Thursday, January 28, 2010

School District

When Zavier turned 3, the School District in FL recommended special needs preschool. We found a private charter school that specialized in kids with special needs (Capstone), with the help of his therapist Pam. Somehow, our school district paid for it, which was such a blessing. He improved quite a bit there - it was a wonderful school. He stayed there from age 3 until age 4.5. Then we moved to CA.

When we arrived here at age 4.5, the school district assigned him to a special needs preschool at a local public school. They offered two classes: severe, and mild/mod. He was put into the mild/mod class. It was a wonderful, structured program, and he continued to improve there.

We sat down to write his school plan for the Fall of 2009 (IEP) during that time. I explained that he would be attending a private, typical, church preschool with regular kids instead. We still drafted an IEP anyway, in case it didn't work out with preschool.

Fortunately, it did work out with the mainstream preschool. Within the first few weeks, he adapted to their schedule, and functioned beautifully without an aide. They have free play, circle time, snack time, and outside time. He had been playing by himself (usually puzzles) during that opening free time. We felt like we were missing an opportunity for him to learn to play with his peers, so I requested a therapist in December for that opening free play time slot. We got it, yay! The therapist now comes in every Monday for 1.5 hrs to encourage him to play with the other kids - it's called "facilitating play."

I explained all of this to the rep from the School District yesterday on the phone. We are now beginning the process of setting up Kindergarten for Zavier, starting Fall 2010 (he'll be 6 years old by then). She is going to visit him at his current preschool, ask him some academic questions, gather the current reports from his therapists, and then we'll draft an IEP.

Based on our discussions, he should be able to spend most of his day in mainstream Kindergarten. Ironically, the main reason for mainstreaming, is that the School District is facing steep budget cuts. I'm now in the process of finding a great classroom for him.

Wanted: a quiet, calm, and friendly Kindergarten classroom, with a teacher whose patient, firm, organized, speaks in clear English, and keeps the kids on task.