Posts Tagged ‘ special needs education ’

Daycare For Kids With Special Needs: Yes, Please

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Among the many things I wished for when Max was little: a daycare that specialized in kids with special needs. We had a regular sitter, but when she was on vacation or called in sick, leaving Max at a regular daycare was stressful. Sometimes, my husband and I ended up taking off days from work.

I was so thrilled to read about A Place For Grace in Saginaw, Michigan, a daycare center for kids with special needs that opens September 2. Its founder: a mother of a child with special needs. As Jenny Dumont recalls of her struggles finding daycare for her daughter Emma Grace, now 9, who has intellectual disability, “She was having meltdowns four times in one week and I got called in to pick her up and when I got in the caregiver was doing the best she knew how. I got really frustrated and thought, Why isn’t there a place for children like Emma?”

Jenny Dumont and daughter Emma Grace

A Place For Grace has teachers trained in special education, along with a sensory room and toys  for kids with special needs. It will ofter preschool for children ages 3, 4 and 5 (who missed the school cut-off) and aftercare for kids ages 5 to 16. The goal is to offer full-day childcare for school breaks and special days by Summer 2015, including therapies in accordance with children’s IEPs.

If you Google “special needs daycare center” in your area or state, some might crop up—key word being “might.”  This country is sadly lacking in daycare options for children with special needs. It’s astounding, though not surprising, that this one was started by a parent of a kid with special needs. Parents like us often have more than our hands full and yet, we best know just how needed services like this are.

Also see Parent.com’s Day Care and Babies With Special Needs

 

From my other blog:

On letting your child with special needs do things for himself 

My kid with special needs understands you so don’t ask me, ask him

That sad you feel when you think about your pregnancy

 

Image source: Screen grab of center, WNEM video; Emma Grace and Jenny via GoFundMe

 

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7 Back-To-School Tips For Kids With Special Needs

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Back to school is always a hectic time of year (understatement alert). But when you have a kid with special needs it can be even more of a challenge, especially if you have a child who doesn’t like changes in routine. I’ve found that getting Max a new backpack or some other new school item early in August helps; it gets him psyched, and it comforts him to know he’s prepared. I asked Facebook parents of kids with special needs what makes the return to school go more smoothly for their kids and them. Their strategies:

Get back into a routine. ”I start the routine two weeks prior, bedtime and morning wake-up. I let him pick out his new lunch box and pack up his school supplies and pick his first day of school outfit. I drive him to school to re-introduce it for familiarity.”—Amy S.

• Keep it visual. ”We do a monthly schedule color-coordinated for each of the four kids, and now a color for the dog! Kids and I like to see what’s ahead and what we get to look forward to.”—Nancy B.

Two words: “Online shopping!”—Maria K.

Build excitement. “A giant wall calendar shouts the term ‘starting day’ and conversation touches on the new teachers and responsibilities.”—Dave W.

Get some teacher scoop. “It helps to have a hint of what the coming year will bring. Some inkling of who this teacher is, into whose hands I’m about to place my child’s well-being and education…. I’m in a state of horror as I know none of that yet!”—Barbara H.

Practice homework to build confidence. “We do some ‘school’ work from workbooks every day to reinforce what he already knows!”—Amy S.

• Know that it will get better. ”My son actually does a lot better during the school year. He gets bored at home, and begins cycling through his preferred activities at a much faster rate. But adjusting to change is never easy for him. I expect to see increased frustration and aggression during the first few weeks of school. Knowing that situation will improve as he becomes more comfortable in school makes it easier to deal with a change in behavior.”–Regan B.

From my other blog:

On letting your child with special needs do things for himself 

My kid with special needs understands you so don’t ask me, ask him

That sad you feel when you think about your pregnancy

Preparing for the First Day of School
Preparing for the First Day of School
Preparing for the First Day of School

Image of child getting on school bus via Shutterstock

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Including Kids With Special Needs In Classrooms: There Are No Easy Answers

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Max is in a school for kids with special needs, and always has been, but I often wonder about whether we should consider inclusion for him.

It’s a toughie: We think he’s getting a great education, and the teachers and therapists are outstanding. If he were in a so-called typical class, he’d get pulled out a lot for therapies. I’ve heard, straight from a school source, that the quality of aides in our district’s public schools isn’t up there.

Still.

I long for him to be around so-called typical kids, both because I think they could have a positive impact on learning and for social reasons, too. And then, there’s this truth: Growing up in a special needs hothouse, as wonderful as it is, isn’t preparing him for the real world.

Last night, I watched the documentary Certain Proof: A Question of Worth; it’s about the challenges children with severe cerebral palsy face in the public education system. It really got me thinking about inclusion, as did this infographic on the topic.

Ah, special needs parenting decisions, decisions….

Photo of child writing on blackboard via Shutterstock

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How Happy Are You With Your Child’s IEP?

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Like “PT” and “OT” and “CP,” “IEP” were initials I’d never heard until I had a kid with special needs. But now that Max is nine, I am a downright veteran of the Individualized Education Plan. Wait, that makes me sound old; change that to “a master of the Individualized Education Plan.”

It seems like most parents are satisfied with their inclusion in IEP meetings, according to a study that just came out in the Journal of Disability Policy Studies. Researchers looked at the experiences of families of more than 10,000 students with disabilities around the country. Most parents said they’d attended their child’s most recent IEP meeting; of those parents, 70 percent felt their level of involvement in making decisions was “about right.” Disability Scoop notes that parents of kids who have challenges with behavior or social skills were more likely to be dissatisfied with the IEP process.

I am one of those satisfied parents, starting with the fact that I think the school my son is in is excellent. Not only are the teachers and therapists knowledgeable and competent, they care deeply about the kids. When I go to the IEP meetings, I feel like I am on a team—and I do not have to play defense. They listen to concerns I have and offer to follow up on them (and they do), and they address all of my questions. I also usually walk out of there with a list of websites, equipment and even toys that could help Max.

Over the years, I’ve had to push for additional therapy sessions for Max. Sometimes, I’ve gotten them and sometimes, I haven’t. Once, we made a concession; I wanted Max to have an extra speech therapy session, and we agreed we would do one with other kids—communal speech therapy! He’s loved that, and it’s been great for all the kids. I’ve learned that while I am there to make sure Max gets what he needs, I need to be open-minded to compromises, too.

I usually type up a list of points/concerns ahead of time, so I don’t forget stuff. The other thing that could make IEPs go better is a pitcher of margaritas. But I’d settle for white wine.

What have your experiences been with IEPs? Got any good tricks for navigating them?

Image: Row of binders via Shutterstock

 

From my other blog:

Stuff special needs moms say

25 things that make special needs parenting easier

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