Thursday, May 3, 2012

Running Through My Mind

Want to know why I can't sit still long enough to put a post together?  Here's just a few of the thoughts rattling around in my brain, on top of the normal, everyday stuff:
  • Is public school the best option for Lily?
  • Our home public school is huge! Can I even picture Lily in that environment?
  • I'm scared.
  • I taught kindergarten so I know what's expected by the end of the year.  Is Lily really capable of accomplishing those skills this coming year in order to participate as a kinder student?
  • We seem to have so much still to learn before we even attempt kindergarten academics - standing in a line, sitting at a desk, eating lunch, putting away a backpack....
  • Lily will definitely need a full-time 1:1 aide, not just for integration but for safety of herself and classroom equipment.  Will the school go along with this?
  • I know that public school will require a huge investment of my time, energy, and effort to ensure that Lily gets all she needs to be successful.  Are ARDs and IEPs and all that comes with those things really the most effective use of my time, energy, and effort in helping the Bird?
  • I'm scared.
  • How will the kids react to Lily?
  • If we spend this entire year learning how to go to school, will Lily have to repeat kindergarten to gain academic skills she may miss?
  • The classroom will not be "Lily-proofed".
  • Will her teachers love her despite the fact that she can try the patience of a saint?
  • I would love to choose a school and be done with the decision.  But what if we make the decision to place her in public school and it doesn't work out?  What then?
  • I'm scared.
  • What are all my options for Lily, if we don't choose public school?
  • Will Lily go to kindergarten with sippie cups and Pull-ups?
  • How will the teacher get her to learn if she can't get her to sit still?
  • I'm scared.
  • How will Lily communicate with her teachers?  Her peers?  Will they learn what her unique gestures mean?
  • Will the school provide enough speech and occupational therapy?
  • I'll still want Lily to go to private speech.  When will she do this?  Before school?  After school?  Will she be exhausted?  Worn out?  Miserable?
  • What about all the stuff she doesn't know how to do that the other kids do know?
  • How will Lily show her teachers what she does know?  What she's learned?  What she needs more help with?
  • Will they take her to the bathroom regularly?
  • Will they start teaching at the stage where Lily is developmentally or will they just start the year with typical kinder lesson plans?
  • How long can we keep our heads above water financially before we have no other options besides public school?
  • I'm scared.
  • Will she be able to....
  • How can she...
  • What if...
  • What...
  • If...
  • I'm scared....
  • .....


  1. Just as an option, we use a program from K12 for homeschool. There's a teacher so you're the learning coach, but it helps to have someone above you to help! Curriculum & computer provided; our school pays for all the therapies our guy needs & the IEP process is much easier than thru a brick & mortar school. if you're interested, & choose your state. Praying for the decision for you - my guy can't be in a classroom yet. It's too much. He's almost 8. I hear you!

    1. ooh...I hope this didn't sound like I think I have the answer. I don't, just another in a long line of possibilities! :) I have love & prayers - those I do have! :)

  2. Breath mama and just let me hug on your for a second.


    Ok. Now stop worrying about what skills or lack of that she is entering into kindergarten with. Those things will come eventually on Miss Lily's time.

    What does your gut tell you about all of this? Do you, in your heart, want her to go to public school?

    I think I'm just going to have to have a little prayer session for you this afternoon. Praying for peace and guidance.

    Love ya.

  3. Hugs and tears for you. My mama heart can understand those thoughts, one after another, rapid-fire succession, and the "I'm scared". Praying for comfort and peace right now, knowing that our El Shaddai, our All-Sufficient One, IS everything and anything we will ever need. He knows the plans He has for you, Ryan and sweet Lily...and I am praying that He will give you clarity and peace. Much love to you all.

  4. It is never easy making decisions for a child and often what we fear is the worst possible case but in reality it may end up being a good thing although not necessarily easy. Paying for therapy and for special intervention camp like we are doing with our little one this summer can get expensive but at what point does a child have enough tools to learn how to cope in the "regular/real" world? It is a question that is not easy to answer. At some point one does have to consider the financial aspects like you are doing. Based on what I have read in your blog, it seems like there are times The Bird is capable of a lot more than she does for you all - things she does for others like putting things in the trash etc. My little guy has been the same way...was running at daycare but not walking for us at home... So, who knows, The Bird may actually do better than you think but I do not think it will be easy - the schools have started to limit programs etc. (at least here - it's all about limited funds) so they are into cutting corners anyway possible even if it is not in the best interest of the child (ie more like a 2 kids to 1 aid with an aid is what they may try to do or very limited OT/Speech so continuing with a private one would be great if you can do it) of luck to you whatever you decide and I will keep you all in my prayers that God gives you wisdom to make the best choice for her...Oh and on the really does no good...I understand the worry and the fears and can relate - it is not easy to not worry (believe me I am not really thrilled about a special intensive camp for our guy this summer to learn proper social interactions (academically he is ahead of the curve and can even read) - he is one of the youngest, he is an Aspie and there are kids with really severe behaviors so will he pick up bad behaviors, will ABA help, will he be frustrated or get bored, is this the best thing for him etc )but sometimes all the worry/fear does is hold one back, stress one out and drains energy. So, try to not worry and hard as it may be and leave things in God's hands after you have prayerfully made a decision. Hang in there!

  5. You are right to have these fears and concerns about government school placement. We chose to keep our children out of the government school system, due to a large variety of reasons. You can do this. They will tell you that you can't, and if you try it and you want to back out later, they can make it very hard on you. What nobody talks about is the fact that the individual schools get a lot of federal money for each special needs child that they have. So they work hard to keep them there. I don't know what state you live in, so I can't tell you anything about laws in your area. But try and look into homeschooling before you make up your mind. You do not have to go the expensive private school route. We homeschool. We maintain private speech therapy, etc. And we are in charge. No IEP nightmares. No government making the decisions on what is best for our children. And it is *not* expensive. I *just* purchased a complete top notch curriculum (the very same curriculum used in many private schools) for two of my older children, for $431. That is a complete year for two children. The public school asks for more than that each year in handouts, additional fees, etc. I know from when my step-daughter was in public school. And you can do it for less than that, if you purchased used books instead of new. I'm not trying to tell you what to do. Not at all. But I think it is wonderful that you are considering your options. And there are some really great resources out there for educating kids with special needs. The HSLDA is wonderful. And I'm sure the area where you live has groups. Our local homeschooling group has all sorts of activities. And you can participate in as much or as little as you like. Just know that it's not hard, and it's not expensive. And you know what is best for your child better than anyone else. And you will always have *her* best interests at heart. While there are *some* very good-hearted and dedicated individuals in the public system, the system as a whole is a mess. A mess that makes it very hard for even the best teachers to function well. I have a very large number of friends who are public school teachers, only one was ever nasty to me about my decision to homeschool. *All* the rest were extraordinarily supportive. Some even coming right out and saying to me, "You are doing the right thing. You do not want your children in the system. Not if you can do something better." I've actually been surprised at just how supportive all of my former teachers, and my friends (my age) who are teachers, have been. Except for one grumpy one, who thinks there should be no private or homeschool options for anyone, all of them have been extremely supportive.

    Sorry to ramble, if you need anything at all. Or if there are any questions I could help you with or point you in a direction for more information that might help you make informed decisions - just let me know. I think your mind is on the right path, and you should trust your gut. Your concerns are valid.

  6. Sorry you're having such a hard time. There's no easy answer. There are so many things to consider. Some kids blossom in a regular school setting, some have a hard time. You know your darling best. I know you will find the right choice for your family. Prayers for all of you!

  7. I don't envy you in this decision. It was one of the hardest ones I ever had to make with the Toodle Bug and there are still days that I question if it is for the best and she is now (technically) in the 3rd grade. She needs a 1:1 aid as well as a 1:1 nurse to be able to attend. I have no great words of wisdom for you except to tell you to TRY (it is so, so hard) to look past your fears and then decide. I am a firm believer in trying things for Tess at least once because she deserves it but all the while knowing I can change things for her if need be. Good luck! Sending prayers for courage for you! (I know sometimes that is what I have needed more than anything else...courage to face the unknown) :)

  8. Hang in there, kitty. It is indeed scary stuff. Take a deep breath and relax as best you can. You don't have to make the decisions alone.

    - maybe you could go and watch a class with a kid like Lily.
    - write things down and do pro/con lists. if i don't do this, i wind up going over things again and again
    - look at charter schools. here at least there's one that specializes in ASD kids.
    - homeschool if you want to, but realize that you deserve a break. maybe look for a part-time nanny or something.

  9. Oh Lana, you've brought back a flood of memories. At least you are asking all the right questions. Has Lily done any special needs preschool? It was nice that the IEP process started then for us so we were a little prepared. I was determined to do a charter school but Sadie was to young for there kindergarten cut off and we have had such a great experience with our public school and services that I think I will stay put. I'm sure you have heard that 1:1 aides are the golden goose and schools are reluctant to give them. "SAFTEY" is the key word use! Are you going to try mainstream or SD class? We used an advocate (a lawyer was way to pricey). But she really helped me understand special ed law. Go see your options in person. I had to write the district for permision to see the classes, hopefully your district is easier to work with. Just take a deep breath and charge in.

  10. Oh, Lana... I know exactly how you are feeling right now. We've been there.. *are* there with Little Miss.

    Know this -- the school is *required* to teach Lily AT HER LEVEL. That is the point of the IEP. It is a contract with the school to make appropriate learning goals for Lily and make the adaptations she needs to succeed. The school is legally bound to follow that contract -- and if they don't, you have the power to come down on them. HARD.

    And any teacher is going to have to come up to speed with Lily -- who she is, how she works, what she knows and does not know. The best thing you can do to help this process is to provide as much information as possible. I even made up an introduction worksheet for Little Miss -->

    Public school CAN work, but it's going to take a lot of work on your part -- and a lot of communication on theirs. Let me know if you want to talk, ok? I'm totally here for you!

  11. One other thing that I highly recommend. Take a Special Education Law course. I took an online one, and even though it was pricey and semi-time consuming (I do love to get a good grade even now), it has been one of the best investments I have ever made!

  12. Have you met the autism teacher at the public school she would attend? I met the one that works at my son's middle school. Super nice guy. He directs traffic every morning, then when the bell rings and all the other kids are in class, he sits on the bench and waits for his autism kids to show up. That's where I met him. I sat and chatted with him one morning. Sounded like he's been working with autism kids awhile. He has a gentle spirit and a nice smile to welcome his kids. A mom drove up and he got up from the bench to meet his student at the car door. We had just a few minutes to chat but I got a good feeling about him. Perhaps you should meet (if you haven't already) the autism teachers at the public school. That might help your decision.

  13. I'll be praying for you and Ryan as you work through this decision. I don't have any insight to offer but I do know the school and can answer any general questions you have, if you need me to. I know you all will make the best decision for Lily because you're relying on God to lead and direct you. It's all you can do.

  14. I think I was lucky with Luke (now 9) -- there was no choice, to continue to receive services through the school district he had to go to kindergarten. As a single mom I'm not able to consider homeschooling. Even though we know he is smart, in 3rd grade he still is lacking many of the skills you would learn in kindergarten. Right now the main goal of his gen-ed class is socialization. All of his academics are one-on-one and with a very small (6) sped group. Except for therapy and small group, he has a 1-on-1 para.

  15. Thanks to each and every one of you for your sweet words of encouragement and advice. I so appreciate it! This is just one of the many reasons I love the special needs community, and my lovely followers. There are so many wise, helpful, and flat out sweet people out there.

    We are visiting a couple of schools this week and another one next week. I'll keep you posted on our progress and decision making.

  16. Would they mainstream her right away, or do they have an Autism classroom? When would you have a transition meeting? I would see what the school has to offer...then go from there. Try not to worry too me, there's enough of that once everything starts ;)


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