Friday, March 12, 2010

The school situation

We have recently found out that Aidan will be in a self contained classroom for preschool this upcoming school year(Fall 2010). I have my concerns-mainly being that he will be in a class with only nonverbal/speech delayed children, whether it be children with autism, down syndrome, or a severe speech delay(like Aidan). I know the teachers at this school are wonderful as my oldest goes to the same school but is in the 4 yr old preschool program and in a regular class. But since he will only be with other children classified as special needs, I'm worried that he will not have any children to be a peer model for him, with regards to language. I know he would learn from teh teachers, but kids learn so much from other children and he may not have that. Of course, this concern is not fully validated b/c I do not know what kind of children will be in there next year. There very well could be children that will provide a good learning environment for him. I teeter back and forth on whether he should even be in a class with cognitively delayed children. Not that that is a big deal, but he is severely speech delayed, my goal is to have him hopefully caught up by kindergarten, and I really need to focus on him being around good language models, as well as behavior models. Aidan imitates behavior very easily-whether good or bad, so I also do not want him acting out even more as he already has a tendency to be a "bully" b/c of the lack of language.

We are having our transition meeting on the 15th and we will meet a few people and they will get to meet Aidan. After that I am going to ask if we can observe the classroom so we can actually see what goes on in the class and if this will be where we want him. I am also going to ask(or beg!) them to let us bring Aidan in to see how well he interacts with the other children. I can watch the other children alone and form and opinion, but I think seeing him in that environment will really help us decide on this. If it seems like it will work out, that's awesome! And it will truly lift a weight off my shoulders.
But if it doesn't, I really do not know what we will do. There is the possibility, albeit a slim one, that we may be able to get the school system to pay for him to attend another local preschool--montessori program or the church preschool, that would be with neurotypical children instead of a specialized "special needs class." That is a very slim chance of that happening though. I'd like to be able to get him into the Montesssori program or even the local university's learning center but there is no way we can swing the tuition. I know one of the church preschools is aorund 350$, not sure about montessori, but there is no way. We do not have any disposable income right now and won't until our bills are paid off---we can't add several thousand more dollars of debt, not possible. So, fingers are crossed that maybe the school will pay for this(if needed of course!) or maybe there is a grant out there that could help cover it. We will hopefully find out more in a few more months.

Oh and one other thing--Aidan had his eyes check--and he is farsighted, he will more than likely have glasses by the end of the summer. Also, when I took Alex and Andrew for their eye checkups a few days ago, I was told they were also farsighted but had perfect 20/20 vision. But she told me that Aidan was farsighted and did NOT have perfect 20/20 vision. Now, I'm not 100% sure what this means, but I know it means he will need glasses for the farsightedness, but also probably will need them as well for the non perfect vision, so maybe he will end up being nearsighted? I'll find out in 4 mths when we go for his next checkup.


tammy said...

Hi, I too have an Aiden with bilateral cochlear implants! As I was looking through your blog, I found it funny too how our boys resemble each other a tad bit! : )

We still have a good year before we start the whole preschool thing, but I do know that having language models is EXTREMELY important for our kiddos. I have seen school districts that have one "special needs" classroom and IMO, this is NOT where our children belong, unless they have other delays besides their language and this is the best fit for them. The schools would not put a typical hearing child with language delays in this environment, so why would they a child with CIs? I think it's great you are visiting each one as well as looking into other options in your community. If you believe that a different program would be more beneficial for Aidan, then fight, fight, fight for it! A good resource to help you prepare for your meetings is Drew's blog, Turn on My Ears ... there's a link to it on my blog. His parents had a huge fight for the district to pay for the appropriate school for Drew and they won.

Best of luck to you and Aidan and I hope that you find the program that is right for him.

Cassie said...

Thank you! I will check out the blog suggestion in the morning! We are definitely finding out all of our options. No settling for us!

Mary Shaddox said...

Hello! My son is almost 10 and has AN and bilateral implants.
I was wondering, is there any way Aidan could get some services in the self contained classroom and then some time also with typical peers in a preschool classroom.

Also, are there any deaf ed. programs in your area. I am a deaf ed. teacher and we bus kids in from other areas and they are in self contained deaf ed. and have some time in the preschool classrooms also. Each child is evaluated to see what is best for him or her.

Also a an AI(deaf ed) teacher HAS to be at any IEP meetings you have.