Scared about special ed preschool in light of recent news events - Mothering Forums
Special Needs Parenting > Scared about special ed preschool in light of recent news events
JFTB1177's Avatar JFTB1177 03:57 PM 10-16-2011

In light of some recent news stories (one being the Alabama special ed teacher Jeremy Hollinger who made fun of one of his students on FB, and the other was the bus driver and attendant in VA who were caught on camera hitting an autistic student on the bus and spraying him with an aerosol can), I am becoming so scared about sending my son to special ed preschool once he turns 3 in March! The thing is I think he'll love school and he'll get so much more than I can give him here (they have a special autism program where they do ABA, OT, ST, etc, and its free since it's through the public school system). I want him to go, but now I'm losing trust and terrified about how he'll be treated since he isn't able to tell me if someone did something to him. I'm scared to put him on the bus they provide even though EI swears he'll love it (you know, the small bus that has car seats), but driving isn't practical because of where it is, and getting my older son on the bus too etc.

 

Anyone go through the same fears? What did you do? Do you think these stories are isolated?



JFTB1177's Avatar JFTB1177 04:22 PM 10-16-2011

I don't mean to reply to my own post but the "edit" button isn't working for some reason. I just realized that the VA incident happened 2 years ago, I think it has come back in the news b/c of the lawsuit.

 

Am I the only one with these fears? I am grateful for all the programs they have in my county, but it's so hard to have that trust when you have a child who cannot tell you what goes on.

 

Maybe I'm just being paranoid...


flower97's Avatar flower97 04:48 PM 10-16-2011

My daughter is only 10 months old and has hydrocephalus.. We don't know what delays she will have, but I think I too would probably have those fears when it becomes time for her to go... Thankfully neither of those things have happened nearby and I do not believe that I have heard of anything like that happening in my state (or I just have not heard it)... But as parents we know what our gut is telling us, and a lot of times we need to trust that gut.  Good luck no matter what decision you make. 


Azik's mom's Avatar Azik's mom 04:59 PM 10-16-2011

I think we all worry about our kids particularly when it involves a disability where they may not be able to tell us what's going.  There are so many things to worry about even for kids who dont have special needs.   In light of what you just said though it seems as though the preschool would be of great benefit for your child so based on this I would send them but just be on the alert.

 

It is hard but I refuse to let fear but me at a standstill.


QueenOfTheMeadow's Avatar QueenOfTheMeadow 07:43 PM 10-16-2011
hug.gif I know there are some really sensational stories out there, and sending your child out there into the big world is scary! I've had panic attacks before sending each of my boys off for the first time. But let me tell you our experiences to try to offset what you've been hearing on the news. Every person my kids have come in contact with, whether it's one of my special ed kids or not, have been amazing, loving, supportive, and have made me feel comfortable putting my kids in their hands. My suggestion is to make sure you meet as many people who your son is going to be in contact with first. I had talked to my kids bus drivers, teachers, aids, and special assistants, and it did help me feel more comfortable. It's scary anyway, but I truly believe that the vast majority of people who go into service with special ed children or amazing kind people. hug.gif
JFTB1177's Avatar JFTB1177 10:45 PM 10-16-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenOfTheMeadow View Post

hug.gif I know there are some really sensational stories out there, and sending your child out there into the big world is scary! I've had panic attacks before sending each of my boys off for the first time. But let me tell you our experiences to try to offset what you've been hearing on the news. Every person my kids have come in contact with, whether it's one of my special ed kids or not, have been amazing, loving, supportive, and have made me feel comfortable putting my kids in their hands. My suggestion is to make sure you meet as many people who your son is going to be in contact with first. I had talked to my kids bus drivers, teachers, aids, and special assistants, and it did help me feel more comfortable. It's scary anyway, but I truly believe that the vast majority of people who go into service with special ed children or amazing kind people. hug.gif

 

Thank you thank you thank you Queen!!!!!!!! This post will actually help me sleep easier at night, thank you so much (and flower97 and Azik's mom as well)! That's great advice about meeting everyone who he will come in contact with. Did any of your kids take the special ed bus and how did they do? He's gonna start right when he turns 3 and he's such a tiny little guy, I can't imagine him getting on a bus without me mecry.gif
 

 


jenrose's Avatar jenrose 03:01 AM 10-17-2011

FWIW... Shiny LOVES the bus, and loves school. She's in life skills classes with a near 1:1 teacher:student ratio, and on the bus I believe there's an aide, and ALL buses in our area have cameras on them. I'm just not that worried about her right now, where she's at. 


SpottedFoxx's Avatar SpottedFoxx 06:40 AM 10-17-2011

My son went to our local Special education preschool.  The bus would pick him up at his day care center, bring him to school and then bring him back.  He loved it.  He loved school and I loved the services and education they provided.  The key is to be an active Mom.  You know your child and you will know if anything is wrong.  I quickly earned a reputation as an involved parent which (if the teachers are good) is quite welcomed.  They also know not to mess with my kid.  I can be your biggest ally or your worst nightmare - you pick.

 

This summer, my son attended a summer camp where they offer a free advocate for special needs children.  This is my son's second summer with his advocate.  She's quite intuitive and works beautifully with my son.  Her boss was shadowing them one day and at the end of the day (strike one), my son had gymnastics (strike two).  They were doing an obstacle course and he wanted to go over the obstacle that he was supposed to under.  After 3 attempts to redirect, his advocate told him he was done (strike three).  Insert typical meltdown.  "I mad at you! I walk away!" complete with flailing hands.  The boss felt that my 4 foot, 47 pound string bean of a child was a threat to the advocate.  She came up from behind and put him into a restraint hold (pulling his arms across his chest like a straight jacket, holding him at the wrists).  My son immediately began to cry and beg to be let go, that she was hurting him (my son doesn't experience pain often as he has a high threshold - the fact that he said she was hurting him kills me).  When she finally let him go, he was a mess.  The counselors were horrified - they had never seen my son cry.  She had bruised my baby's wrist.  My son (who has verbal apraxia and doesn't express himself well) didn't tell me.  His advocate and counselors did.   Needless to say, all hell broke loose and I was the devil.  Not only did the camp know but I made sure the school where she's a teacher was aware (careful who you mess with, you don't know who they know!).

 

Point I'm making is, your child should go and you should make it known that you are an active parent.  Make allies where ever you can as they will be your eyes and ears.  Show the school that you don't expect them to do everything.  Get additional services for your child outside of the school because it sends a message that you are serious about setting your child up for success and the teachers/therapists/administrators appreciate it.  

 

I am assuming your child is non-verbal.  If you can afford it - I recommend getting the IPad as it has communication software that will give your child a voice.  Many schools are providing them to their students (to use in school only).   An online friend of mine uses it with her daughter - you can see videos of how it works on her blog http://niederfamily.blogspot.com/.

 

Oh, and as far as the bus, my son adores it.  Always has.  


Emmeline II's Avatar Emmeline II 07:12 AM 10-17-2011

I think you've gotten good advicesmile.gif -- be visible and know the people who work with your child; your district may also have cameras on board their buses.  My ds hasn't ridden the special bus and is fairly typical, but he does have ADHD/anxiety/Aspergers symptoms, and he didn't necessarily tell us everything either. However, my nephew (PDD-NOS), though verbal, couldn't really express himself well in elementary but he would act out if things weren't right for him (and my sister made herself visiblewinky.gif)--he did have a wonderful bus aide that got him a toy cell phone to use on her bus which he lovedsmile.gif.


StephandOwen's Avatar StephandOwen 07:50 AM 10-17-2011
In addition to what's already been said, I would also suggest you make random surprise trips to the school. If the teacher gets upset at this, it's a red flag. My ds went to the special needs preschool, kindergarten, 1st grade and is now in 2nd grade (all at the same school). I have done surprise visits for every level (sometimes once a week, sometimes 3 times a week, sometimes a couple weeks go by). The teachers all know I will do this and it's never been an issue. Usually i'll ask if the teacher needs any help and they'll give me a task to do, so it works well for them too!
FarmerBeth's Avatar FarmerBeth 10:47 AM 10-17-2011

Along the be involved advice, you could occassionally volunteer in some way the preschool considers appropriate.  It would show you are involved, and it would give you a chance to see and be at ease with the preschool.


Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 11:21 AM 10-17-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenOfTheMeadow View Post

hug.gifEvery person my kids have come in contact with, whether it's one of my special ed kids or not, have been amazing, loving, supportive, and have made me feel comfortable putting my kids in their hands.


This has been our experience, too. I have met some of the most amazing human beings through my DD. So many people that I have so much respect for, doing jobs that I never could. We have been so blessed.

 


JFTB1177's Avatar JFTB1177 06:13 PM 10-18-2011

Thank you thank you thank you for all the great advice ladies!!!!!!!!! You have made me feel SO much better!! love.gif I will be reading your posts every time I start getting worried again!


JFTB1177's Avatar JFTB1177 06:23 PM 10-18-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpottedFoxx View Post

My son went to our local Special education preschool.  The bus would pick him up at his day care center, bring him to school and then bring him back.  He loved it.  He loved school and I loved the services and education they provided.  The key is to be an active Mom.  You know your child and you will know if anything is wrong.  I quickly earned a reputation as an involved parent which (if the teachers are good) is quite welcomed.  They also know not to mess with my kid.  I can be your biggest ally or your worst nightmare - you pick.

 

This summer, my son attended a summer camp where they offer a free advocate for special needs children.  This is my son's second summer with his advocate.  She's quite intuitive and works beautifully with my son.  Her boss was shadowing them one day and at the end of the day (strike one), my son had gymnastics (strike two).  They were doing an obstacle course and he wanted to go over the obstacle that he was supposed to under.  After 3 attempts to redirect, his advocate told him he was done (strike three).  Insert typical meltdown.  "I mad at you! I walk away!" complete with flailing hands.  The boss felt that my 4 foot, 47 pound string bean of a child was a threat to the advocate.  She came up from behind and put him into a restraint hold (pulling his arms across his chest like a straight jacket, holding him at the wrists).  My son immediately began to cry and beg to be let go, that she was hurting him (my son doesn't experience pain often as he has a high threshold - the fact that he said she was hurting him kills me).  When she finally let him go, he was a mess.  The counselors were horrified - they had never seen my son cry.  She had bruised my baby's wrist.  My son (who has verbal apraxia and doesn't express himself well) didn't tell me.  His advocate and counselors did.   Needless to say, all hell broke loose and I was the devil.  Not only did the camp know but I made sure the school where she's a teacher was aware (careful who you mess with, you don't know who they know!).

 

Point I'm making is, your child should go and you should make it known that you are an active parent.  Make allies where ever you can as they will be your eyes and ears.  Show the school that you don't expect them to do everything.  Get additional services for your child outside of the school because it sends a message that you are serious about setting your child up for success and the teachers/therapists/administrators appreciate it.  

 

I am assuming your child is non-verbal.  If you can afford it - I recommend getting the IPad as it has communication software that will give your child a voice.  Many schools are providing them to their students (to use in school only).   An online friend of mine uses it with her daughter - you can see videos of how it works on her blog http://niederfamily.blogspot.com/.

 

Oh, and as far as the bus, my son adores it.  Always has.  




I'm so sorry about what happened to your son, that's awful!! So glad your counselors had your back and it's so reassuring that there are actually people out there who truly care about kids!

 

My son isn't nonverbal, he has language but it's mostly all echolalia (he can sing songs, repeat words and phrases, and label), but he still doesn't use words to communicate so he wouldn't be able to tell me if something happened to him, at least right now.

 

Thanks so much for all the great advice!!


mrsbernstein's Avatar mrsbernstein 01:36 PM 10-19-2011

I don't have any advice.  But I feel your pain!  (Sorry for the cliche)

 

My son is 3 months old, and currently has some big Brain concerns that have rolled over into his muscles and such.  There is a public school here in town that is well-known for thier work with SN and CP children.  They will "take" my son at 6months.  And as much encouragement and such that I have received from the therapist and Drs...I can't do it.  

 

HUGS to yoU!

Mrs B

 


mekat's Avatar mekat 10:44 AM 10-21-2011

You have gotten some good advice.   Most people are in the special education field because they love working with the special needs population.   The staff I worry about most are the aides because the hiring standards aren't as strict.   I trust my son's teacher and I trust that she supervises the classroom aides appropriately.  I participate in PTA and school activities when I can and try to provide as much insight as I can into my son's reactions when he does something that concerns his teacher.  

 

My trust is not blind and never has been.  I will immediately know if there is a new mark or bruise on my son and each day we communicate with a communication board about his school day.  Another thing to think about is in most special education settings there is usually at least two adults present at all times even on a bus so opportunities for real abuse are few and far between at least in all the school settings my son has been in and he has been attending school for 5 years now.    

 

One thing you might want to suggest to his teacher is picture type daily communication sheet.   My son loves showing me how well he did that day and what activities he did, which was his favorite and his least favorite.   If there is a problem I read carefully and get on to the computer and make up a communication board to discuss the problem with him.  Work hard on communication with both your son and the school staff.   I think communication is a very crucial way to help curb anybody from doing something they shouldn't and keeps you alert to any potential problems.   BTW my son is completely non-verbal, yet I still have a decent idea of what went on during his day once he gets home.   I was scared to send him to preschool also.  I think your feelings are completely normal.


peaceful_mama's Avatar peaceful_mama 06:18 PM 11-23-2011

i was an EA in a preschool for kids with special needs.  We had children from mildly speech-delayed or 'impaired'  (kind of hate that word but don't know what else to call it, as in the child who does not learn to articulate well early on, things like stuttering or lisping)  to children with multiple disabilities, non-verbal, not able to express themselves well.  We welcomed parents into our room.  Anyone who does not, I would not send my child to that class.  Period.  The people I worked with were wonderful people, caring people, people who loved the kids and wanted to help and to see them succeed.  You will know if your teachers are like this by talking to them.  Even if you can't do a regular schedule of surprise visits, you can learn a lot by even just dropping your child off and being able to talk to the teachers.  My oldest was in EI preschool too, and I had 2 little ones at home, 22 months apart, one newborn.  I dropped him off at school daily and was able to talk to his teachers.  Just seeing them, their willingness to talk to me, their attitude toward me, and the fact that they welcomed me--sometimes along with my other children--into the classroom on the occasions we were able to visit, told me a lot about the program and made it easy for me to trust them.  I knew he was in a great school.  :)  My dd is now in Head Start and again I have 2 younger kids including a baby going through some health issues, so I have not been able to visit--only 2 times, both near the beginning of the year, but again I have met all of her teachers, and I am in regular contact via calls and email, and the fact that my son is in the same school, so I see her teacher occasionally when I am there for something for DS.  Again. being able to talk to them, seeing an open and welcoming attitude, tells me a lot about the program and the people she spends her day with.  :)  Do whatever you can, even if it is only occasional visits or drop-off/pickup.  It will give you insight and put you at ease...if it doesn't, figure out why and do what you need to do for your son...but I think it will be good.  :)


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