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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preschool shopping again?

It seems we've found ourselves on the preschool merry-go-round again.

But it will be a short ride, I'm thinking. Not preschool, that's sticking around for sure. But the merry-go-round, which is my metaphor for the decision making process.

I love what Christian is doing at his new school. He's responding really well and everyone has gotten to know him and his therapists have a vision for him and goals they want him to (and believe he will) achieve.

Two weeks ago he was able to visit the other preschool classroom. The OT said he did really well and was very attentive. One of the reasons he's in the class he is in right now is because it is a little quieter, and we weren't sure he'd tolerate all the yelling and carrying on of little preschoolers. The traditional preschool program is still a special needs program, but the needs of the children range from Downs Syndrome to speech delays.

Regardless of the various environments we can consider, the goal is to get Christian into the traditional special needs preschool. And he did great with his visits to the regular preschool class last week, which tells us that it might be something he's ready for. His OT at school feels he's ready and as long as he's comfortable and safe, I'm game.

Well, apparently, he wasn't supposed to double dip unless he has certain paperwork or some kind of clearance to be in those specific classrooms. So we're considering reworking the EIP and changing classrooms.

This decision bought me another trip to see the preschool we checked out at the end of last year that we decided not to send Christian to. We visited yesterday.

It was different this time. There were only four children (although the number of students will increase throughout the year as children turn three and qualify for preschool). A little girl, upon walking in, walked right up to Christian in his chair and planted a big kiss on his cheek. Christian got to finger paint and participate in music class. Lola came, too, and was adament about pushing her baby around in a toy shopping cart.

The teacher was very sweet and wanted to learn all about Christian. She wanted to hold him and find out how he was comfortable. She tried to help him paint but he really wasn't positioned correctly so it was difficult for him to enjoy. She really did try hard, bless her heart, but she didn't know Christian and I'm definitely not faulting her for that. If we should decide to send Christian there, she would have to find out how he likes to be positioned. So I had to let go and let her try and figure it out. I walked her through it and gave her pointers and showed her, but I had to be hands off when I what I really wanted to do was scoop him right up and never let him go!

There are so many pro's and con's to each program and each school. I'm still sitting with this and I have yet to sit in on the preschool program at the school he is already attending. (Remember he's in a different classroom.)

One of the pro's to attending the school next to us is that it's a block away. It only has four children, but has four aides and a teacher. Plenty of attention. Although, as I mentioned, that will change as the year goes by.

The school he is at now is about twenty minutes away so it's kind of a con but we're used to it. It's way more handicap accessible (pro). And I feel we have a momentum going with his therapists and their plans for him. That's definitely a pro. Starting over at another school is kind of a con.

But the deal breaker is that they only offer afternoons for the three year old class at the school close to us. Christian is at his very best in the morning. You could even see it when we visited the other preschool in the afternoon. He was just over it by then. He is a morning person and he really needs a morning program.

I'm still processing the information and processing it, even the decision to move classrooms whether we stay at the school or not.

So the IEP meeting is Wednesday. I'm trying to be as open as I can to all possibilities.

Off to keep tabs on my pro/con list!

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