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PreK in California


 
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jelanismom
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Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: May 06 2006, 1:03 PM    Post subject:
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I'm hoping to hear from all who have placed their child in preschool (either special ed or regular)...

Jelani has been in pre-K now for 5 weeks and his class is 4 x week for 3 hours and there are 12 kids, it's taught by a special ed teacher, and the kids "appear" typical, infact, although Jelani is the only DS child, there are I think a couple with autism...of course they won't disclose the other diagnosis in his class due to privacy laws, but I am greatly amazed at this being a special ed class. The kids are 3 and 4 yrs old and are awesome. I spent a day in the class to observe and the teacher is wonderful, I love her. The activities for the 3 hour day include developemental observation (the teacher starts the class letting the kids sit at tables and work on projects geared around fine motor skills), then there's circle time and the teacher is at the head of the circle on the floor and one by one she'll have them come to the easle (that sits next to her) and place their name, (colored paper with names they need to find) on the place with their name (matching skills)...she'll have story time, music time, too ,in the circle. (Jelani brings home crafts that would blow your mind!) Table time is full of one on one activities that the teacher and her two aids assist the kids with. It's amazing. There's potty time, outdoor recess, snack time, and more all in 3 hours time!!!
Jelani has wonderful peers, all are walking, using scissors!, (not at the same time, lol) speaking very well, they help Jelani with his walking (he's not walking yet) and to tell you the truth, I'm so happy he's there. He will be receiving OT and PT and ST that they provide within his classroom, the therapists will pull him aside for this. He's had 3 years of O.T.!!! (But, my little man won't walk yet!)
I guess what I'm saying, if you're still reading, is that I would never have imagined this to be a special ed class...
The only draw back is that Jelani does need more intense one on one with speach, so I may need to go privately or see if the school would provide more outside the class (more than 30 minutes 2xweek).
I've purchased books at woodbinehouse.com to help me learn more about OT, PT, ST and I use this to help Jelani at home.
The school has let me know that anytime I want I can visit the other site...it's a program funded by the state that is a pre-k for more severly handicapped ( I hate the word ), but it consists of children with wheelchairs, walkers (Jelani uses a walker) different diagnosis, but a more intense one on one atmosphere. No typically developing children. I worry only because I want Jelani to be around "both" and yet in his pre-K he has currently, the one on one is not as intense, no aid. Jelani has very limited speech, fine and gross motor need help, and I need to reevaluate whether or not this site would be best or better than where he is. We all want our kids in the "least restrictive environment", but I need to feel positive that he will thrive, reach his goals, etc. without the one on one aid...I will definitely be going to visit this other site...to "see" for myself.

Thanks for letting me babbbble......
I'm hoping to hear from others in Cali concerning the Pre-K that your child is attending...or did attend!
Thanks if you made it this far reading!
Dawn

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momofrussell
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PostPosted: May 10 2006, 5:52 PM    Post subject:
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We still lived in CA when Russell turned 3 and started EC. We lived in Cypress at the time and our district had a program but wasn't appropriate for him. WAY too above him actually. They wanted Russell in a more "intensive" class but I said no so we went to this other program with Anaheim school district. It was WONDERFUL...I think 90% of the kids had DS LOL... it was cute.. wonderful teacher, ect. It's funny, Russell was pretty delayed and he didn't have the dual DX yet.. but he had OT and PT but NO ST... It really didn't phase me until we moved a few months later to IL and we got him ST.

Good luck with whatever you do!!!!

A.

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Emdad
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PostPosted: May 10 2006, 6:09 PM    Post subject:
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Your description sounds like the classroom that Emma was in for two years. It was great! There were kids there that had no 'apparent' disabilities, and I think it was a great atmosphere for Emma.

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momofrussell
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PostPosted: May 10 2006, 7:08 PM    Post subject:
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Russell was in a class more like that in IL...a cross catagory class. Great teacher... but it ended up not being appropriate for Russell and we had to move him to a more restrictive environment.

A. Smile

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naomid
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PostPosted: May 10 2006, 9:01 PM    Post subject:
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You're close to me, I'm in Santa Monica.

Callum turned 3 in March and we still haven' sorted his school out yet. They offered us a SDC (special day class) - very little peer interaction, all kids with special needs. We visited the class but it just wasn't for Callum. They do a collabrative class which is a mixture of kids with special needs and typical peers which unfourtunately is full for this year. At the moment it looks like we'll be working something out with the school district where he stays in his current preschool class which is in a private school and he's the only one with special needs. We'll need to find his therapist privately until September though.

In his IEP Callum is supposed to get STx2, PTx1 and OTx1 all one on one and APE once a week which is done as a group.

Where abouts in LA are you?

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jelanismom
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Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: May 10 2006, 9:36 PM    Post subject:
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Thanks you guys

I am going to go on 5-19 to take a tour of a school that is more "intensive". It has all sorts of kiddos with all sorts of dx...I'm already feeling apprehensive...I don't know why, I just have to keep an open mind (I have a soft heart for little one's w/ disabilities, so I'm afraid of what I'll be seeing) ...But,
I might find this school to offer Jelani more of what he needs...one-on-one aid, etc. I'll let you guys know. The school psychologist and his teacher from his current pre-K now are all going with me...intimidating, but that's ok. I make the final decision here. My gut feeling is that Jelani needs more close attention, but he also needs to be around typical developing peers...so, it's a tough one. He's so far behind the kids in his current class...they all color, cut and paste, heck, they WALK and TALK and sing and dance...I'm feeling sorta sad now guys...am I over-reacting??

Jelani has no other little play pals but in his pre-K classes. I want him to associate with ALL kids, not only those w/ walkers (like he has) and some with other serious dx...you guys I'm nervous, but I need to go see the site. I don't want to cry if I see a precious child unable to even keep the head straight, or banging their heads on walls, or whatever...
I'm so new to the world of disabilities and Jelani is the first child I've EVER known w/a disability (hate the word) but it's true...and I'm a single mom (whine) (small violins now~~~~) But this is really alot on my mind to think about and I guess I'll have to just take a look at the (more restrictive school) and pray...
thanks for reading:)
Dawn

P.S.
MomofRussell:

I used to live in Chicago for 13 years...I moved here to LA in'94. What made you move to Chicago?
So did you just know instinctively that Russell needed a more intensive program???What were the advantages and disadvantages??
thanks

[Edited by jelanismom on 05-10-2006 at 09:50 PM]

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momofrussell
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PostPosted: May 10 2006, 10:12 PM    Post subject:
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Dawn.. I actually live in St Louis now. Wink Sorry, I think my post mislead on accident. We moved to IL but outside of St. Louis, MO when we first moved back here.. and then since my husband worked in MO.. we moved to the other side of the river.

You know.. in the beginning (when Russell turned 3) I placed him in the least restrictive environment. Russell was legally blind (cataracts at birth but no lens implants) but I didn't know he was more "impaired" then his peers w/DS. So... we placed him where WE wanted him. Then we moved to IL and did the same. Around the time he turned 4 it was apparent after meeting some other kids w/DS his age and even years younger... something else was going on. And he wasn't "learning" in the cross catagory class in IL. So... I asked what other options there were and decided on an intensive needs class. I have to say, I CRIED and CRIED making this decision. The school was heartbreaking at the time... LOTS of needs... Russell was one of very few that even walked...but I realized this is what he needed....and around the same time... we realized he was probably Autistic. So... that is why he needs more of a restrictive environment..smalller class size. We have had to place and "replace" him like this a few times in his short school lifetime. Wink

For Russell... the positives are he gets more intensive care... more 1:1 without true 1:1. Most of the classrooms he works better in are more "theraputic" if you will. So... we realised the preschool and/or academic classroom style wasn't cutting it.. he needed therapy all day and/or a continuation of Early Intervention even at 4 or 5 yrs old... he STILL does. Russell is 8 and is still VERY delayed... VERY... so we have had to choose classrooms accordinging.

I would say the disadvantages for MOST kids is that they don't get the typical peer interaction and "modeling". Sometimes there is little or no social interaction because the kids have so many needs... and they aren't social. Things like that. Right now, the kids in Russell's current placement don't talk.. and some don't even walk. But Russell doesn't mimick or notice yet..... so it's not really an issue with us. We had to take some of that stuff out of the equation for now. You learn you have to truly understand what your child needs... and compromise....

Naomi... I noticed you said you would have to provide payment for Therapies until Sept... if the IEP team/disrict has agreed that the private school your child is in, IS appropriate.. then the district pays for the therapies. And if there is some class, like you stated, that is appropriate but "full", legally they really would have to provide you that same option of setting in a neighboring district. Sounds like the private preschool is working.. so that is good.. but I thought I would let you know!

A. Smile

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Adrienne, mom to Regan 13, Russell 8 (DS, Autism, Visually Impaired) and Reece, 5.

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naomid
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PostPosted: May 10 2006, 11:13 PM    Post subject:
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Adrienne,

The school district will be paying towards his therapies but I'm just not sure how much yet and we still have to find the therapists. We're still working out all the details but hopefully we'll get it sorted by the end of the month.

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jelanismom
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Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: May 10 2006, 11:29 PM    Post subject:
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Sorry Naomi, I missed your question earlier...
I live in Hawthorne currently for 4 years, but
I've lived quite a few places in Southern Cali!
mostly due to job changes...

Long Bch '94
Bellflower'95
Downey '96
Lakewood
Venice '97
West LA '98,'99,'00
CulverCity'01
Hawthorne '02-'06!!!!

Wow, aren't you sorry you asked! lol

But thanks for asking...where abouts in Santa Monica do you live?

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momofrussell
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PostPosted: May 11 2006, 9:35 AM    Post subject:
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Thanks Naomi... sorry I was being so nosey! LOL

A.

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Adrienne, mom to Regan 13, Russell 8 (DS, Autism, Visually Impaired) and Reece, 5.

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jelanismom
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PostPosted: May 11 2006, 11:31 AM    Post subject:
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Adrienne,

I saw your family pic and what a handsome family you all are, is that a pic taken in St Louis? (my turn to be nosey, lol)...

Thankyou for sharing about Russell's extensive background, whoa, what a road you've all been on...but what an awesome mom he has (don't you hate when people say that? I do)Smile

You said that Russell was legally blind, so now does he wear glasses even with his implants?
Jelani has myopic degeneration (nearsightedness increasing) retinal thinning, and nystagmus (slight jittering of eyes side to side-but becoming less and less noticeable)...he wears glasses and has since he was 6 mos. old...his vision is a -14.50, and w/o glasses he's legally blind (can only see 2 inches in front of his face w/o corrective lenses). That's another topic all together.

But I so appreciate you sharing with me...I feel that even at his age that it's important to have that social interracton from typical peers and I fear like you mentioned the lack of modelling he'll have once he's in the more intensive program...(see I've already decided before even seeing the school)... it's just I see his delays more pronounced because I'm focusing in on them now as I ponder over this alternate school...

His prematurity plays a huge role, (12 weeks early), but I've started noticing that he'll mimic more the things I say, more than he did at all prior to even last month! So this is an awesome thing. Just yesterday he said "eye kweem" for ice cream (hee-hee) and he's starting to try and keep up with the "Sponge Bob" song that starts the cartoon... oh and whenever he sees a backpack or shirt or anything w/the logo, then he says "Bob!" ...these are great strides...for some kiddos, w/DS, this was already happening at 2yrs. old...but I get to brag about it now that he's 3.5!! (Bragggggg).... Can you hear me bragging? LOL, That's the cool thing about coming here to Downsyn...everyone understands how these little breakthroughs mean a WORLD of difference to us...KWIM!!!

I do feel that by 4 I'll have him evaluated by a developemental specialist to check for dual-dx...I notice he has quirky things he'll like to do to music,and upon waking...he'll shake his head back and forth (like an exagerrated Stevie Wonder thing he does or Ray Charles...ya know the shaking head thing?)...but that's not ALL day...just to music when the mood strikes him, and always upon waking...hmmm I'm not sure if that's an autistic thing or not? Did Russell do that?

Anyway, let me just say that I'll try not to cry when I see the program next friday. I can't just bank on Jelani overcomming his delays as he grows older, (prematurity), I need to start now by getting these issues addressed in the more intensive program. I can always change out after a while if I see his goals are not being met...it was just so comfy to have him going to his pre-K closer to home because I walk him to school and the school busses him back home.

WELL, enough babbbbbbling.....just wanted to thankyou A~ for helping me think thru' this and for all who are reading too, I'll give your eyes a break now! Very Happy Very Happy


Dawn

[Edited by jelanismom on 05-11-2006 at 11:44 AM]

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momofrussell
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PostPosted: May 11 2006, 12:15 PM    Post subject:
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Very Happy

You talking about the whole family pic in the thread of what we all look like? That was taken here in St Louis. We have been out in the midwest for 5 yrs come this Sept. We lived in IL for almost 2 yrs and then on the other side of the river (St louis) for 3.

And I don't mind AT ALL being thought of as an AWESOME MOM!
heehee... those comments don't bother me Wink I have to say he is my easy one at times though LOL

Russell was born with the bilateral cataracts which were removed shortly after birth. But he didn't have the lens implants until he was 4 1/2. So, he wore glasses from like 3 months on. When he got the implants he stopped wearing glasses although he was a bit nearsighted. It's gotten worse here recently and we have to get glasses for him now. Russell also has Nystagmus as well as Amblopia and Strabismus. He has had muscle sugery in the past and will have another on June 2. He also has had his left pupil pulled down and reconstructed.

Russell stims different ways.. but he also had no language, little or no eye contact, ect... so it wasn't JUST the stimming. But I would suggest if your son stims in school, to make sure they know to have him NOT do it at school. That was one thing early on I learned the hard way Sad The first class in IL was letting him stim ALL DAY.. .and therefore.. he didn't learn. Russell is content and complacent... so he really needs an IN YOUR FACE approach. He is extremely delayed... he still functions around 12-15 months old... although he is 8. He's come along way but has some hurdles to still get over to get to any "next level".

I know before Russell was in school, and when he started... I wanted him in the most inclusive, typical peered place possible. The class we did send him to was self contained but at an Elementary school with typical peers. Even in a self contained type environment I learned Russell needed a more intense and restrictive environment. His classroom now, most of you would cry seeing LOL.. but that is where HE thrives best.

I know it's hard... just keep an open mind with all placement options and if you cry, then cry! It happens! Sometimes us parents have what WE want.. and our perceptions of what we want the class to look like, ect.. and sometimes we have to leave that "at the door". Wink But it's a process. Some may call me resigned at times..but I have just learned to accept what works best for Russell.

Good luck with everything...keep me posted!!! And SEE.. I can ramble too! LOL

A.

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jelanismom
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PostPosted: May 11 2006, 12:31 PM    Post subject:
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OH you rammmmbler! LOL Very Happy
...am I one to talk or what???

Bless that little rascal Russell....lol

"Russell the rascal" Very Happy hee-hee

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jelanismom
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PostPosted: May 11 2006, 12:39 PM    Post subject:
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No wait...I have another one for ya'

"Jelani the J-Bird?"....no not funny Sad
"Jelani the Jitterbug"...no, sounds weird...

oh, I've got it!
"Jelani the Jokester" hee-hee...

Blame the coffee...lol,

I've only had 1 cup, but I guess I gotta cut back! Very Happy Very Happy

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momofrussell
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PostPosted: May 11 2006, 4:52 PM    Post subject:
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heehee.. I like the Jelani the Jokester! Wink Russell the Rascal just about fits, let me tell ya!

I was just re-reading all the places you have lived... we lived in the same area/s at the same time Wink

A.

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Adrienne, mom to Regan 13, Russell 8 (DS, Autism, Visually Impaired) and Reece, 5.

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jelanismom
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PostPosted: May 11 2006, 7:25 PM    Post subject:
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Uh-oh...you were stalking me???


Hee-hee
:p

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