New schoolyear, new therapists for my son
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  1. #1
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    Post New schoolyear, new therapists for my son

    I met my son's new speech therapist today. I am happy with her personality and her approach. I'm looking forward to working with her. Thing is she is 6 mos pregnant. grrrrr You know what this means.
    My son is currently being transitioned into prek. It's about a 4 week process. He did well today. Having ST and OT back to back was a bit excessive, so we'll be changing that.
    We have the next IEP meeting set up for Sept. 17th.
    The plan was to have him in an "AI" classroom. This classroom was very small and had a great ratio of student:parapro.
    The problem is this~ My son is very high functioning. He is capable of interacting and does have some speech. The kids in this classroom don't communicate or interact as much as I would like for my son. I guess we are not going to be placing him in this classroom, so I have a decision to make on what classroom he does fit better in. *sigh*
    I have his PT and Music therapy evaluation referrals set up and hopefully those will fall into place around the same time as school starting.
    That's been my day, so far. LOL

    Sara

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    Sara, our Justin is very high functioning too. I can feel for you.

    In regards to the speech therapist, can you have a different one right from the beginning. When our ds was in a special day care (it was a pilot program), his worker was pg and didn't tell us. When we finally found out, we fought tooth and nail to have a new worker so that he wouldn't have a hard transition to make. Kids with autism/autistic like behavior have a very hard time with any change. We finally got a new worker, but it took us 2 months. The new worker then worked with him until the program was finished.

    One thought - the A1 classroom. Would he get more undivided attention there than in a regular classroom right now? Would that be more beneficial to him than putting him in another class where the kids respond more. My thoughts are that maybe for the first year, he would benefit with the smallness of the class along with more help. Just a thought.

    My heart goes out to you has you make these difficult decisions. Let us know how things go.

  3. #3
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    I agree with the one on one being important, but here's my thinking. "I" give him a lot of one on one. Moreso than a parapro can offer within a 2.5 hrs block of time in class. (keeping in mind that within these 2.5 hrs is snack and assembling the kids for motor activities etc)
    His autistic tendencies have decreased to the point of the main issues currently being sensory and speech. (meaning very few stims and/or tantrums whereas at one time this was almost nonstop)
    What brought me to considering a different classroom was observing him with other AI kids. He was in the gym and wanted to toss a ball to one. The other child just let the ball bounce right on by. Zachary went and got the ball and tried again. He then started tossing and playing ball with the teacher.
    As I watched, all I could think was, my son wants to interact and will not have an opportunity to do so with his peers, in this particular classroom. I talked to his ST and his OT and the school supervisor briefly and they all agreed that he had made huge strides and that particular classroom wasn't a "match".
    I expressed to the supervisor that if I placed him in a different PPI (preprimary inclusion) class and it didn't work out, we would try a different classroom, but that I'd like to get it right the first time, ya know? I'm looking forward to the IEP, so we can all discuss together what we all think. (school and parents)
    Thing is, I am beginning to wonder, if I should be pushing regular preschool.
    As far as the ST goes, I was shocked to see her 6 mos pregnant. Assuming she takes a minimum of 6 weeks off, I think Zachary would lose any bond he created, but I could be wrong there. It's so frustrating because I do like this one. (esp compared to the last one) I suppose, I could insist on consistency because it's very important for Zachary, but at the same time, I have to pick my battles because I know I will be fighting for Music Therapy.
    Ok, I have rambled on. Education and therapy are two topics, I could discuss 'til I am blue. LOL

    Sara

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    Okay now I understand. I can certainly see your point if the other kids didn't react at all, that IMO would definitely set him back and you don't want that. You want him interacting with others for sure.

    Will they put him in a regular classroom? Our education system is so different here. Its the law that every child, no matter what the disability has to be integrated into a regular classroom. It doesn't matter if they can't talk, aren't potty trained, no matter, they have to be integrated. Actually here they've swung the pendulum way over to the other side. At times, its a disadvantage to both the teachers and the child.

    I've always been in the middle. I love to see our kids be integrated for classes such as phys. ed, art, music, and such so they learn to socialize and then have one on one when it comes to language arts/math. That way, they get the best of both worlds.

    Its interesting, they did a pilot program here with autistic kids. They placed them in a regular classroom and that child had one on one the whole classroom. Everything was done with a worker and the child. That worker stayed with that child through the whole program. It was totally one on one. The worker never worked with another child, nor was he a teacher's assistant. He worked only with the child. It was started at pre-school I believe and went until the child was 6 and when the kids came out of the program, they were a completely different child. It was amazing to see the difference.

    On to music therapy - our dd music teacher said that kids who have music of any type learn far faster and better than kids who don't. We've seen it over and over with our dd. Since she started music lessons (with an amazing music teacher, trained in working with special needs kids), her reading has improved, her math she is quickly catching up and her attention span has increased ten-fold.

    Sara, who supplies the music therapy, the school?

    This topic is the main reason I homeschool!!!

  6. #5
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    My son will eventually be in a regular classroom, but in preprimary they work it a bit differently. They will never say it's according to disability. That would not be lawful, but it's quite obvious that the classrooms are conveniently set up in a way that children of this type of issue are here and this type there. (don't get me started on that) LOL
    I do feel a parapro is an incredible thing. Again, one must fight for a one on one parapro, so me giving a little here and now, gives me leverage later when he truly needs one.
    Music therapy is in the school curriculum, but I am seeking additional therapy than the standard. I think it's going to boil down to me going private for speech and music therapy, so I am confident he's getting what I want and he needs. School is responsible for these costs if it's shown my son has the need and they can't fulfill that need, but we do have insurance coverage that would cover these expenses, so we aren't relying on services through the school.
    I've considered homeschooling many many times. I absolutely know I could for a couple of years and feel confident that I was doing what was best for Zachary, but as he grew older, my confidence in my own teaching skills starts to fizzle away. I have zero apprehensions outside of my own self confidence. Now also keep in mind that on the other hand, I feel I am his primary educator and take on responsibility as such, so I honestly don't know what my "thing" is. LOL Scared I guess.
    I am a bit confused on MI homeschool laws, as well. Maybe you could tell me what all the mumbo jumbo is actually saying as far as the laws here go. It was most confusing to me when I was reading it.

    Sara

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    My were on a roll today. Homeschooling - I can't speak enough for it. First, go to http://hslda.org/ and see what the laws state. Call them if you have too, they are an excellant resource and has a homeschooler, don't homeschool without them. They are there should you ever need legal help and for only $125 a year, well worth it. Any legal fees they take on themselves. They also fight for homeschooler's rights. They will explain everything to you in regards to the laws in your State.

    You can legally homeschool in every State and province so don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    Next, we went private OT and speech and for Justin (autistic) it was the absolute best thing we could have done. It cost us many dollars, but we did have some insurance to cover it. The OT therapist was also trained in sensory intergration and worked exceptionally well with autistic kids. I can't speak highly enough about private therapies. I'm not sure where Justin would be today had he not had those years of private therapies. Both therapists were outstanding and helped us as a family work at home with him also. At the time he needed therapies, the waiting list was 18 mos.

    As to fears of homeschooling - I had them too. The first 2 years I thought I would lose it and about gave up many times. I thought I wasn't teaching him right, that he wouldn't learn and that I was hindering him in his learning experiences. Of course, others didn't help the situation. But I knew in my heart I was suppose to homeschool him. So I kept at it and one day in our 3rd year, it begin to click with him. We've never looked back. Did I know how to teach him. In some ways yes, but not always. But you know what, we learnt together. What I forgot (theres a great book titled I forgot everything I learnt in school), we learnt together. Funny at 53, I can finally do algebra - I failed it miserably in school. Don't fear the fact you can't teach Zachary. You do it 24/7 and look at where he is now. If you can teach him up to now, you can homeschool him.

    There are is so much great curriculum out there now and so many great ways to homeschool that teaching a child with disabilities is just like teaching any child. It is a challenge, don't get me wrong, but is oh so rewarding. There are also great books out there to read on homeschooling our special needs child/children.

    One really neat thing about homeschooling is that we were able to go to therapies during the day and for 1 hour at a time. We were also able to do some travelling with dh when we would never have been able to do so before. The most important though, had our ds/dd gone to school, they would have fallen through the cracks. They look absolutely like any other child and you don't see the disability like you do with our Michael (DS). I hear stories all the time of kids who have fallen through the cracks because they don't fit the mold of a disabled child.

    Do I think you can homeschool. You bet I do. Do I think Zachary will learn being homeschooled. You bet I do. Remember, at any time, should you feel homeschooling isn't for you, you can have him go to a regular school. Have I seen success in homeschooling a child/children with needs - absolutely!!

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