicked off a process that ultimately resulted in a representative from the Babies Can’t Wait program visiting us at our house this afternoon. Babies Can’t Wait is the Georgia implementation of the Federal Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There are likely many reading this who understand the IDEA act much better then myself, but my takeaway from the meeting was this was a state run agency that provides a social safety net to educate children with disabilities regardless of income level.
The rep was very nice and mentioned they had several services available, including early testing, auditory-speech training, sign language education, placement in schools and more. The cost of their programs in many cases is completely free, and in others is tiered heavily based on your income level. (The irony of which will not be lost on my friends who know what its like to quit your job to work for an early stage tech startup).
Eliza and I do not yet know the quality or extent of these programs, but I do think its fantastic that programs are available to provide opportunities to children of all income brackets. Every child deserves a chance at a fulfilling life and it makes me proud that such opportunities exist.
Now I know this could easily degenerate into a political debate of the pros and cons of state run programs, but I ask you resist the urge to do that in this forum. We are not choosing sides, making recommendations, nor trying to change people’s minds one way or another. We simply want to determine what’s the best option for our daughter.
Towards this end, on Wednesday we visit the Auditory Verbal Center which is a highly recommended private group, so we are really curious to compare the pros and cons to make an informed choice.
Does anyone have experience or knowledge about the Babies Can’t Wait Program? If so, we’d love to learn more. Feel free to comment or email us direct.