Nervous about upcoming placement meeting — The Bump
Special Needs

Nervous about upcoming placement meeting

My 5 yo has been in a language based pre-k program since he turned 3. When he entered the program he had a dx of severe Apraxia of Speech. Non-verbal at 3 with some fine motor and sensory issues. He has made huge gains - speaks in sentences, huge vocabulary, better focus. He's had several evaluations over the past few weeks to collect data for our transition meeting next week. One of the reccomended placements is a non-inclusion classroom for children with this dx. The dx is in question now because Trev's progress is not typical of children with this disorder, but the school specialists are still reccomending this program. I do not want him to attend. The school  is a thirty minute bus ride from our home each way, it is in a very bad section of the city, is the lowest performing school in our district, and has no play space. It is also a "pod" school and is entirely concrete. I want him to attend the highly rated school right up the street from our home with support. The other issue is that he would be facing another transition to our neighborhood school in 2 years because the program only goes up to first grade. he has already transitioned once.

So, what would you do? Place him in the program?

Anyone know how speech delays effect a child's ability to read?

Am I off base for my reasons against placement in this program?

Re: Nervous about upcoming placement meeting

  • The dx is in question now because Trev's progress is not typical of children with this disorder, but the school specialists are still reccomending this program

    Who is questioning the dx? The school system, Private evals, you?

    He should be placed based on what his NEEDS are and I've only been to one IEP meeting, and it was for preschool, so I feel very insufficient in answering your question in detail surrounding goals.

    However, looking at your secondary reasons, I think they are really good mom type reasons why you want him at a different school. But, i don't think those are educational reasons that they will listen to.

    I would push for the inclusion, if that's what you think he will do best with. His Dx doesn't matter nearly as much as getting his needs met. Not knowing what the other program offers, I can't say what fits best myself. His IEP should have goals for his individual needs and when you as a TEAM look at those needs, they should make the placement. 

    Example: My son is diagnosed with Autism. We have AU (autism-specific classes) and DD (developmental delay - less impacted students, various delays) programs for Preschool, and Itinerant services. In K+ grades, there are more levels, including inclusion. My son doesn't fit where his diagnosis is best because they use a very structured learning program similar to TEACCH and he doesn't need that level of support. It would make no sense to have him in there because he needs to be with a crowd that is going to be challenging to him, not just diagnosed the same. His goals are best met in the DD classroom at this time.

  • The school professionals are questiong the dx. Apraxia is very difficult to dx at the age in at which Trev was dx - 2.9. You are right thatmy negative feelings toward the school and program are mom reasons. I have an appointment to observe the Apraxia program next week also.

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  • image-auntie-:

    It's a tough call.

    FWIW, I know kids with apraxia who are grown up and doing swimmingly except for some subtle neurological differences. Both still have low tone and both have sounds they can't quite produce. One spent kindie and first in a special day class, the other has always been mainstreamed in an inclusion class at his mother's request. Boys are same age, same district, different families. The SDC kid is at MIT and has less articulation issues; the other is at RPI. Good outcomes however you look at it.

    It's a hard call. Like any educational setting, there will be benefits to each program. Neither one is likely to be perfect, observing both placements and being honest about where your son will fit best is critical.

    I'm a huge fan of neighborhood schools for well developing kids, but I am also a fan of specialized instruction early on to get help when it has the biggest bang for the buck. I was willing to subject my son to travel to get him the best reading program available; 30 minutes of a bus doesn't phase me; it's an investment in the best outcome.

    I don't get too excited about transitions. Most kids with "issues" would do well to learn to finesse these better. I sent my DS to a private K-8th school in hopes of not having to move him because he didn't transition well; we didn't have a dx at the time. He ended up attending 4 different schools in that time. But each one was as close to exactly what he needed at the time and fit him better than where he was coming from so things went seamlessly.

    I don't get too excited about physical plant of a building. DS attended a reading lab school for almost 3 years that was housed in an old town lot mansion. His 2nd grade classroom was the old nursery, tiny and stripped down to be less distracting. It depressed me compared to the lively decorated rooms he'd come from. But he learned well and was blissfully happy there.

    I don't get my panties bunched up over a school's performance, only my son's. NCLB madates allow only a tiny fraction of kids with profound impairments be excused from testing. In our district this means some of the really inclusive schools that host the county's special day classes have scores that reflect the diverse intellectual range of the students they serve. I often counsel parents in my district around IEP/Sped issues. The school my son attended was all ADA compatible and was home to more than their share of disabled kids of all kinds. The next closest school was not. They have impressive test scores, to be sure. They typically have no one test lower than proficient in their NCLB testing, but they don't make their SN kids welcome. This school has the unhappiest IEP parents.

    Reading may or may not be an issue for your child. It can be hard to predict. Many kids his age who have been in a language based setting for a year or more would have started to read by this point. If your son's receptive language includes a glitch in phonemic discrimination and awareness you probably have dyslexia in your future. He's at a greater risk, but it's not absolute. FWIW, DS was speaking in sentenses with perfect articulation and still has developmental dyslexia. He's repaired, but it took major effort and lots of money.

    Some things to consider, a special program is going to have a better teacher:student ratio than a mainstream classroom. The instructors will be more highly qualified. There will be fewer students. Chances are itinerant support will be more available. Our SLPs travel between schools. Ours was in the elementary school 4 days a week, and only a half day at the "high acheiving" elementary. Not exactly conducive to a teacher touch base with a concern.

    A smaller program may give him the chance to be a leader in the classroom rather than always playing catch up. Of the two boys I mentioned earlier, the one who mom chose mainstream did so because he did so well socially. He was practically non-verbal despite therapy but had friends headed off to kindie in the neighborhood. He struggled socially even with friends.

    The regular classroom will give him typical peer models which is great if he can learn from them, not all kids can. I would be very cautious about dismissing the recommendations of well trained professionals who know your son from his educational setting.

    My thoughts would be to trial the special class and bridge him to mainstream as soon as he's ready. Mid-year if needed. If you pass on it now, you may not be able to get into it later if it becomes apparent it's the better choice.

    I have never heard of a parent regretting extra help early on.

    Wow Auntie, thanks for such a wonderful response. You've certainly given me a lot to consider. I'm going to try and put my emotions aside and make the best decesion for Trev. I especially like what you mentioned about transitioning him as soon as possible even if that meant in the middle of the school year.

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