Wednesday, July 16, 2008

School Daze

Well, it's happened again. I let my guard down and someone came in and stomped all over my ideas of What Will Be. Thomas is supposed to be going to preschool in the Fall, and I let someone else do the decision-making. I was not The Decider and things are not. going. well.

There are two special-needs preschools in town and I really wanted Thomas to go to the UCP Center. It started as primarily a school for kids with Cerebral Palsy but has expanded into a larger role, taking kids with all sorts of special needs. They are obviously very experienced with kids that have mobility issues, like Thomas, and they also have mainstream kids in each classroom and I really like that mixture. The typical kids learn compassion, the special needs kids aren't segregated from the community.

Unbeknownst to me, there is another preschool in town, one primarily for kids with behavioral problems and autism. One where all the kids are mobile. Guess which one Thomas was assigned to.

And what really gets me, what really makes me smack myself in the head and wonder just what the gray matter in my skull is comprised of (porridge perhaps? maybe mashed up bananas?) is that I really thought it was because they had Thomas's best interests in mind.

BUT - they didn't tell me Thomas would be the only non-mobile child. They didn't tell me that the other kids are there for issues completely unrelated to the issues Thomas has. When I communicated with the person at the school system, she had memories of me making statements that I not only wouldn't have made, but I wouldn't even have THOUGHT. Things like having Thomas schooled at home. Wha..? I definitely want Thomas in a school setting so he can interact with his peers. Peers meaning kids with mobility and cognitive problems. Is this so difficult?


He's only three and I'm already fighting the school system. This bodes ill for the next 15 years. And by God I am NOT letting him go to a school where fully-mobile kids with behavioral issues have the chance to pick on my child. Maybe I'm overreacting, but so be it. I will make this a positive experience for Thomas no matter what.

I probably need talking down off the ledge at this point. Any takers?


jenn said...

Wow - I don't think I'm one to help talk you off the ledge. I've worked in the school system as an OT for many years and have seen many parents get steam-rolled by Child Study Team members and administration. If I have any advice it's to be informed and don't be afraid to be vocal. If you disagree with something put it in writing and let them know what you want. You are the only person who truly has Thomas' best interests in mind. I also agree with your reasons for wanting him in the other preschool class...sounds like a better fit. I love that they have typical peers in the class - great for modeling positive behaviors!

Mandy said...

Hey there! My name is Mandy and I've been reading your blog for some time (although, this is my first comment).

I feel for you when it comes to the school system not understanding what you want for your child. My suggestion would be to try writing a letter to the Superintendent. Explain your situation and why you feel it's important for Thomas to be in a different situation. Who knows, it may end up helping a bit! :) could try contacting the school you wanted and ask them for suggestions.

Best of luck! :)