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Preschool placement


 
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naomid
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PostPosted: March 30 2006, 8:03 PM    Post subject:
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In our area there seem to be 3 choices for public preschool

1) General education Headstart program - mostly typical peers, small number of special needs students
2) Collaborative classes - about 50/50 split between special needs and typical peers
3) Special day Classes (SDC) - small classes of all special needs children with very limited peer interaction

For Callum's IEP they recomended a SDC which we have disagreed with. They've jumped right to least restrictive and it's not the right setting for him. They only have 2 collabrative classes in our district and they are both full.

What kind of preschool placement does/did your child have? Do/did they have a 1 on 1 aide? what's your experience been like?

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mary c
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PostPosted: March 30 2006, 9:45 PM    Post subject:
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Anna is a little younger than Callum and won't transition to CPSE until December, but we already have preschool in place for September. We are sending Anna to a typical nursery school (where my older kids went) for two mornings a week in the two year old program. Because her birthday is after December 1st, the school district cutoff, this is the age cohort she will actually enter kindergarten with. We will be paying for this ourselves, just as we did with our other kids, but we will still have all the services that we currently have at home (PT, ST, OT and special ed twice a week). The nursery school is amenable to having the therapists sit in and do their thing at school if we want, but we are intending to have the nursery school experience just for socialization. If we need to, though, we could change the special ed teacher to a SEIT (special education itinerant teacher) who would sit in on nursery school and assist her. This year Anna goes to an integrated Mommy and Me program where she does just fine--she is one of the few that is well behaved at circle time and doesn't fall apart when the mommies leave briefly. I'm very pleased with the nursery school for next year; my older kids went there and I have kept in touch all these years with the directors; many of the teachers and the director have special needs children of their own and as a result not only are they accepting of children with special needs, they actually embrace them. Finally, our therapists have been in the school with other children and have universally said they thought this was the best nursery school around as they are open to suggestions from the therapists that usually also benefit all the children.

We have the option of putting Anna in a "program" where she would go for most of the day and get all of her therapy there, all to be paid by the county or the school district. All of the therapists as well as our EI coordinator and the County Health Department administrator agree that such a program would not benefit Anna--she is thriving with her contact with typical kids and is surprising us every day.

Hope this helps--I didn't mean to write you a novel but this placement is something I've been wrestling with since September. Only time will tell me if I'm doing the right thing, but I feel confident right now that it's the right decision for my kid.

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naomid
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PostPosted: March 30 2006, 11:42 PM    Post subject:
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Callum is already in a private preschool that he's been attending since he was 3 months old (it's also a day care). He is with his typical peers and there is one other child who has special needs. He loves it there and does great with circle time, etc. which is why we're fighting them on the school district placement.

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mary c
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PostPosted: March 31 2006, 9:38 AM    Post subject:
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Sometimes I think they just see the diagnosis and then pidgeonhole the kid into the slot they have. Since he is doing fine with typical kids now why do they feel the need to put him in a special ed preschool now? Would they consider leaving him where he is now with services added rather than a special ed program?

I have a little bias in all this. I have a 12 year old who is dyslexic and have been going to IEP meetings for years. We have felt that nobody really thought outside the box in our school district--they had various options and then slotted the kids into what was available instead of looking at it the opposite way--what does the kid need and how can we make the program work for him. In the end we gave up on the public school and pulled my son out entirely and have sent him to a private school that is just for kids with language based learning disabilities. The kids in the school are all gifted but quirky in their learning styles which makes for an exciting and innovative environment. So for my son, we did the opposite of inclusion because that was what he needed. With Anna, we feel she needs to be in the most mainstream environment possible and will be pushing for it. That's why they call it an "individualized educational plan". Ok, I'll get off my soapbox.

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elizasmom
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PostPosted: March 31 2006, 1:53 PM    Post subject:
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This has become the first topic of our new Ds under 5 parent group and it's kind of a hot topic right now. I guess in our county they are very resistant to giving one-on one aides etc. So they automatically give you the sped preschool unless you fight it. All the parents are pretty frustrated, and it doesn't really make sense if they want to mainstream a child in kindergarten but not mainstream him in preschool. One mom told me she is going for the school district paying for private montessori preschool with one-on-one aide. We have a local parents resource group that helps you sort out the laws and negeotiate with the school district. Maybe there is one near where you live. It just gives me a bad taste in my mouth how non"individualized" these meetings are!

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helandy.cop
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PostPosted: March 31 2006, 2:54 PM    Post subject:
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I guess it's a bit different here, but Matt will be starting school nursery in September. He'll be the only child (as far as they know at the moment) with a disability in his class of 24 kids. He'll get some 1:1 time and some small group time, but the rest of the time he'll be with his peers. There's 1 other child in the school with DS and a number with physical disabilities. I guess it's just a regular mainstream school, but for Matt, I think it's the right setting.

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naomid
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PostPosted: March 31 2006, 6:25 PM    Post subject:
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Helen,
State run nursery school is pretty common in the UK, here school doesn't start until Kindergarten (age 5 I think) which is the equivalent of infant school.

The only kids who seem to get state preschool places are those on low incomes or those with a disability. The lack of places and the limited target population seems to encourage school districts to segragate classes. By law the school districts are supposed to offer a placement for kids with a disability based on least restrictive environment and where they are educated with their peers. However the reality for my school district seems to be offer where you have space and hope that the parent doesn't make a fuss.

Once Matt is at school will they do any speech or OT with him?

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veronika Evans
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PostPosted: April 01 2006, 2:01 AM    Post subject:
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I already wrote a novel on the other thread (by Eliza's mom on pre-k placement) so I won't bore you with the details all over again :rolleyes: Just wanted to say that Olivia's "team" never questioned our desire to place Livi in Headstart and totally encouraged it. The school psychologist seemed totally upset when we found that our local headstart had no opening for Olivia apon her 3rd birthday and questioned whether putting her in the SDC was best for her. It was her opinion that mainstreaming Liv with her peers was THE BEST and ONLY option. I wish every kids' team would be as supportive as ours has been. At this time, an aide has not been deemed neccessary for Olivia...she seems to be hanging in there just fine. Only the craft projects have been tailored to suit her abilities. It would be nice I think, for her to have a personal aide, but have been told that if the budget did not allow for one and she really needed an aide to function, her days per week would be cut back. So I'm glad that the teachers feel that she is keeping up.

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helandy.cop
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PostPosted: April 01 2006, 3:28 AM    Post subject:
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Don't think they'll do these things officially, but his 1:1 is very experienced so will have elements of this within the time spent with him. In UK, only a tiny minority of kids with DS get OT - only if there is a specific problem later down the line, so I'm told! I'll probably still take MAtt to his speech group (non NHS) which is probably better than state ST anyway.

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momofrussell
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PostPosted: April 05 2006, 11:16 PM    Post subject:
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Well, the law reads LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) IS with typical peers and a child should be placed in that environment UNLESS with all the suppliments (which includes a 1:1 if needed) and adaptations it does not work and the child then needs to be placed in a more restrictive environment. (I am paraphrasing but this is how the IDEA law reads.)

IF you want inclusion for your child... and if you have to, put the request in writing... and go from there. ALOT of places DO pigeon hole our children... do testing, place them accordingly to what they THINK might work, ect.. but.. inclusion works for ALOT of kids! So... I would always ask nicely.. and in writing... and then IF they say NO.. ask why... ask them to show you where it states your child CAN'T have inclusion and ALWAYS have them put it in writing!

Good luck! I think if your child is already in an inclusion setting.. that says it all!!!!

A. Smile

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southernbelle
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 7:55 AM    Post subject:
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It sounds like Callum is in a school district that is crowded and their decision is based on what's easiest for them rather than what's best for Callum. In our school district, the special ed director has a child with Autism...so he's really atuned to how parents feel and wanting to do what's best for the child. He's offered us anything WE want...headstart, special ed class...combination of both...mornings, afternoons. Ect. He's bending over backwards a year in advance to try to get us to bring AUstin to the public school system. Our PT is also the school wide PT so he's sending messages through Aimee. LOL
Naomi, I said this before, when you posted earlier. I would insist on what YOU think is best for Callum. You know him better than anyone else.
AMY

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kwisteena1021
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 8:17 AM    Post subject:
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When Kallie went to preschool(now in 1st grade) she went to something called P.L.A.C.E Preschool language and classroom experiences. Was a great program with varying abilities. Some were only in the program cause they didn't know how to speak English. Some because they had processing issues. Some because they have sensory issues. It was a wide range. I hope that they do what is best for Callum and as Amy said not what is best for the district. As always, parents are an important part of the team and ultimately you have the final say.

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lespring
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 9:16 AM    Post subject:
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Angela had a split program. She went 3 mornings a week to regular ed preschool, with no supports. Then she went 2 mornings a week to special ed. preschool where she got all her services (ST/OT/PT, etc.) and some more focus on her language issues and developing social skills. Worked great for her.

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Suz
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 9:37 AM    Post subject:
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Here in Alberta, our kids go through an 'assessment' process when they are 2.5 years. All kids with Down syndrome end up with 'PUF' funding - preschool unit funding, which gives us about $20,000/year to allot to:

1. district site school (like your SDC). Kids with disabilities only and therapies are in a school setting.
2. school with some community kids/some kids with disabilities - therapies again are given in-school or through home visits.
3. community based integration program - with a home-based 'Disability Specialist' worker 3 hours/day. The worker takes the child to community, 'regular' activities (including swimming, music class, community preschool - whatever you want) and then therapies are also given as needed.

We are doing #3 in September. I'm happy with our decision, but it did not come about without a lot of sleepless nights and handwringing.

What we had to decide is what is best for Aaron and us as a family. What we wanted was him to have fun and play as much as a typical child, and get his therapies 'on the side'. So then we found an option that fit that.

We have the freedom here to make our own preschool choices, although some schools/agencies will try to convince you otherwise if they feel your child isn't a good 'fit'.

What I learned through this process is to listen to your gut, and we actually sat down and wrote out what we felt was important for Aaron and our family. That helped narrow down our choices.

Good luck! You know what's best for Callum!

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naomid
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 12:10 PM    Post subject:
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Thanks everyone. We've declined the placement and are now awaiting a meeting with the placement coordinator, but unfourtunately she's out on jury duty and then there is 2 weeks for spring break. EI is extending his services until we have it sorted out which is great as I like his EI services.

Suz, The options you have sound great and gives much more flexibility, maybe we need to move to Canada!

Amy, your school district sounds wonderful. I know they do have some good programs in our school district but they're full - which isn't Callum's fault. I'm going to fight this until we have what's best for Callum, I just hate the fact that we have to fight.

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momofrussell
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 12:16 PM    Post subject:
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Just so you know.. if LRE in your district is FULL.. they are to find him similiar placement EVEN if it means OUT OF DISTRICT... that does NOT mean they place him in a more restrictive environment IN district because LRE options are full.

Russell has gone out of district a few times... in CA and in IL... no questions asked.. that was offered due to what was LRE for him.

A.

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southernbelle
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 1:13 PM    Post subject:
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momofrussell wrote:

Just so you know.. if LRE in your district is FULL.. they are to find him similiar placement EVEN if it means OUT OF DISTRICT... that does NOT mean they place him in a more restrictive environment IN district because LRE options are full.

Russell has gone out of district a few times... in CA and in IL... no questions asked.. that was offered due to what was LRE for him.

A.


Thats encouraging to know...I need to get educated. Austin is only a year away from all these decisions
LOL AMY

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kwisteena1021
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 1:22 PM    Post subject:
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That is great advice A...I bet lots of people don't know that!

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naomid
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PostPosted: April 06 2006, 1:57 PM    Post subject:
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Great advice Adrienne adn something I didn't know. I'll keep that in mind when we do eventually get our meeting.

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Naomi
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