I dont know what to do

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dara, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Dara

    Dara New Member

    I am at a complete loss for what to do. Sammy is 5 he should be in kindergarten but is far from ready so we are doing pre-k again in the private school that he went to last year. Last year he did really well there. There were some bumps and hiccups and definite signs that this school has no idea how to handle a child like Sammy. However, his teacher loved him and she, for the most part, was able to guide Sammy and give him the basic skills to get through each day. He played with the other children in the class, he was generally happy. This year, nobody will play with him. I spoke to the teacher about it and she said everything was fine and that the other children are "kind enough" I have no idea what that even means. He is getting no guidance in this class. He and his teacher have not clicked at all. He is very unhappy and if we leave it as status quo he will never be ready for kindergarten. He cannot write his name, his fine motor skills are lacking. He cannot sit through circle time without being disruptive. He cannot focus on an activity he just wanders around which he does at home too but we try to get him involved in things. Yesterday my husband picked him up and the children were sitting in rows and Sammy was sitting in a row by himself. How do I help my child? Where do I send him to school? We are broke. We have no more money... What kind of therapy do we do to help him function in a classroom setting? I am really at a loss!
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    good to hear from you again, but sorry you had to come back for a not so positive reason.

    I have a couple suggestions and I'm sure others will be along shortly with some as well.

    Contact the local school district (his home school) and request a full educational evaluation. Even though he attends private school, the law requires that he be allowed testing in his local school district.

    Once you have that in hand, and it will include a variety of psychological, socialogical, and academic testing, you will have a clearer picture of any learning issues Sammy may have. You may find that there are services right there in the local school that can address some of his motor issues as well as the social ones too.

    Naturally I suggest this route because you mention that you guys are financial strapped right now. This will cost you nothing.

    You might want to go over the Special Education board and find out how to word a letter regarding the testing to the school.

    Very often the public school system has more resources to help. The struggle is getting those supports in place. But you are not there yet. What you really need now is to find out, past his multiple diagnosis's, what learning disabilities and social issues he might be struggling with.

    I know this must be very disappointing for you.

    Is there any way you can go to the school and request that Sammy have the same teacher from last year?

    My son is pretty socially distant as well. It is heart breaking to watch sometimes.

  3. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    Hi There,

    I'm just wondering, if you are a stay at home mom, then would homeschooling him be an option for you? If you have some evaluations, and diagnoses in hand, and you're a former pre school teacher, you might be able to manage this. Link in with homeschool families for social activities, and you will probably find others with special needs children. This kind of social setting might just ease your son into where he needs to be.

    You can take this as a short or longterm option. Try it for say, six months and see how it goes.

    Good luck, and God Bless
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Dara,
    I'm so sorry about Sammy. He sounds sweet. And I'm sorry that good teacher is no longer his teacher.
    He sounds like he's got very special needs and should not be mainstreamed at this point. I agree with-Sharon, to get a thorough assessment and go from there. Sounds like he's just being housed and heck, he may as well stay at home and watch cartoons for all that's worth.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sammy made need a special classroom. Before you think, "Oh, how horrible!" it's not. My son had a diagnosis. of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified and BECAUSE of the small classroom he got in school, he was able to learn the ropes that the other kids instinctively know. He had to be taught them though and needed a lot of one-one. I don't believe that any amount of keeping him out of school will change how Sammy behaves in class. He is "differently wired" like my son and needs more attention than other kids. I personally wouldn't worry about "friends" at his age. Kids on the autism spectrum are different and the other kids know, and they benefit greatly from hands on social skills training. My son first started having friends in middle school after years of being in special education for his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). He is doing great now, good grades and ready to get his driver's license. He is still different, but not in a bad way in my opinion. He can focus now. He couldn't when he was younger.
    While some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids can hang in regular classes, usually with aides, the other kids usually don't befriend them. I found that in Special Education my son found acceptance and got a lot of self-esteem. Handwriting is a big problem with many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids. My son never learned how to write, but he has beautiful printing and can keyboard well. Sammy may need Occupational Therapist (OT) to help him learn to write and it may take a long time for him to get it down right.

    If this were my kid, and I had the hindsight that I have now, I'd put him in an Early Education small classroom and a small kindergarten class in a public school. No teacher, no matter how good and caring, can focus on just one or two more difficult children with thirty kids in the class. Special Education teachers and their aides are taught how to teach these kids to make it in school and in life and they've done a GREAT job with my son. I'd be looking more at that than comparing him to "norms" for kindergarten. He obviously walks to the beat of his own drum and is not going to fit into norms and he needs educators who know how to reach him and to get the best out of him that they can. Sadly, not all Special Education teachers are great either. You have to look around. Sometimes we even need to send our kids to other school districts. We got our school district to do it at the expense of our school district, but they didn't have an appropriate class for my son in district. He is picked up and transported there and has been since fourth grade (he is now a sophomore in high school). He loves school and is a very happy and sweet teenager. I never would have dream it of him, but it happened and I hand most of his progress over to wonderful educators and the fact that hub and I insisted that son get into the class WE felt would help him, not what THEY felt would help him. It worked out! :D Don't despair. Get proactive and start looking around at appropriate classes for Sammy for next year.
  6. Dara

    Dara New Member

    We have testing scheduled for october 6th with the school district. So I am looking forward to see what that shoes and what services we qualify for...
    The teacher Sammy had last year is now teaching kindergarten so that is not an option.
    We had him evaluated for special needs schools. The concerns I have for that is 1) The cost. We would have to qualify for a large scholarship to afford it and 2) Sammy connects with other children by mimicking them so all of the people who have evaluated Sammy think that he should be around "normal" children so he is not mimicking unwanted behaviors. We still have fake words and fake voice from the day treatment center he used to go to...
    I am not closing off any doors. I have called many services here but nobody really knows what to do with Sammy. I am going to a meeting tonight for parents of special needs children hoping to find more resources.
    We do struggle with the financial aspect of all of this especially since we dont have health insurance right now. Hopefully with the testing and all of the people I called, we will figure something out..
    The reason I am upset about the friends thing is because Sammy is upset about it. He comes home and says "I dont know why they so no and dont play with me" So he is very disturbed by it...
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Public schools vary from district to district, state to state, in how well they provide services to special needs students, but often they are more equiped than private schools in dealing with special needs simply because thay can't turn anyone away. You may be surprised by the survices your public school is able to offer once they have gotten the chance to evaluate Sammy and if a private school is deemed appropriate at that point, it would fall to the school system to pay for tuition.
  8. Dara

    Dara New Member

    midwest mom, Sammy is lucky because his class has 11 students. Unfortunately, Sammy does not fit into any category. He is uniquely Sammy. That is the struggle we are having with finding the right place for him. We moved over the summer and are in a new school district. Last year in the other school district, Sammy qualified for 1 hour of speech per semester...Yep you heard me right. The problem is he tests very well one on one. it is his performance in the classroom where his true struggles are. At least this time I got advice from someone who has taught special needs in the public schools for years so I am better prepared for this. I am hoping that he can qualify for services in the school district. I am just at this point trying to get as many resources as possible to help Sammy as best as we can
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I am also sorry to see you back under this stress.
    It took us a long time to get help at School. K didn't present "bad" enough for them to actually see how much help she needed and she was able to hold it together for the adults really well.

    I hope the SD can find a fit for him realize this little guy need help now.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Dara, I would highly recommend home-schooling while you wait to get some more appropriate placement.

    It is my understanding that Special Education SHOULD be available through your public school system. To NOT have it available publicly, is a breach of internationally accepted anti-discrimination legislation.

    Sammy reminds me so much of difficult child 3 at that age. In pre-school he also couldn't sit and participate - he simply didn't understand the language of what was happening around him. When the kdis were all sitting still and listening to a story being read, difficult child 3 was bored because:

    1) there were too many distractions from the shufflings, the sublte noises and movements of the other kids, which had more meaning to him than the meaningless syllables coming from the teacher;

    2) the story was simply not able to be understood by difficult child 3 - he didn't have sufficient language capacity, he is highly visual as a learner and STILL prefers to watch TV with subtitles even though his hearing is fine;

    3) he has ADHD as well and fidgets physically the more anxious and unsettled he feels;

    4) he is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and picks at things around him, lines things up (including grains of sand o nthe floor) and in general, was simply not able to pay attention.

    So the pre-school tried several things.

    First, they had a special towel (difficult child 3 loved the feel of towelling) which he could sit on and also hold, at circle/story time. Then he had an aide sitting with him whose job it was to take him away outside when his fidgets were getting too disruptive.
    Third - difficult child 3 was hyperlexic. So they would ENGAGE him by getting HIM to read aloud, especially reading out the names of classmates at roll call time. This also helped by showing the other kids that difficult child 3 was not simply a naughty kid or a 'slow' kid, but was in realty very bright.

    However, if we had decided to keep difficult child 3 in pre-school until he could sit still in circle time - he would still be there at 15!

    Some things are not worth trying to completely fix. better to get close, find other ways to manage, and move on. Otherwise EVERYTHING stagnates.

    Dara, you can throw money at this, and not fix it. You can sometimes find a good fix in other ways. Yes, often you can find some help by spending money. If we had paid for an aide privately, difficult child 3 would have had better support in mainstream school and we could have even bypassed the bullying problems (which pushed his anxiety through the roof and made learning a joke, too hard for him to take information on board when he was anxious). But we still would have had a kid who simply wasn't able to learn as effectively, in the mainstream setting.

    When we were starting difficult child 3 in Kindergarten, we were offered a place in a Special Education autism class. We also chose to not take up that offer right then, for the same reasons - difficult child 3 was a mimic and was learning appropriate behaviour by copying other kids and adults around him. We didn't want him learning stims and odd noises etc from autistic classmates. (I also had concerns about how effective was their playground supervision, difficult child 3 was a potential runner - he would see a flock of seagulls, for example, and chase them onto a road without realising; I was concerned that teachers mightn't be in a position to stop this).

    We chose to start difficult child 3 at the local mainstream school. Government school. They put on an aide for him, we had regular Learning Team meetings when we would discuss his progress and compare notes on how best to help him. His Kindergarten teacher was lovely, but wasn't able to teach him much. Frannkly, in all his years in mainstream, he learned more from me at hoime after school and on the weekends, than he did in school. This was a kid who started school able to read aloud fluently and doing simple maths, while his classmates were still learning C-A-T and how to recognise written numerals. However, difficult child 3 was still partly non-verbal, he had significant language delay and didn't understand some very basic concepts. He had to be spoken to in a very careful, ritualised way for him to understand. And he still couldn't sit still at circle time - his aide had to sit with him and work hard to keep him on task. Finally a coping method was put in place which followed him through the rest of his mainstream attendance - he needed to always have a place provided, where he could go and do his work on his own away from the rest of the class. For a few years this place was the veranda of the classroom. That was the most successful. In later years there wasn't enoguh of an escape area, and he got very little work done and was so anxious he missed weeks and motnhs of school attendance. That was when we really could see - when he was home "sick" (as we thought) he was getting ten times the amount of school work done.

    Dara, I think you need to be given information on what is avialable. And if options you feel he should have, are NOT available in your area - then Sammy is being discriminated against. He is entitled to have access to an education. He shouldn't be held back simply because he can't sit still!

    We went through this with difficult child 1 also. And evne easy child, to acertain extent. She was a very bright child, but labelled as "immature" by her teacher and downgraded into a lower class simply because she was bored. Downgrading her only made her boredom worse until she was a big behaviour problem. I finally transferred her to another school where they noted two things:

    1) She had regressed academically (they had taught her two years earlier, claimed she had made no progress since they had her there before despite two years' alleged advancement)

    2) She was a bright child who needed stilumation and once they gave it to her agian, she rapidly made up lost ground.

    difficult child 3 is very like easy child. We fond with both, we need to keep them surrounded by stimulation. Our home has been called "an enriched learning environment" and frankly, it is how we have coped. Walls are covered in Escher prints, learning sheets, encouraging notes and interesting pictures. Puzzles everywhere. We played chess with the kids from pre-school. The kids have had access to computers since we got the first one when easy child 2/difficult child 2 was a toddler. We invested in simple educational software for them and let them play (with supervision). difficult child 3 was therefore using a computer from infancy.

    With Sammy's history, such stimulation has got to help his brain recover from the damages he's experienced. We know just how amazing the brain is; it's taking the "use it or lose it" a few steps further, to "let's make it happen".

    To begin your own "walls of enrichment" may I suggest the following phrase - "Do the best you can with what you've got"?

    And look around. Make things happen. You may find home-schooling, at least for a year, less stressful than the current hassles. I especially love the portability.
    Example - last week I declared a school excursion day and we took along some home-schooling neighbour kids. We studied local forest types and I quickly prepared some notes for them. But it was very hands-on, we had a ball and the kids picked up a great deal. We were also outdoors. The kids felt the salty mud of a mangrove swamp. tasted the salt on the leaves. Then in the rainforest they burrowed their hands into the leaf litter and felt the coolness underneath.

    We have so many resources around us that we never use.

    Oh, and the cost of our excursion - just the fuel getting there. And the burgers we had for lunch on the way to the coal seam and the rock platform.

  11. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Although my difficult child is now a lot older than yours, we went through exactly the same thing. I don't know what school district you are now in, even though I know HISD has many. I live south of there, in a different school disctrict. BUT in fifth grade I found out they have classrooms called SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT classrooms. It was the best thing we ever did for our son. The school district had to get him there on a special bus that picks him up at our door (still). The most there has ever been in his class is eight, with a teacher and an aide. He gets one-on-one all day. I'm not sure he would ever have learned very well without it. This year, eighth grade, there are only three in his class. He is trialing a mainstream class, but it isn't working very well. He just canNOT focus, period. He has few friends and I know it's hard, but life is hard. We can't make other people like our children. He had one friend for several years, but as they mature, his friend is moving on and difficult child is stuck at acting ten instead of fourteen. Anyway, I found out about the social development class by accident.....he should have been in a class like that from day one. All I'm going to tell you is ASK about it, or it could be a loooong time before the school district brings it up.

    PM me if you want.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi again.

    I didn't mean sending him to a special private school or spending money. We didn't have to do that. In fact, my son had no exact fit either and wasn't even rightly diagnosed, but we knew he couldn't just sit in a regular classroom and get much out of it. He was put in a class of kids with a bunch of different issues, but all were academic challenges because they learned differently. Many were socially appropriate, but he was the smartest in the class and became the leader. He has made friends from that class and from regular classes. Currently he is mainstreamed with special help if he needs it (he goes to a resource room). Although he didn't act out at school, he didn't learn a thing either...at least not in a big classroom with so much stimuli going on. He was in Special Education for Reading and Math and then in regular classes the rest of t he day with an aide. It turned out that he was usually in Sp. Ed. half the day. It didn't hold him back socially. It actually helped him as he instantly had kids in class who accepted him for who he was and because he got so much one-one help. I don't know if this sort of set-up would help Sammy or not, but he's on the spectrum, like my son. So I thought I'd offer up what helped us. It's really hard to tell that L. is on the spectrum anymore. More often people just think he's shy. And in school, he isn't even shy. I think social skills classes would help Sammy a lot. For the writing and motor skills there is Occupational Therapist (OT). My son also had speech and PT. He could speak well, but he really didn't know how to hold a conversation. He's still pretty quiet in a group, but at least he can sound socially appropriate and not just blurt out stuff from nowhere.
    Good luck, whatever you decide.