Friday, July 30, 2010

Finding Miss O a New School

Because our EI options through MESD are crap.

I know there is no way to save the EI program at Edwards, but will continue to send out bitchy emails to anyone I an think of. So now the practical move towards finding Princess Pea a new "home".

My options break down to this:
Find a copy of the Edwards program so we can slowly draw her out.
Throw her into a more structured program that mimics kindergarten.

Isaac did well in the latter. His EI experience at Jason Lee (and if you don't know where that is, neither did I before we attended there), was very good. He liked the structure, started to speak much more clearly and more often, and made friends with a lot of the typical kids there as peers. One of them ended up being in his K class at Sabin, and it was her move to NY half way through their kindergarten year that triggered Isaac's anxiety attack.

So I am trying to be clear on what I have for goals for Olivia, and which program will be best to reach those goals.

The greatest heart ache of Autism, for the parents, is that for the most part we all have the same little goal, and yet that little goal seems so unattainable.

We want our kids to be happy. To make friends. To get as much out of the world around them as typical kids do. We don't worry about getting into the TAG program, or our kid making the baseball team. We just want them to be, well, kids. With all of the good and bad that comes with growing up.

Instead of being locked up in their own heads, restricted by their own bodies that sometimes just won't do what they want them to do.

Isaac is already so close. He makes friends, does well in school, likes to play sports, plans his future (he wants to work at McDonalds, but I tell him he has to go to college first), and tries very hard to control his anxiety. It is hard work, but he is on his way.

Now, little Miss O, what about you?


  1. KristinB, thanks for your AWSEOME blog! I was googling sensory preschools in portland and you came up in the search! We are going in next Monday to hear what the early intervention ladies have to say about out little one...they've already told me over the phone they don't agree with the neurologist report, so I'm preparing my self to hear about the labels. Quick question you mentioned making sure schools have a CB program, what is that, and an EI classroom. Thanks for the chuckles, you are a great writer!

  2. Hello, Anon! Thanks for the feedback - I owe any writing skills I possess to Costco and their reasonably priced wine bins!

    You will find that there is often a dichotomy between the diagnosis from MESD and the medical community. I think MESD is easier to hand down a diagnosis because they are the ones who are more likely to have to manage any disability in the future - the team in the trenches, if you will. But labels are just that - tags. Use them or not. Isaac was labled Severely ASD by MESD. He was not and is not severe, and I was upset when MESD tagged him as so. But in the end, it got him more services, so we went with it.

    So, a CB program is a communication and behavior class. It is a seperate special ed class (in some schools, they are referred to as a Resource Room), with no peers. In this class, which is often multiple grades, there is a teacher specifically trained in special ed, as well as a number of aides trained to implement that childs' IEP. Some kids are in this class all day long, others just spend some time in here for specific classes. The resources are there, in one room, and consistent. Some CB classes are "academic" - so the child will receive the same education as their peers, others are modified for children further challanged. If your school has a CB/SLB program, it also means that your school is more adept at handling issues even if your child is in a mainstream class They have resources at their fingertips. This is all in theory, of course. As with all things PPS, things can go haywire.

    EI, or early intervention, is the CB for preschoolers. They are generally located in a typical schools (imagine seeing your little 3yo surrounded by 2nd graders, can be horrifying at first), and often have typical peers from the community. In EI, based on the childs' IEP, they receive OT, Speech, and support to try to catch up with their peers. This means help with academics, learning things from the ABC's to using scissors, and helping to manage any sensory issues they have.

    We have had a good experience with both so far, although we did decide to leave the EI program and enroll in a private sensory preschool for O. She was getting lost in EI, even though there were only 12 kids, one teacher and 3 aides. My son did awesome in EI. And his current CB program has been great.

    Good luck friend! Keep me posted on how things go on Monday!