Hi, my dd has learning difficulties possibly autism, she is such a loving and caring little girl and loves cuddles, she doesn't know how to interact very well, not potty trained, limited speech, no sense of dangers, doesn't like loud noises and likes her own space unless she comes to you. She has been going to 2 nursarys, 1 special nursary and a normal nursary. She loves both of them and gets on well at both. At her normal nursary she is very popular and lots of children look after her, they help her with her coat and play quietly around her, I have amazing pictures of her playing with them and hugging them and holding their hands. The time has come to decide weather to send on to the school the nursary is attached to (it's an academy) with her friends or send her to a special school.
The normal school I've heard has had some probs meeting the needs of children with extra needs, plus they have nothing in place to help her it would be put in place for her if she got funding. I viewed another primary school with an add on part for children with extra needs so everything's already in place. They have 10 children there with lots of helpers, separate room for computers which as my dd is a technical wizard is great, a sensory room, their own kitchen abd craft area shower room changing room as lots their are nit potty trained, their own little playground. Plus they like to integrate them in the normal school as well so she'd get a class buddy in the normal school and along with helper go to normal classes so long as she could handle it. She'd go on all school trips and swimming, join in with pe aswell and at lunch times if she went in dinner Hall with other children she'd also get a helper. She'd have a set of friends in special part of school and a group of friends in normal part of school. 2 things bother me, 1 is I'm worried cause she has an amazing set of friends at the nursary she goes now plus she loves watching children and she learns how to play by watching her friends. 2 is if I send her special school all the other children their have their own set of problems some like my dd who also don't interact and I keep thinking how will she learn how to play and interact as she would be surrounded by others who don't know how so who would she learn from. When we went to see the specialist school part we took dd with us, she loved it and all the other children were friendly and polite and my dd sat down with them and I just had to walk away as I burst into tears, all the other children were about 3/4 yrs older than her and she looked so small and vulnerable. I think it finally hit me that my dd had probs seeing her with other children who obviously had probs. I've known people with Autistic children who have fought so hard to get them into mainstream school, I worry that we are giving up on her to easy. We are so confused what to do. I'm sorry this is such a long thread but this is the most important decision we've had to make for our dd we are so worried were gonna get it wrong
Do you have an educational psychologist you could speak to in this case? They could be one of the best people to help.
When we were in this situation I was awfully confused. She had a great chat with me and told me stories of other families situations and outcomes. She left me with the notion of "try and see". So we decided to send Alex to mainstream. I'm not saying at all that this is the right decision, but it was the right decision for us. The routine and standards at the mainstream school seems t for perfectly with what Alex needed, and she suddenly flourished. Even the educational psychologist couldn't believe it.
What I'm saying is, make sure you get opinions from professionals around you. Ask what the plan would be-would there be an intention to get LO into mainstream full time after time at special school? And if you choose mainstream, could things be reviewed by say, Christmas? Could you go back to the special school option equipped with the knowledge that mainstream is right yet?
That was our plan, we had a review at Christmas and by that point we were happy (and surprised) at how things were going.
We talk alot to the lady that runs the specialist nursary, she is also in charge of my daughter's case load and helps us with all aspects of my daughters needs, she also has an autistic child her self and understands our worries. The things I'm most concerned with in the mainstream school are that my daughter who is nearly 4 but has the mindset of an 18mth old will be taught at the same level as all the other children, she isn't potty trained and gets very embarrassed if she needs changing, she will not be told what to do and will just get up and wonder around. I don't want to send her to mainstream then somewhere else cause she would get used to one and we'd have to pull her away. If she decided to get up and wonder out the door and teacher wasn't watching her there is nothing stopping her getting out were as the other school is all security coded and she'd always be watched. If she started in the special school she would always remain in the special school. If she is particularly good at a certain subject say maths and English then she would join her friends in the main stream school for those classes. They teach her the same as any other child but at her level. So confused
I think that, while there are many benefits to a mainstream school, a special school might fit her needs better. She would get more individual attention and more of her safety accounted for. If things are not going well in a mainstream school, it's unlikely (I imagine) that anyone will tell you outright, because they would be wanting to 'respect' your decision as a parent to send her there and it wouldn't be their place to tell you to do otherwise. Your child might be in a class with 25+ other kids, which is already a lot for one adult to think about. I'm sure the teacher would care and want to do whatever they can, but the reality is they can only get to so many kids in one day. I just feel like she wouldn't get the attention that would help her thrive and be successful. If you do go with the special school, maybe you could compromise by enrolling her in after-school programs where she can socialize with different people? Just some thoughts. And I am basing these thoughts on prior experiences I've mine; ultimately you know your child and their needs best.
My son attends a typical pre-k in the morning for an hour for before-care and then goes to a special needs pre-k the rest of the day, the typical pre-k does not really know how to handle his needs and he definitely would not be able to function on their level all day long (he is also not potty trained and is at an 18 month old developmental age) If my son were to improve then they would put him in a higher ratio classroom or integrate him into a classroom that has both special needs and typical students, for now though my son is in a small ratio classroom to best fit his needs.
Given that the specialist school can offer an avenue into mainstream and that the other school has problems meeting the needs I think the specialist school is best, and she can go and do as much mainstream as she can handle.
Your first point about nursery friends - sadly the fact is that nursery friendships can fall to the wayside its certainly not something worth basing a decision on.
With your second point perhaps some reassurance.
I think perhaps the problem is not that you are confused as to what to do, I get from your posts that deep down you know that the specialist school is best but what that means. Commiting to it means that your daughter will not go to mainstream and will forever be in a specialist environment. You are not giving up on her you are making a decision that is right for her.
My son's starting school this summer to. He's diagnosed as being autistic and I have chosen the specialist school. He had been in mainstream nursery when he first started going and it was probably the worst time we went through as a family the nursery had no idea how to deal with him at all we moved him to a specialist nursery for children with asd and the difference was jaw dropping.
I don't feel the mainstream school here are able to give him the support he needs to develop learn amd be happy classes are to big.
The 1 thing o think is important to remember (where we are anyway) if I had went mainstream it would be extremely difficult to move him to the specialist school where as if it's the other way about its not as hard and I think it's good there keeping a link with the mainstream xx
Thanks everyone for all your advice it was a big help. My husband went and viewed the school with the specialist part on Friday. He got emotional aswell because like me he felt it was everything and more that we wanted to help our daughter, also I was worried about my dd doing full days as she's only used to 3 mornings a week at normal nursary but at the specialist part of the school they do part days and gradually build them up to full time and I can pick her up early so she doesn't panic coming out sametime as the the whole of the school. This has definitely swung it for us and are 100% going for the specialist. We had a tac meeting after where all my daughters health care professionals got together and everything went good. If she gets funding but has to go on a waiting list we will send her to reception class in her normal school as I spoke to a mum who has an Autistic son in there and apparently it's really really good so we'd send her there abd hope a place becomes available at specialist school. If she doesn't have a place by Sept next year we'll home school until one becomes available. Such a relief to finally have a plan.
Oh dear, it was a relief to have made a decision but not now, we went and viewed the reception class my dd would go to if we couldn't get funding or placement at special school, all I can say is there is no way on earth my dd will be going there, it's horrible!. There are so many things I absolutely hate about the place, in fact I can honestly say there wasn't one thing I liked about the place. I was getting more and more upset and depressed the more I went round. And I couldn't believe the class would consist of over 40 children!!!!!!. I can't send my dd there now, she's going to have to be home schooled
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