When to move to a SN preschool? (long) - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-09-2013, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 4 year old who has a diagnosis of mild CP along with a genetic condition. She has not been evaluated since we left EI at 3. At that time she was showing global delays, but they were mild and we opted to move out of the special ed system with the exception of getting speech once a week though the school district. Since then we have had a very bad experience with the Montessori school my older child loved. We put her a year back in the 2-3 program at 3 and at the end of the year the said she could not move up to the 3-6 group without an aide. We don't qualify for an aide so we left. 

 

This year we enrolled dd in a smaller Montessori school in town. This is 2.5-5 year olds. 24 kids and 2-4 teachers. I just got the dreaded note in my sign in book requesting a conference about dd. She is apparently not fitting in well. I have not gotten the details. They are not asking her to leave but they did mention to me that they don't want her to extend her hours next month. We were doing half days to get used to the school. They also have issues with her playing with her food and not following directions. I go back to work next month (from maternity leave) so scheduling is sort of an issue for me. 

 

All this time we have worked with a therapy group that has adamantly advised us to avoid special ed. My mother is a special ed teacher and even she has advised us to try to avoid it. Mainly based on children being being stifled because of lack of resources. DDs speech teacher also told us to avoid the special ed preschool in our district citing that the average was a lot lower functioning than my daughter and she would be better with NT models. She is highly verbal, but hard to understand. She has low tone which affects basically everything. She is a very messy eater, doesn't enunciate, is behind with fine motor and has a lot of coordination issues. I have no idea where she falls cognitively. She knows her letters and phonics and has interest in early reading. But she can't problem solve at all. Doesn't even attempt it. She gets frustrated and shuts down- won't even try. Even the simplest puzzles can send her into a fit. She can count to 20 but doesn't know her colors. She may be color blind- her brain injury was to the occipital lobe. She has a fantastic memory and can remember things you tell her or teach her once. But has a hard time telling you about her day. 

 

So we have avoided special education, but I am starting to feel like I am not doing my daughter any good. She doesn't want to go to the new school. She tells me it is too hard. But once I drop her off she goes off fine. She seems to play ok and she is happy to see me when I pick her up. We have a new baby in the house and this has created a lot of regressions in dd. Her favorite thing to say is "I'm too little to do that". She wants to be held all the time, she has lots of potty accidents, she is super super uncooperative. So I am sure she is exhibiting this at school too. 

 

So now I am wondering if I should pull her out of this Montessori school and see about having her placed in the special needs preschool. She seems to need more one on one attention then she is going to get in Montessori. It's actually not in their philosophy to really assist too much. I feel like I am trying to force dd to be typical and it is backfiring. I am also wondering if the extra attention and therapy included in the SE preschool would be great for her. The thing is, it would be a fight to get her in. We are not in that "specific" district but a rural district adjoining which does not provide these services so we'd have to fight for our district to transfer us to them and pay for it. I could not even get them to pay for OT, they asked my insurance to do it. It's such a hard decision. I have no idea what to do and I am literally sick trying to figure out what is best for her. 

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Old 10-09-2013, 10:35 PM
 
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Are the Montessori preschool and the SN preschool the only choices? I don't know what is available in your area, but here we have some small preschool/daycare places that might offer more one-on-one attention, be more patient with "messy eating", and be more individualized to her various levels of development (you mentioned some behavioral regression, yet advanced memory, reading readiness, etc). The place I am thinking of is run by 2 women in their home, and has about 8 or 10 kids during the day (more, older kids before and after school hours). I think if you found the right fit, she might really thrive in a small, personalized environment.


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Old 10-10-2013, 08:00 AM
 
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I don't know your answer but  I can empathize about trying to figure out what to do. DS1 is also 4, we are still figuring out all his issues, dxs so far are ASD and dyspraxia, I really think mild CP is a fit and we see yet another specialist at the end of this month for that.  He has global delays, significant eating issues, speech issues, he is mildly cognitively delayed, etc....

 

Last year he was in a small school 10 children 2 teachers, that was very Montessori based. I "thought" he did well there. We were forced to change schools over the summer due to several reasons. We missed the public PK sign up so that was not an option anymore. There are no SN preschools here. Due to no other choice, we wound up at a Catholic preschool. I thought it was going to be a complete failure. He is the lowest functioning child there. They do not have any other special needs children at all and were very reluctant to take him at first but after a face to face meeting with DS1, they decided to accept him. It works! It not only works but he is thriving there beyond my wildest dreams, He loves it, they love him. I am not particularly religious but this schooling works for him because it is so structured. We have already decided to hold him back a year and he will stay in this class for another year and then we will have to try and figure out where to put him for K. Our school does extended hours for 7:30-5:30, he goes from 8-3 but because there are many kids that stay all day, there is always someone around willing to engage with DS1. When he was in the smaller preschool, I found that he was ignored by all the other children because the ratios were so low, there weren't enough volume of children around that might be willing to play with a peer that played differently, talked funny or not at all, and was slower to move around. 

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes it takes several tries to figure out what is going to work for your child and also don't discount things that you normally never consider. I really am much more Montessori then a Catholic school mom. :p I guess for you, I would investigate if there are any hidden gems that may work well for your DD. I knew this school existed but never in a million years thought about it as a possibility for us until I had NO other options.  I would also see what it would take to get her in the SN PK. Sometimes a little extra help is not a bad thing and if that was an option for us, i would of been trying that as well. Best of luck.


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Old 10-10-2013, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post
 

Are the Montessori preschool and the SN preschool the only choices? I don't know what is available in your area, but here we have some small preschool/daycare places that might offer more one-on-one attention, be more patient with "messy eating", and be more individualized to her various levels of development (you mentioned some behavioral regression, yet advanced memory, reading readiness, etc). The place I am thinking of is run by 2 women in their home, and has about 8 or 10 kids during the day (more, older kids before and after school hours). I think if you found the right fit, she might really thrive in a small, personalized environment.

 

Thank you! That is another option we have. There is a teacher from the school we went to last year who adored dd, and she and her daughter run an in home daycare that is sort of Montessori based. They would gladly take dd, but they have much younger children and I am not sure that would be great for her. I think they are mainly 1-2.5 year olds. I also did not like their facility- but that is still an option as she would be loved and worked with more closely. It's kind of far away from us- but worth looking into again I guess. 

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Old 10-10-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Peony View Post
 

I don't know your answer but  I can empathize about trying to figure out what to do. DS1 is also 4, we are still figuring out all his issues, dxs so far are ASD and dyspraxia, I really think mild CP is a fit and we see yet another specialist at the end of this month for that.  He has global delays, significant eating issues, speech issues, he is mildly cognitively delayed, etc....

 

Last year he was in a small school 10 children 2 teachers, that was very Montessori based. I "thought" he did well there. We were forced to change schools over the summer due to several reasons. We missed the public PK sign up so that was not an option anymore. There are no SN preschools here. Due to no other choice, we wound up at a Catholic preschool. I thought it was going to be a complete failure. He is the lowest functioning child there. They do not have any other special needs children at all and were very reluctant to take him at first but after a face to face meeting with DS1, they decided to accept him. It works! It not only works but he is thriving there beyond my wildest dreams, He loves it, they love him. I am not particularly religious but this schooling works for him because it is so structured. We have already decided to hold him back a year and he will stay in this class for another year and then we will have to try and figure out where to put him for K. Our school does extended hours for 7:30-5:30, he goes from 8-3 but because there are many kids that stay all day, there is always someone around willing to engage with DS1. When he was in the smaller preschool, I found that he was ignored by all the other children because the ratios were so low, there weren't enough volume of children around that might be willing to play with a peer that played differently, talked funny or not at all, and was slower to move around. 

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes it takes several tries to figure out what is going to work for your child and also don't discount things that you normally never consider. I really am much more Montessori then a Catholic school mom. :p I guess for you, I would investigate if there are any hidden gems that may work well for your DD. I knew this school existed but never in a million years thought about it as a possibility for us until I had NO other options.  I would also see what it would take to get her in the SN PK. Sometimes a little extra help is not a bad thing and if that was an option for us, i would of been trying that as well. Best of luck.

 

Thank you Peony. I think our children might be the exact same age. Is he July 09? I "think" we might have been in that ddc together. 

 

I think the issue for me is I also don't have the time and energy to go looking for schools again. I visited so many when we were told we could not come back last spring. I went to about a dozen and the one I chose was, I thought, the best fit. They had a girl with CP go through it a few years back so seemed open to SN kids. There are a few others that I didn't get around to looking at that I might go visit- but timing is horrible now. Most schools are full. They do registration for this year last spring. I just want to feel like she fits somewhere. KWIM? 

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Old 10-10-2013, 11:37 AM
 
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askew, We went through something very similar with DS who has severe language delays.

 

Our development ped and many others also warned us off special ed programs.  We did try putting him in an EI special ed preschool when he was 2.5-almost 3 and, for us, it was a disaster.  He was by far the highest functioning child there and he got very little from it beyond learning the horrible lesson that you shouldn't bother trying to interact with other children.  So we had a rather negative experience.  However, in the next school district over, I know a number of parents who have their kids in that district's amazingly good special ed program.  They are integrated programs that provide typical peer models while also ensuring a lot of individualized support.  We have considered moving just to be in that district.  My point being, if you don't know for sure what the actual special ed preschool is like, it can't hurt to check it out.  However, there is very good data out there showing that (especially for relatively high functioning children) integrated programs are much better.  Most high functioning kids will get a lot from peer models.

 

Like Peony, we did eventually find the "perfect' fit for our DS but it was a long process that honestly took a ton of work.  I looked at almost 15 schools and we even did trials at 3 of them.  We finally found a typical co-op where the head teacher had a son with issues very similar to our DS.  She also has degrees in special ed as well as early childhood education.  It is very play based and our DS loves it and is getting such amazing social experience plus it is boosting his language.  HOWEVER, finding this school was like pulling teeth.  I almost gave up and seriously considered starting my own preschool (which would have been a joke of a disaster).  

 

Sorry I don't think there is one answer but I hope you find something that feelsright!

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