Wednesday, October 27, 2010

He's gonna be just fine... Looking at preschools...

 John Michael will be 3 in a few weeks.  We've been checking out a couple different preschool options in our school district last week and this week.  It's been very helpful for me to picture him in a full inclusion classroom with 15 typically developing kids and 5 kids with special needs.  Both classes I've seen each have a little girl with Down syndrome and some other kids with special needs. 

On one playground, there were many trikes like the one above.  John Michael can't yet pedal, but he's trying.  But the coolest thing was that a few trikes had an extra seat on the back, like a fixed trailer, and one little boy gave John Michael a ride all around the playground.  It made me so happy to see the kids fully included and accepted.  A win-win for both sides.

The second school I visited had a really neat, small playground.  John Michael really blossomed yesterday.  When the teacher turned on the slippery fish song, he tried to keep up.  It went too fast, but he did his best.  He also liked sitting next to the kids and interacting with them.

I had a chance to talk with both teachers while the kids were on the playground.  Both have backgrounds in special ed, both thought he was really cute and were very encouraging. 

John Michael's IEP meeting is in 2 weeks.  We visit one more school tomorrow.  Unfortunately, all the school options are a good 20 minutes away.  While I'd envisioned a private preschool setting for John Michael where his 3 older sibs went, I think this is a great start for him since he will need extra help at first.  He will also have speech and adaptive PE onsight.  Adaptive PE will help with stair climbing and building strength for trike riding, but doesn't take away from playing with the other kids on the playground.  I'm starting to feel a bit more at ease with the whole school thing. 

I'd love to hear other peoples' experiences with starting preschool for their child with Ds.


  1. It's probably good for JM to go to a school where his siblings didn't go because his teachers will be focused on him and his achievements.

  2. Both places sound great!I'm interested to see how JM does.

  3. It's sounding good Monica! We hope to follow in the same footsteps!

  4. Sigh...this will be us in a very short while. I'm soooooo not ready for this.

  5. It looks like he had fun checking out the new playgrounds and all of the fun things they have for him to play with! I'm sure he'll do great and I can't wait to hear all about his first day!!!

  6. I have no experience to you know we are not there yet. I too envisioned my 4th child attending the same pre-school as her sisters. Now, I will explore the options and decide what is best for her. Good luck w/your decision. Keep us posted! :)xoxo Andrea

  7. Sounds like he is doing great. I'm glad you are going for full inclusion. The challenge of keeping up with his peers will push him to advance both physically and in the classroom.

    I know some people who have gone into their IDP's in combat mode: "I have to fight for my child!" Our experience has been that the professionals tasked with helping Jonathan are very loving and highly trained people who have chosen these field because the WANT to help people like Jonathan. Being pleasant and working toward a strong relationship centered on J has served to build a team of advocates and we have gained life long friends. Remember, you can call for a new IDP anytime.

    Its a scary time, but also a wonderful time. JM will continue to amaze you.

    Have fun,

  8. jm is going to do amazing at school. i was so nervous starting henry in a school program, especially since it was not through the school district and didn't have a special ed program. it's just a regular 'ol school through church and it has been amazing for him. he's done so well after a period of adjusting!

  9. They sound like great options! Abby is 20 mos and has gone to the same daycare/preschool as our 4 year old since she was 8 weeks old. I'm more than a bit nervous about next year when the public school system will start to get involved with us. I initially started worrying about her having to go be segregated in an adjoining town b/c the elementary school here doesn't have a public preschool option in our county. I was really upset about the mere idea of it. But then this last month Abby transitioned into the toddler classroom where they start a very base level preschool curriculum that they build on in each classroom after that. her sister was in it and loved it and now is in a classroom where they both get to see each other on the playground. I was so nervous b/c Abby isn't walking and the others all do, or maybe trample is a better word. But so far so great. Abby is still a long way off from walking but the teachers work with her on it and she knows and loves these kids. She's always soooo excited on Monday to get back to school. She loves music and storytime, she does well with their playcenters and has started standing herself up at lunchtime at the table. The only hard thing so far is recess b/c the playground is all sand and they share it with bigger kids. So it's been hard to find a middle ground- letting her go out, keeping her from eating sand and getting trampled when both groups of kids are out. They've set up some toys in a little plastic pool and if she crawls out that's fine but usually when I pick her up in the afternoon she's in it with a pile of other toddlers playing. They all think its one more piece of playground equipment. I was so scared but it's really been so wonderful so far. I'm guessing you'll be thrilled for JM and hearing about all his tales. I've started blogging about it on thursdays so I can keep a little journal of what all she's been up to.