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Dolphie last won the day on January 9 2013

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About Dolphie

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  • Landed
    Feb 2010
  • SA Location
    Cape Town
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  1. Hi. We got our IEP under "Other Health Impaired". For a child to get an IEP in this category, they have a qualifying dignosis but a medical professional. (ADD, ADHD, Tourettes, Rheumatic Fever, Head Injury and a variety of others.) This route does not include Autism Spectrum etc. Our meeting was very friendly and we were given an IEP with no hassle at all. In fact we were given one for our daughter too. She is in PreK and has been evaluated for a Speech Impediment. She was given an IEP and is now going to go for speech therapy. The IEP's are valid for a year at which point they will be reviewed and either renewed, adjusted or disbanded. In my son's case they will be doing further evaluations and his IEP might be adjusted when those evaluations have been completed. No doubt my Daughter's will be dropped when her speech pattern improves. If you have any other questions you are welcome to PM me.
  2. Good advise from all. I must say that I think in general kids - especially elementary school kids - seem to have no problem adjusting. They are so malleable, and the international language of 'Play' is the same everywhere. Florida has just adopted the Common Core Standards which are national standards, voluntarily "adopted with almost all states on board." You/they should be able to check standards pretty easily using those. There are tons of Homeschool curricullum available, including on'line courses. A lot are religious, but there are some that aren't. Trinity school curriculum seems pretty welknown here. I found Oak Meadow very interesting - more Waldorffy. If they know they are coming here, there is no reason for them not to start on one of the available curriculum. Schools start 3 months earlier here. They run from the end of August to early June. So if they got here in June, they might not have completed enough of whatever grade they were in to move on to the next one. We made the move just in time for my oldest to start Kindergarten here. Hope this helps.
  3. Yes, we are in the process of being evaluated for one. We have our review meeting on Thursday. There are IEP's and 504's. The 504's are for those kids who do not qualify for IEP's, but who are in need of help. In Florida the IEP process starts with an initial request from the parent, or a suggestion by a member of the school staff. An initial program will be worked out to see if 'normal' interventions are sufficient to help the child. If the measured taken are not helping / working, then the process of evaluation begins. There is usually a finite amount of time this may take. In Florida it is 60 school days that the child attends. So if the child is absent that day is not counted. After 60 days there will be a meeting with the parents at which point the findings of the evaluation will be discussed. I will know more after Thursday, but it is my impression that this will be the meeting in which you will find out if your child qualifies for an IEP or 504 plan. I think there will be a seperate meeting to discuss the actual IEP plan and what it will entail. IEP meetings can get very complicated apparently and you have to be prepared to fight for what you want. You are also allowed to take whatever specialists or advocates including lawyers with you to the meeting. This is considered a good thing most times as any IEP by it's nature means an extra expense to the school district. If you get to that stage research it very carefully. Information about IEP's sometimes seems more elusive than Bigfoot, but it is out there if you look for it. Each States regulations are different. It is vey important to realise at the outset that there is a Medical diagnosis and an Educational diagnosis. These are completely seperate, and the Edducational assessment is not obliged to take into account any Medical diagnosis. I will write more once I have found out more on Thursday, or you can PM me to find out about our journey so far. Good Luck.
  4. Heard the story about the Australian couple who had to have the Aussie government negotiate a payment plan with the US government? They had theie baby prematurely while they were visiting the States. Went back to Aus with a bill of $1,000,000-00! True story! Parents everywhere know children can be expensive but Australians Rachel Evans and John Kan didn’t expect their baby daughter to come at a cost of nearly $1 million. That’s what the BC Women’s Hospital says it’s owed after little Piper was born three months premature during a trip to Canada last August and had to spend three months in neonatal care. The Sydney-area couple had travel insurance and were given the green light from their doctor to holiday overseas. But just as the couple was about to board their flight home, Evans, who was just 26 weeks pregnant, went into labour at the Vancouver International Airport and was rushed to hospital. “We were very lucky to be at the airport when she came and not already in flight,” Evans told the Star from her home in Willoughby, a suburb of Sydney. “She came without warning, just suddenly started.” Unbeknownst to Evans and Kan, their travel insurance policy didn’t cover the costs of the birth or the baby’s hospital care. Now the couple is on the hook for nearly $1 million — the cost the hospital claims it incurred to look after Piper, who was born weighing just 862 grams — about 1 pound 9 ounces — for three months. The bill works out to about $8,120 a day and does not include additional medical procedures or fees the family incurred while staying in Vancouver. Evans says she and her husband were able to work out an agreement with the hospital that will see them paying $300 a month for the rest of their lives. Still, Evans says she doesn’t begrudge the hospital for the bill and says she and her husband take full responsibility for not reading the fine print of their insurance policy. “We just feel very lucky. We’d been trying to get pregnant for a long time,” said Evans, 42. “Piper is worth whatever we paid. It’s just too bad it was such a huge amount.” Piper now weighs 5 ½ kilograms and is doing everything a healthy baby her age should be doing. Evans noted that the Australian ministry of health and ageing is looking at her case to see if some of the cost could be covered by the national government. Quoted That being said, that is a worst case senario. The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, takes effect in 2014, so it is very unclear what will happen with healthcare. I'm hoping for the best. Just do your homework. Remember that hospitals here all set their own prices. There is no standard.
  5. It doesn't translate. Credit History looks at your credit history in the States. What your record is here. Just like if you have been driving for 20 years in SA, you will have no driving record here in the US when you apply for insurance. You basically didn't exist before you moved to the US! If you have been paying car insurance etc you could bring accross a letter / recommendations from them. But it might be used or not. If you are applying for credit somewhere it might help (e.g. buying a car or house), but it would not affect your credit 'score' which is based on your history in the States.
  6. Hi all. For those who are interested, David does indeed have Coats Disease. He has had 2 surgeries in his right eye and is scheduled for another in 5 weeks time. He has a detached retina in his right eye, so the Coats is quite far advanced already. The doc says it will be a long process, but his eye sight has improved slightly - to 20/400 - in his right eye. His left is 20/20.
  7. I am trying to find out if the HDE or PGCE as it is now called, together with a 3 yr BA is sufficient for a teaching qualification in the US? Specifically in Florida. Anyone know any SA teacher teaching in the US? Thanks.
  8. Dolphie


    Never heard of it. We just got our clearance certificates and that was that.
  9. Hi All, Well the Dr says he can't be sure, but he think it might be Coates disease. There doesn't appear to be inflamation of the retina, but there is a lot of fluid which is apparently caused by leaking blood vessels. He wants us to go down to the main campus in Miami to the Pediatric retina specialist there. She is scheduling him for surgery as they have to knock him out to see what is really going on in there. It is very difficult to get a 5yr old to sit still enough to see inside his pupil. I had to physically restrain him this time for them to put the drops in his eyes. Afterwards he told me that I had done it on purpose just to hurt him! I know nothing about Coates disease except that it is very rare and affects young males. David can see about a foot to 2 foot in front of him out of his right eye. The left eye is 20/20. I asked what the chances are of his vision being restored. The doc was very positive, but said they won't know until after the surgery. (He called someone else to take a look too, so it must have looked pretty impressive). The surgery has not been scheduled yet. It depends on when the specialist has an opening, but it should be done sooner rather than later doc says. I will let you know later when I have more details. Thanks guys.
  10. As has been said before, it depends what you attitude and motivation is for coming. Hubby and I were very content in SA until we had kids. Suddenly things changed. We weren't responsible for only us anymore. I also said that if we emigrated, we should ideally do it before the kids started school. As it happened we won the GC Lottery first time round, and landed in Feb 2010. I made up my mind before I left that this was what I wanted to do. I checked with hubby and we were in agreement. I was under no illusion it would be easy, but I decided to try to make our transition as smooth as possible. I bought a book called 'Living in the USA' by David Hampshire. I tried to buy 'Culture Wise America' by the same author before I left, but only managed to get it a while after I landed. I would definitely recommend them, especially the latter. There are subtle differences that you are not always aware of. Health care is a problem. There are options: Special Immigrant Insurance is available; I don't know about other states, but Florida has Florida Kidcare which you can pay full price premium for $133/month (have to pay full premium as you won't have been a resident for 5 yrs). If you get a job that has Employer Insurance you will get the best deal. Private Insurance is very expensive. The political system here is just plain crazy, that is all I can say about it. Whoever heard of electing a President based on how much money his campaign can bring in! Insane. But then look at SA's president. Money has an unbelievable power here. If you have none of the former, you have none of the latter. Credit rating is probably the biggest obstacle immigrants face. Everything relies on Credit rating. There are ways to circumvent problems, but you need to do your homework. You can open a bank account in America before you land, transfer funds into it, and, if you have someon you can trust or a PO Box no., have a credit card and Cheque book waiting for you when you land. You can also buy a car online before you leave, and have it waiting for you when you get there. That way you have solved 2 of the biggest hurdles new immigrants face. We had a friend find a month to month rental for us before we landed, so we have a place to stay, and an address. Then it would just be a question of waiting for your GC and SSN before applying for Drivers lisenses etc. It is a good time at the moment to buy houses. The prices are at record lows. Just don't expect to be able to sell it quickly if you do. We managed to get a mortgage through our bank - even though we had only been in the country for 2 months. After 2 years and very little effort (I got a secured Credit Card with another bank), I have a very respectable Credit score. Now to the important part. I made up my mind before I landed that I was going to embrace the change. It was something I wanted to do for the kids sakes and acknowledged my personal standard of living would change as would many things I took for granted. Having young kids (19mths, 3yrs and 4yrs old)when we landed helped me adjust very quickly. I was forced to go to playgrounds and scoured the internet for free or cheap community activities. There were a surprising number. We moved a little way away after 4 mths, but have people I met during those first 4 months greet me every now and then. The kids have adapted extremely well. My folks came out and visited us here, so my now almost 4yr old baby knows who they are and where they live. I don't work yet, which is a strain financially, but also enables me to volunteer at the kids schools. Volunteering is huge here and has a completely different meaning or feel here. I drive everywhere and NEVER look over my shoulder or wonder which child I would unstrap first if I was high-jacked. I am much more relaxed about opening and closing the car doors and frequently put my bag on the front seat when I am loading groceries into the back. Parcels get left at my front door by UPS and Fedex and I KNOW they will be there when I get home. The quality of life we are experiencing here is something I would never have known existed if we hadn't left SA. You don't know the stresses and strains you live under every day til you leave. I suppose it also depends on where you move to. New York would probably be a lot more like Jo-berg than Vero Beach is. As you might have seen by my post yesterday, life here is not without it's challenges, but I would never move back unless I was forced to.
  11. Well lets see what the drs say on Tuesday. Hopefully any damage that has been done is reversible. He survived getting Playdough stuck in his ear, eating staples out of the stapler and many other weird and wonderful things. Maybe he will breeze through this one too! I am feeling a bit better today. Not in so much shock I think. The whole family (except me) is still down with Flu, but they are getting Cabin-fever now. Will have to see if we can go for a quiet walk or maybe a drive today! Will let you know what the drs say.
  12. It’s been a week from Hell this week. My 7yr old came down with Flu on Monday – fever 39. On Tuesday the 5yr old came down with it. On Wed night hubby went to bed with a chill. On Thurs the 3 yr old had it. Now let me mention that my 5yr old has been particularly crabby the last couple of weeks. So much so that I was beginning to wonder if it was just who he was turning out to be. Well, when the 5 yr old was cuddling up to me on Wed morning, he tells me quite casually that he can’t see properly out of his right eye. I do a quick test and sure enough he can’t tell how many fingers I am holding up. The fact that he might need glasses comes as no surprise to me. My whole family wears them – even if no-one in hubby’s does. But apparently he needs them quite badly. I made an appointment for Friday, even though we have no insurance. I figured eyesight is very important and might be contributing to his behavior in some way. So we go to the Eye Clinic today. The assistant does the pre-requisite initial examination – that is the way it seems to be in the USA. He reads the chart perfectly with his left eye, after a slight stumble when he admitted he couldn’t remember the name of one of the letters. Then came the shock. HE COULDN”T FIND THE CHART with his right eye. Eventually there was only one huge A4 size ‘E’ left – and he still couldn’t find it. Not ‘couldn’t read it’, he couldn’t find the chart in the room. ‘WEE WAH WEE WAH’ went the alarm bells in my mind. This is no simple ‘glasses’ problem. ‘Oh. No not My Boy’ as the song goes. He has Chorioretinitis. Whatever that is. They can’t tell me anything other than he needs to see a specialist asap, so we are off to Palm Beach Gardens to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute on Tues. I am freaking out a little. And not because of the cost, although it will apparently cost anything between $100 & $1000 for the appointment alone, never mind any treatment after that. For the first time I feel really far from home. Although with no insurance, I might just be going back soon, to have him treated there! Except we have no insurance there either anymore. Now Obamacare seems to make a lot of sense. At least if my little boy is going to be labeled as having a ‘Pre-Existing Condition’ at 5yrs old. Oh for the good old ‘Hospital Plan’ form SA days!
  13. I've never heard of that. Phone the Consulate to make sure. Although I can't imagine what anyone else would want with them.
  14. We were lucky enough to have our kids start their schooling in the US. I have learnt a bit about how the schools work - at least here in Florida. There are four main types of schools that I have identified: Zoned Public schools, Magnet Schools, Charter Schools, & Private Schools. You need to understand how these work. In Florida this is how it works: Zoned Public schools are the default schools your child will go to based on their address (where they live). You can not be denied entry into your Zoned school. Equally it is very difficult to remove a student from a Zoned school. Magnet Schools are Public Schools that usually specialize in certain fields (Science and Maths; Humanities; etc). In florida these are populated by lottery in the first year - i.e Kindergarten, Sixth Grade or 9th Grade. After that there is a waiting list system for the other grades. Magnet shools are usually 'better' schools than the zoned schools as they have the ability to ask you to leave if you don't follow their rules, standards etc. Charter Schools are also public schools and therefore free, but they are not bound by the local School Board. They are run indepedently. If you home-school your children, a 'Charter School' can also be used to create an Umbrella school for home-schooled families if your state requires they belong to a school. I haven't come accross one of these yet though. Private schools are self-explanatory. In my county they range in price from $3,500/yr to $20,000/yr. A lot of the Private Schools are religious schools. Where in SA are you? In CT there is an American International School. You could also home-school very easily here. There are a multitude of curriculums to choose from. There are also home-school groups everywhere. They have organised activities and sports groups too. That might be an option if you need to 'kill' 6 months or so. Actually it's more like 8 months as school starts in August here. You could also possibly do a Summer School bridging program if you are worried about her not being up to speed. Hope this helps.
  15. Dolphie


    Hi, Everyone gets an SSN. I think - if I remember correctly - what they are talking about is; do you want the SSN application to be initiated automatically when you land, or do you want to do it yourself by walking into a SSN office and doing it yourself. We marked the automatic one, and my husband's SSN arrived within 2wks. The 3 kids and mine had to be done manually. All the forms were filled in the same way (and I was the principal applicant not my hubby), but only his was processed.
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