Special needs and Homeschooling (cross posted in Homeschooling) - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 6 Old 08-01-2006, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know the decision will be made by me and Dh but I was interested in some input/opinions from the other mamas here.

My 3 1/2 year old ds is developmentally delayed in speech, social interactions, has sensory issues and other fun stuff. (Mommy note: He is a GREAT kid.)

He's in a special education program 5 days a week for 2 1/2 hours per day. He gets speech and OT therapies at home. He will officially be "aging out" on August 31. He will go from EI to CPSE. He is approved for a full day (I think it's 5 hours), five times a week in an inclusion classroom (12-1-2, for those interested). He will also be receiving speech and OT but it will be during school hours.

Now that you have some background.......I am thrilled with the school he's in currently. He is so excited for school that he would spend more than 2 hours in his coat waiting for the bus. His teacher is phenomenal. He's doing very well there. I don't have a car during the week so the 15 minute or less walk there is wonderful. The problem is they don't have an appropriate full day class for him. They only have a 2 1/2 hour/day class available. After therapy he'll have about 2 hours or so per day in class. I just located a school that's about 30-35 minutes away. They should have a spot for him in a full day classroom. I have heard wonderful things about this school. Even the director of his current school said this new school is wonderful. One of the problems is that it's a longer commute. Another problem is that I know his current school and we both have the comfort of having been with them since he started getting services. The obvious advantage is the (much) extra time he'll be getting in the classroom.

He is on a waiting list for a local school that does have a full day. But, he's still on the waiting list. Until yesterday I was sure he would continue where he is now. I had been debating about using the extra time by either mainstreaming him (which made me very worried) or homeschooling him. A problem with homeschooling is that I don't have the available social interactions (ie 11 other kids in my house for him to play with) and I can't necesarily do the strict structure he needs.

I'm probably beginning to ramble and I appreciate those who have read this far. I guess my question is what to do about next year. Do I go for the more schooling? If I don't, do I homeschool, mainstream or neither (and let him free-play)?

I know it's not really relevant yet but has anyone had a child in special education and an inclusion class and homeschooled afterwards instead of mainstreaming? BTW-I have master's in general and special education for grades 1-6. Right now he's neither my certified age level and it's different when it's your own kid but I think it could be relevant.

Thanks just for listening and adding anything you can.
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#2 of 6 Old 08-06-2006, 09:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#3 of 6 Old 08-06-2006, 09:54 AM
 
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I've not done either, my ds is getting ready to age out of EI this January, and we have to put him in public preschool. It's making me a ball of nerves, I tell ya.

I don't have the patience to home school him. I just don't. Plus with his autism, I really really REALLY want him around other children a lot for the sole purpose of learning social skills and maybe starting to model some of their behavior (not just the bad stuff...the good stuff too LOL).

If I were you, I'd stay on the wait list and maybe homeschool in the meantime. We are in a similar predicament, the school I really really REALLY want ds to go to has him on a wait list until fall of '07 . So it may be HS until then, I don't know.
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#4 of 6 Old 08-10-2006, 03:41 AM
 
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Is private school an option for you, and do any of the local orthodox schools include special needs kids in their classes, with a pull out for therapies?
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#5 of 6 Old 08-10-2006, 02:26 PM
 
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Well, dd started preschool when she was 3. She went 2 1/2 hrs a day. She did 2 years of that (therapy being during those hours too).
For kindergarten she did 2 years (of kindergarten) at a private school for kids with and without disabilities. They were awesome.
1st grade we had to find a new school and there was nothing private that suited her. We found a charter school that a lot of people talked about. She did 1st and 2nd grade there and I regret both years, but mostly the last one.

With dd's issues I never wanted to HS because I needed the break and help.
The end of the second grade year dd's behavior started getting out of control and over the summer I started stressing with having to do it all over again the next year. I volunteered 2 to 3 times a week at the school so I was nearby. I had to come every day at noon to cath' her anyway, because I didn't want strange nurses doing it. And as her behavior got worse I was there more and more.
We lived about 40 min (in traffic) from her school (25 min. without traffic).

Over time I realized that her emotional health was more important then her academics. I still struggle with this today, but it has gotten better. It is hard to have to decide between what you see as her emotional health over her being behind academically.

I am now convinced that she would have been better off staying home long ago...or at least only doing half days.

DD is 10 and last year was our first year HS'ing. Obviously that is stressful for me too, but dd has improved in SO many ways that I never thought possible.

(by the way, dd is delayed in general, with the primary diagnosis being Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. She also has ADHD, nonverbal LD, anxiety disorder with specific phobias, sensory integration disorder, and maybe something else I'm forgetting)
Her anxiety has lowered so much I never would have imagined and her acting out behavior is way way better.
The school environment was just too overwhelming for her.

IMHO, I would stay where you are and just do half days for school. With all the experiences I have had with different schools, teachers, therapists, etc.-- if you have it good now you should make that the priority. You don't want to end up having your dc in a less than desirable environment and then having to move them again. Obvioulsy this will happen sometimes anyway, but if you don't have to, don't do it.
He is still young and getting all the therapy he needs and the interaction with other kids and getting used to a classroom, etc.
I say play it safe. There are way too mnay variables with new teachers and therapists and if it's not a good match---well that would suck. You already have a good match so stick with it I say.

Good luck with your decision.

Me : , husband ,daughter Raven : 10-28-95 :
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#6 of 6 Old 08-18-2006, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have decided to keep ds in his current school. He will be in school (a 10 minute walk away) for 2 1/2 hours a day. He will then get to spend the rest of his time with his mommy and little brother. I appreciate all of the input.

Now, I'm trying to arrange playdates and other activities for him. What ideas do you have for how I can enrich him and encourage socialization?
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