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Old 12-18-2012, 01:04 PM   #1
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Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

Just looking for support as DS has his screening for the special needs preschool this afternoon and tomorrow morning. DH and I are wringing our hands, hoping that they recognize his needs. He's been removed from 3 preschools in the past 9 months as well as two in home childcare/preschool programs. He's high functioning on the Autism Spectrum, but the district has told us that a diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean admittance to the program.

It's hard because we really need two incomes to keep up with our incomes. DS obviously needs help (obvious to us, anyway - based on the fact that we've been told time and again that "this just isn't the right place for him" and the fact that there are times that we feel so helpless in parenting him). I desperately want him to be taught the skills he needs to push through sensory overload, avoid meltdowns, work well with peers, etc.

Anyone BTDT and have words of advice and/or encouragement?

Today an intervention specialist is coming to the house to observe him (since he's not currently in preschool). Tomorrow we are going to the special needs preschool so that he can be observed interacting with children. The school psychologist will be there and several others. I'm nervous!

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Old 12-18-2012, 01:27 PM   #2
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Re: Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

Good luck mama! Yes, a medical diagnosis does not always mean an educational eligibility, but it is more likely in preschool than once they are in school. I would have specific examples of why he was 'kicked out' of preschool. The more concrete and pervasive the issues, the better your chances.
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Old 12-18-2012, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

Thank you! It went much better today that I anticipated. For some reason I simply anticipated the intervention specialist just sitting back and observing him, which I didn't think would do much good.

That wasn't at all what happened! Silly me. She observed for about five minutes, then looked at me and acknowledged that I have my hands full. She then tried some techniques to help calm his body. Then an amazing thing happened, he actually sat down next to her to work through some of the things she wanted to work through with him. She alternated between assessing him with questions (shapes, colors, numbers, letters, counting, etc) and giving him a break to play with the train set he had out so she could observe. He did begin a few mild meltdowns while she was here and we talked quite a bit about his history and our (DH & myself) concerns.

Ultimately, she said she see LOTS of sensory issues. And I learned what "sensory seeking" means. I thought I was able to guess, but apparently all his throwing himself on the ground, climbing and bouncing all over the furniture, laying across the table while he plays, climbing all over the dog, and climbing into my lap and trying to get all wrapped up in me while telling me to squeeze as hard as I can is sensory seeking. Who knew?!

She explained that sensory doesn't stand alone, that by itself would not qualify him for services. She said she definitely sees evidence of other things, but that a lot of it is hiding behind the sensory stuff. She admittedly isn't an OT so off the record showed me some techniques to help give him the sensory input he desires. Hopefully that will help to offset the sensory stuff and allow the other things to be more visible when we go into the preschool tomorrow for the second part of his screening? That's her theory anyway. I'm supposed to do those techniques, give him opportunities to jump safely, etc.

I'm feeling like my head is spinning. On the one hand I see how much the right help can do for him. When she used her little calming techniques on him, he sat still for a bit, he cooperated for a little bit. Maybe it was partly the new face or a honeymoon period. But I saw how things could actually IMPROVE! That we're not stuck like this forever. But then, in the back of my mind, is the possibility of him not even qualifying for preschool.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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Hopefully it will go as well tomorrow. Also you can get private OT through insurance and they can give techniques to use at home and in daycare that may help him if he doesn't qualify. So either way all is not lost!
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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Re: Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

Thank you! I had no idea.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:58 PM   #6
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Re: Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

Good luck! Have you read "The Out of Sync Child"? There is a companion book called "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" which has great games and ideas for sensory kids. I would continue to impress upon them that you need help dealing with the sensory issues now so that by the time he gets to Kindy, he is able to function in a classroom and learn with the other children. This is how we initially got DS into developmental. They know how to make the numbers add up on their charts to get him the help he needs, even when he doesn't quite qualify in the right places. We just kept going back to...if he stays like this, there is no way he will be successful in kindy, and he will be a distraction to the other students.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:06 PM   #7
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Re: Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

That's what I'm reading right now :-). I purchased both of those books a while back (along with a dozen or so others, but never got around to reading them. I fully intend to pour my heart out to them in the morning and explain why it's so important to me that he gets help now so that he's more prepared to start kindergarten in the fall. Time is running out!
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:34 AM   #8
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Re: Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

As for today, we're still in the process of determining his eligibility for preschool. The place that gave him his diagnosis hasn't forwarded their evaluation on to the preschool, which is complicating things. Also, he did very well in several areas of assessment - which is awesome - except that he needs to show moderate issues in at least two areas to qualify or significant issues in one. That one is socio-emotional, but the question is whether it's significant enough to qualify him as a stand alone. It's frustrating because several areas that are issues for him don't "count" as far as qualifying him, but they'd work on those issues if he was accepted. Ahhhh! It sounds like the school psychologist is going to do everything in her power to get him admitted to the program because she sees the need and knows that he's in need of intervention. It's just a matter of getting all the information they can get from us, the issues, etc. so that they can get him in. So...complicated! We have an appointment Friday, January 25 to go over their findings and learn whether he's been accepted.
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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Re: Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

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Originally Posted by NewbieSAHM View Post
As for today, we're still in the process of determining his eligibility for preschool. The place that gave him his diagnosis hasn't forwarded their evaluation on to the preschool, which is complicating things. Also, he did very well in several areas of assessment - which is awesome - except that he needs to show moderate issues in at least two areas to qualify or significant issues in one. That one is socio-emotional, but the question is whether it's significant enough to qualify him as a stand alone. It's frustrating because several areas that are issues for him don't "count" as far as qualifying him, but they'd work on those issues if he was accepted. Ahhhh! It sounds like the school psychologist is going to do everything in her power to get him admitted to the program because she sees the need and knows that he's in need of intervention. It's just a matter of getting all the information they can get from us, the issues, etc. so that they can get him in. So...complicated! We have an appointment Friday, January 25 to go over their findings and learn whether he's been accepted.
You can bring a copy of the evaluation report that lists the medical diagnosis to them yourself if the other place is dragging their feet. Are they looking at Developmental Delay as an eligibility? If you have a private diagnosis of ASD (I thought I saw that, please forgive me if I'm wrong) have they looked at an Autism eligibility with a instrument such as the ADOS?

Even if he won't qualify, I would highly suggest looking into at least OT therapy privately through insurance. And letting daycare centers know he has a diagnosis but isn't severe enough to qualify for services. I think some places are a lot more willing to work with you if they know your child has diagnosed special needs as opposed to just being 'difficult', KWIM? And if he doesn't qualify they staff at the program might know of some better 'special needs friendly' daycare centers as well.
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:25 PM   #10
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Re: Screening for Special Needs Preschool today and tomorrow

Our area has an autism speciality preschool with OTs. If he doesn't qualify in two categories, do you have anything like that near you? Here is a link to ours...they might know of a resource near you. http://www.littlestarcenter.org/
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