Monday, August 2, 2010

Land of the Lost

It is not just the words of concern, or the expressions of confusion and anxiety. It is also the body language. Shifting back in forth, listlessly meandering around the hallway, not knowing what exactly to do or to say. Parental Zombies.

The latest refugees from the PPS Cost-cutting Pograms.

For some it just SUCKS in a big way, as they scramble to find another preschool for the fall term, mere weeks away. And for those who know, most decent schools have been full since sometime in Feb/Mar. And then there are those of us (and I do mean "us") who are trying to avert an all out crisis. Sticking our little ones in an overcrowded EI class somewhere else just really isn't much of an option.

But I have complained about that enough already here.

Need to get practical. Where to send little Miss O.

One option under serious consideration is a private preschool, with supplemental visits by a "community-based" educator, a specialist who comes in and provides speech and OT, a few hours a week. There is, of course, EI at another school, but I have already gone over why that isn't going to happen (I know, famous last words). And then there is Home School, with the same community based educator as the private option. Not so great of an option when one of our focuses is socialization.

So, breaking it down. My short term goal for Little Miss O (LMO) is to increase her socialization with her peers, as well as adapt her independent ways to fit the structure of the classroom. Academics are in there too, but I can work on that from home. I can't provide the other goals for her by home schooling.

So, home school off the table. Now the other two.

EI in a public school would help her with the structure piece, but due to size, over-crowding, and an MESD system in flux as they attempt to implement the Inclusion Model, it may be so over-whelming as to shut LMO down socially (this has happened before, so this is more than speculation). But, on the other side of the coin, maybe I am underselling her, maybe she just needs a little push to break through that boundary and succeed. Am I being over-protective? Helicoptering in a little too close? Isn't my long term goal to move her towards a typical school experience?

Hmmm. Private Preschool it is, if I can get her into one. Or, maybe...

Many of her classmates are attending both. A few days here, a few days there. Is that too much transition (she seems ok with shifting gears most of the time)? Test both models, see which one she flourishes in.

All parents are afflicted with the same thing - Parental Guilt (goes along with being a Parental Zombie sometimes). Oh, the guilt. My daughter is in the living room now watching Wow Wow Wubbzy, I am probably killing off her brain cells at this very moment (and she is eating chips - hey, they ARE organic). I am sure there is a circle of hell set aside for parents like me. I am second guessing every move I make, hoping to God she doesn't end up on Oprah talking about how I ruined her by putting her in the wrong academic program (wait, Oprah is retiring, right?). How if I had just put her into THIS school, or got her a few more hours of THIS therapy, she would not be a drug-snorting former boy-band groupie with a serious stimming habit.


So, if you have seen any of my other posts, you might now Isaac academic history has him labeled in our home "Hurricane Isaac". That soon-to-be second grader is packing some serious baggage. Dude has a PPS rap sheet! I have asked him what he remembers from Sabin, from Roseway Heights (he doesn't recall Jason Lee Elementary at all). He remembers his friends from Sabin, especially Jackie. At Roseway, he wondered why he couldn't go back, that he didn't really like Chase and Kevin, but otherwise, he doesn't recall any of that unpleasantness.

If you ask Isaac about school, what kind of student he is, none of that matters. My little Buddhist is living in the here and now. He knows he likes school, has friends there, likes his teachers, has fun with his social skills aide, is really good at math, and always gets 100% on his behavior/IEP goals sheet. He is confident about Second Grade, and is excited about going to a new school in the fall (but more excited about having August off).

Basically, he has moved on. And if EI (dear god, NOT at Roseway), even part time, does not work with LMO, then we will cut our losses and move on. Because, at this age, my kids do move on, and maybe testing those waters just a bit at this age isn't a completely bad idea.

Yeah. I know. More Famous Last Words. I am full of them of this week.


  1. Dude, I am so with you. Ru goes to a private preschool because I need to work, AND we have a nanny/aide one day a week so I can work. going to EI school would be for the structure/socialization, prep for kindy. Wah!!! can't we just take Holly and Brian and Amanda and have them do their own thing? Bleh, I need wine.
    FTR, we are considering our EI option, even tho a few days ago I said I wouldn't. it's at Lewis elementary and I am hoping ot see it this week. ugh. pass the xanax and pinot.

  2. Hi there - our Dash goes to EI with your Little Miss O, and loves Holly and Brian and everything, and we're devastated that Edwards is closing. Looked at Childswork today - had some frank conversations about PDD and sensory integration stuff, and walked away feeling like it was all wrong wrong wrong. Holly gave me your card and I have a feeling I'll be following your blog. We're in the same spot. Checking out Grout tomorrow...

  3. Dashel is a sweetie. I hope you find a good program for him. I would love to find out what you think of Grout, and even what didn't work for you at Childswork. Posting impressions of programs could help me and others focus our search. Thank you Susie!

    Korin, drinking Pinot and eating a frosted cookie...thinking of you at the moment!

  4. Went to Grout EI today - and we will probably put D there for the fall, possibly while we research other options. The teacher is more structured even than Nicole was (his previous teacher at Grout), with lots of rules (no loud talking in circle time was one) and very task focused. I think D will do well with the visual schedule/structure, but am concerned he will "get in trouble" for not understanding or following all the rules.

    At Childswork, the teachers/program director were willing to work with us and learn the approaches we use with D, and were frank about cases where it would not work for them - if D's need for one on one attention were too demanding, if he had aggressive behavior that harmed other kids, etc. It all sounded like it could work just fine. But underneath it all was the sense that he would be the exception, out of place, special effort required, and would ultimately be up to the teachers how much he would just get lost in his own world vs being pulled in to the mix. With 16-18 kids and 2 teachers, it just felt wrong to take this chance. My sense with Childswork is that it could be a good fit for other kids leaving EI, depending on the teachers (including the teachers we talked with) and the particular kid.

    What we want for D in preschool is to continue his social development with the supports he may need to keep making the progress he's been making in the EI setting. I want a teacher who is committed to making that happen for him, not someone who is willing to make a few adjustments to see if he will fit in their class.

  5. Hi Susie, ruby was in class this summer with O and Dash, but we had tried Grout previously, and the teachers rigidness would NOT work for us. I hope it's a good fit for Dash!

  6. Isaac loved the structure, so putting him in a traditional EI class worked so well. I don't think O will do as well.

    When Isaac left EI to go into a typical Kindergarten, it was very much like that, Susie. A teacher who was (not always so) willing to make adjustments. Our experience (and so much depends on the teacher and the child) was that it didn't work for us. He had a crisis and they had to bring in so many resources it is insane to think about the staffing needed to calm down one little 5 year old. One teacher. A full time aide. Two behavior specialists. An Autism Specialist.

    What we have decided to do, even though both my kids are different, is to do with Olivia what we WOULD have done with Isaac if we had only known. Baby steps.

    In MESD-speak, we are starting Olivia in a more restrictive environment (and EI class), and will slowly move her into a more typical class, with help. MESD and PPS will fight us on this, but we will fight back. We KNOW now what happens when they take the triage-way (throwing them in and seeing how they do first, deal with the damage later if it happens). And that is not happening this time. Rant rant rant, sorry.