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Talk to me about preschool for 3 yo w/DSI

643 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Goldiemom
My dd has DSI and she is currently in EI for speech and OT (again, we thought we had moved on, but are back!!)--

anyway, like most EI programs, our EI program has a preschool program (half day) for 3 y.o.s who are no longer eligible for EI services.

I don't know what to think. It was explained to me that she would be picked up by bus (I think she is way too young for this) and dropped off and that the preschool program offers a half-day of typical preschool activities, but of course there would be some services provided during that time.
I mentioned that I would be more comfortable driving her myself, but the coordinator seemed to frown at that.

I am really leaning towards not doing it. I think she is too young (emotionally)for the whole program, her SI issues are pretty intense.
However, I am a SAHM and we are new to our area and I have a baby at home. I have thought about calling some of the local mom groups, but I have found these groups to "clique-ish" in the past and am not into that kind of thing.

Anyway, to the original question: has anyone here moved from the EI program at home into the preschool program offered by the school system in your area--and did you have success/like the program?
Any other thoughts regarding these programs?
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I think this really depends on your school district. I'm in Cherry Creek School District in Colorado, and they are fabulous. But I am not impressed by what I hear from parents in neighboring Denver and Jefferson County school districts.

My oldest will be going to Kindergarden in the fall, and he just spent 2 years in a fabulous integrated Autism preschool program. My daughter is getting ready to start preschool this fall after receiving EI for a variety of special needs (including sensory issues). She will be going half-days, four times a week. She will be in an intergrated program with about 4 other special needs kids and about 10 regular kids. There will be 4 adults in the room for 16 kids -- a preschool teacher, a special ed teacher, an aide, and a rotating specialist (one day each of OT, Speech, Mental Health, and ?? I forget -- I'd check her IEP, but it's in my room where the toddler is asleep). Riding the bus is an option, but not one that I selected, and it is the parents' decision. She will be in preschool for 2 years, and the goals for her first year are to just help her be comfortable in that setting -- some academic goals, but mostly social goals. The second year will be more of a Kindergarden prep year, if that is appropriate.

As I said, it depends on where you are. Not only is our school district wonderful, and the individuals in the schools are wonderful. At the IEP, a member of the preschool team came and took notes about the specific accommodations that help my daughter. She took copies of everything I brought (my daughter's "resume" that I had written, the neurologist report, and the information I had highlighted about the ways in which dyspraxia affects her) and she really looked and made notes on the papers. These are people I feel I can trust.

Please feel free to ask more questions, here or via PM. I don't know how much I can help, but I do feel your anxiety. I spent a great deal of time short of breath and lightheaded until we got this all settled -- I actually worried more about her than about my autistic son.

All the best,

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My son never had EI, but he did do the speciaed preschool program.
I can understand your concerns, I had some of the same concerns. You don't have to put your dd on the bus. Plenty of kids in these programs get driven by their parents. In general, the teachers are well trained to deal with the kinds of issues that your dd has. Most of the other students will have similar issues, and the classroom will be set up to deal with those types of problems. You may want to set up a visit to the classrooms they are considering for her, but it may be too late this school year. The benefits of a program likethis are the therapy, specialists, and the respite for you. I think you really need to be knowledgabel about your rites as a parent. Your daughter should not just be shoved into whatever slots they have available, an individualized education program needs to be developed- with your input as well as the schools. If you feel that this program is too much for her, she couldgo only part of the time- maybe just on the days the therapist she needs to see is there.
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I drive my dd to her EI preschool two days a week. What worries me is that the director would give you greif about that kind of thing. What other impressions did you get from the school? Can you spend the day in the program to see what it's like? I did this with my dd and while I prefer her Waldorf preschool (she goes there 3x a week), she gets speech therapy at the EI and it's fine. They love her and she seems to like it there.

Our EI program is integrated; children with special needs and children without special needs attend at the same time, because it is a small enough community, and both groups of children learn from one another.

I agree that busing for 3year olds is too young, though Head Start has done it for years. I would push the issue of transporting her myself, and then accept whatever amouont of programming seems right to you. Since you are transporting anyway, you could pick her up after 2 or 3 hours, and gradually increase if it seems right after she adjusts.
I have my ds in an ECP at his school. He will be getting the extended school year programming that they offer for the SN children with severe delays. I am totally with you about 3 being too young for bussing. I think 4 is too young, but Adam rides the bus to school and I pick him up. Our school district has two people on the bus at all times so there is someone other than the bus driver to keep tabs on them. They also have special car seats and seat belts to keep your child safe. That is the only reason I agreed to the busing {ok, that and taking dd out in the cold twice every day}.

I also believe that it all depends on the school district that you are in. Maybe asking them if you can bring your dd to one of their classes and see how she does. Sort of an evaluation of how she reacts to everything and then make your decision. With her only being 3 they can't MAKE you enroll her in their program. After all, contrary to popular opinion, YOU know what is best for her! Good luck with getting things all worked out for your dd.
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