So far we have visited two classrooms. AutismMommyTherapist was right, I’m starting to get a better idea about what I’m looking for and also what it is I am seeing.
It is like there is one voice in my head telling me that I need to keep things as similar as possible to what she is doing now and there is this other voice telling me that this is kindergarten and it should be different.
In the chapter What Can We Expect? From the book The Child with Special Needs by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder, they write:
The best indicator of your child’s potential is the shape of his learning curve once he is in an optimal therapy program. …. as long as that learning curve is going up your child will continue to grow…
If you think of your child’s learning as the building of a skyscraper, you can picture the emotional milestones as the building’s foundation. They must support 80 stories – 80 years of living in the world. They must be very strong, for if those basic skills are shaky, the entire building will be at risk. It is far better to have a solid foundation developed late, than a shaky foundation built on schedule.
Quality of learning should never be sacrificed to the desire to move ahead. If building a solid foundation and strengthening the milestones means temporarily taking more time, we encourage that, because without that foundation your child will never be able competently to move on to more complex areas.
Both of the voices in my head have a point. We do need to find a class that will provide a similar environment to what she is used to, but at the same time offering new opportunities for learning and experiences.
By the end of the month we will have visited 3 SI (Severely Impaired) and 3 MM (Mild Moderate) special day classrooms. Between the two categories there are more than twenty schools in the city. There just is not enough time before our placement IEP to see all of them. I think that we will have enough information to make a decision on service type.
In speaking to the teachers it seems that each one has an idea of what type of student belongs in their class. It would be nice if they printed a directory of that information, but technically I believe that is against the law. Special education is a service, not a place.
The teacher of the MM class we saw told us that she felt a couple of her students were misplaced in her classroom. I feel badly for those children and their parents.
I’m not going to be able to change that before R. gets to kindergarten so I will try to use it to my advantage. The teachers seem willing to speak to R.’s teacher and one offered to have R. come and sit in on a class. I don’t know how that would work out considering it is a different school, but it is something to think about.
Reference: The Child with Special Needs by Stanley Greenspan, MD and Serena Wieder, Phd (Perseus Publishing, 1998) Pgs. 433, 436,