Page 2 of 2 [ 21 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

Vivienne
Toucan
Toucan

User avatar

Joined: 22 Dec 2009
Age: 41
Gender: Female
Posts: 276
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

09 Jan 2010, 8:20 pm

Montessori is good because the children who attend are basically encouraged to pursue their own interests. They're allowed to play with the activities they like.
Also, Montessori schools teach a lot of 'real life' skills. Tying laces, cooking, self-care etc.

Public schools have the public resources to support a child with special needs. It's been my experience that the public school system is not only funded, but aware by experience how to spot a child who needs special attention.

Private schools, from what I know, tend to be for the elite and the smartest kids. They can support a child who is average to gifted excellently, but they have very little room for the child who cannot keep up with the work/the rest of the class.

My sister, wealthy, has her son in private school. When I asked her, she laughed and said that no, there were no "special needs" programs in her son's school. If the child doesn't meet the requirements, they aren't accepted into the school. Period.

These 'requirements' are established at the kindergarten level.

Private school my not be the best environment for you child.


_________________
Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
~Thomas à Kempis

"Be plain, good son, and homely in thy drift;
Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift"
~Shakespeare


Electric_Spaghetti
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

User avatar

Joined: 16 Dec 2009
Age: 37
Gender: Female
Posts: 80

10 Jan 2010, 12:27 pm

Hi,

I've never been assessed (working on that) but had severe social and behavioral problems at school and have dyscalculia and possibly some kind of dyspraxia. My brother was diagnosed dyslexic. We both had experience of conventional private schools and a Steiner (Waldorf) school, and my brother was in a special needs school for a year or two. I've also got a cousin who's in a special needs school because of her AS. All I can say is under no circumstances assume that because a school is private that they will be better for your kid. Also, don't give up on special ed schools, they're not all "spaz factories", especially now more and more of the higher functioning spectrum kids are ending up in them. My cousin was moved to a state run one in her early teens due to bullying. It turned out to be a good one and she's very happy there. She used to be academically behind but now she's on par with NT kids her age.

My brother and I were sent to the same private school initially. We both exhibited behavioural problems of a similar intensity when we were at primary school but only my brother was diagnosed as having a learning difficulty (He was more disruptive in class and better behaved in the playground than I was). As soon as his diagnosis was confirmed he was expelled, end of story. Like most private schools, it's main preoccupation was academic and sporting achievement. I was hard working and excelled in every subject except mental arithmetic, sports and handwriting, so they kept me. I was bullied endlessly. The children in my class even formed a little club dedicated to hunting me down every break and lunch time to torment me (I'd eventually break down and either try to kill them in a blind rage or have an uncontrollable crying fit. They found this hilarious.). Only one teacher tried to help me, the rest either did nothing or actively encouraged the other kids to bully me as a form of punishment.

My brother meanwhile had been sent to a small special ed school. It was a tiny school and he was the only one in his class who didn't have some kind of profound mental retardation. The school helped him recover mentally and socially from his experiences at his previous school and trauma at home, but couldn't meet his academic needs. They recommended the local Steiner school. The one in our city is very well established, run reasonably well and covers all ages from pre-kindergarten to 18 (if they're badly run they can be crap just like any other school). It was amazing. Whatever you think of the underlying philosophy that drives the place, they get a LOT right about education. Indeed, Steiner got a lot of his ideas regarding education from his experiences tutoring a boy who appears to have had ADHD/AS type difficulties. From class 1-8 each class has a "class teacher", who fulfills the role of form tutor but who stays with the class for the entire 8 years enabling them to form relationships with the kids and their families. They cannot afford to ignore a kid with problems because that kid would be with them year after year, and the relationship they build with the kids helps them to get through to them and allows them to better identify which kids need help. Rudolf Steiner said that the first thing an educator needs in order to teach a child is that child's friendship, which is something I agree with. The environment at the school was carefully arranged so as not to be distracting, there were good, solid routines, and parents were expected to work with the school to make sure their child has a healthy environment and diet at home too. There was also a lot of tolerance from the teachers for those that are different. A kid would be disciplined for being disruptive (and the underlying cause of this behaviour would be investigated), but never for simply being odd. Bullying was still occasionally a problem for some but was punished, and kids who were susceptible could find respite at break time either with teachers or in a supervised area where they would not be targeted. I never saw any evidence of organised abuse.

At that school my brothers class teacher, who was also the middle school english teacher organised a very comprehensive programme of therapy and remedial education for him, together with one of the schools special ed teachers. He entered the school five years behind his classmates in english. He left with a B grade in his highers. Although it was a mainstream school, there were a few kids there with quite severe learning difficulties and the school accommodated them in very flexible and creative ways. To give an example, my brother had a classmate who was very bright but so profoundly dyslexic he couldn't read or write at all. He was still fully included in his class, even although he was following a different curriculum. He was encouraged to learn crafts skills, which he was exceptionally good at (when he graduated he was offered two apprenticeships from master craftsmen with very good reputations). He decided to stay on for a couple of years after his graduation, spending most of his time helping the Janitor. This may seem a bit strange, but the school continued to work with him and he learned to use computers using text to speech software. This let him go to college.

When I was in my mid teens I could no longer go to the school I was at due to the bullying. The girls there had a nice little game they liked to play. I don't know if they had a name for it but the rules were always the same. First, they'd select one of the outcasts. Then, if the outcast had a friend or two, they'd remove them. This was achieved by turning their friends against them using gossip, pretending to let the outcasts friend into their clique if they'd abandon the outcast and bully them, or by simple straight bullying or fear of ostracisation. Then they could really start to play with their toy. The girl before me got 2 years of this and may have killed or have tried to kill herself. Someone I knew who wasn't prone to making stuff up overheard her name and suicide being mentioned by one of the teachers, but I couldn't get a straight answer from any of them when I asked. I also saw some of the girls that had instigated and driven her torment laughing about it and celebrating. She disappeared one day and her mum came in a few days later in tears to empty her locker. Her crimes were asthma, a minor physical deformity and a working class accent (she was in on a bursary). I don't know why the school wasn't prosecuted for this. I was the next to be selected. After about a year of this kind of abuse on top of the bullying that by then was just part of daily life I had to leave. I was an outpatient at the young persons unit of a local psychiatric hospital for a few months before I was ready to try to go back to some form of education.

At the Steiner school I got a safe, supportive environment and some help with my coordination and maths difficulties. Everything felt comfortable and "right". I was friendly with some of the people in my class and was invited to take part in normal teenage activities for the first time in my life even although I was still a bit strange. There was only one bully in the class, but she received no support from the other students and therefore posed no problem. All I had to do was not speak to her and she'd get bored and go away. It was brilliant. I made up most of the ground I'd lost academically and graduated with As in english and physics and Bs in maths, biology and chemistry (previously the best I'd got in maths was a D or C).

Yikes, sorry for the TL:DR, that was far more than I intended to write! I really hope you manage to find a good school for your son, one that sees him as a human being rather than a set of grades and where he'll be seen as an equal and potential friend by his classmates.



puddlelion
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

User avatar

Joined: 12 Jan 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 5

13 Jan 2010, 2:14 am

My daughter is classified as TBI, but she does much of the things one with Asperger's does. She went to a public Elementary school from the age of 3 until 5th grade. THe school tinkered with having LD classes, and mainstreaming the kids. During the years my daughter was mainstreamed, she didn't do well. When she was in the secluded classroom, she thrived.

When it was time to find a middle school, I interviewed 2 magnet schools. They were not very structured at all. The kids would sit on desks while the teachers lectured, and there was a lot of walking around. My daughter does better with structure.

I checked the local public schools. I also talked with everyone on the planet about their kids and how they liked it. I kept coming back to the same thing; that bullying was a problem and that people were willing to look the other way. Some middle schools had guns brought to school and bomb threats.

I looked into some schools that...well, I don't know how you would catergorize them. They were more contained, and to put it nicely, felt very institutional to me. It just didn't seem like the right place for her. Behavior has never been a problem for her, and she is willing to learn.

Lastly, we looked at a charter school. The school has a firm no-bullying policy. The school is very small, so there are less students per teacher. It is also more of a familial, hands-on setting. They keep a lot of contact with the parents. The kids get sent home folders with a sheet listing all the tests coming home, that has to be signed. They use a reward system where the kids get "checks" for being good, or they write "checks" for forgetting homework or doing something they shouldn't. At the end of the quarter, the checking accounts are balanced and the kids can "buy" things in the school store. My daughter is doing very well at this school.



iamnotaparakeet
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 31 Jul 2007
Age: 34
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,091
Location: 0.5 Galactic radius

13 Jan 2010, 11:41 am

I recommend homeschooling, as you can customize and adapt the curriculum to you kid's needs. However this takes time and effort.



Livi
Emu Egg
Emu Egg

User avatar

Joined: 12 Jan 2010
Gender: Female
Posts: 2

13 Jan 2010, 8:05 pm

It's going to vary from city to city - whether private or public will be better. For my AS son, public school (Seattle) has been fantastic, whereas the private schools I've looked at would not have suited him because he does not 'fit' their program. Public schools in our city have to be made to 'fit' my child - by state law. And thus far - the experience & help from his public school has been wonderful (speech/social therapy/occupational therapy/tutor/scribe).



PrisonerSix
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Jul 2004
Age: 52
Gender: Male
Posts: 689
Location: The Village

14 Jan 2010, 3:30 pm

As someone who went to multiple types of schools, all I can say is you have to look beyond private, public, etc.

I first went to a Montessori program for 1st and part of 2nd grade. I did well in 1st grade because I had 2 great part time teachers. 2nd grade wasn't so good, the teacher didn't want to help me with anything, tried isolating me from a boy I was friends with, and so on. My parents complained but the principal sided with the teacher, so they transferred me to an all boys academy.

I spent the next 2 years there, and even though I was behind when I got there, the teacher gave me extra help and I rose to near the top of the class in no time at all. In that school, the way to get respected was to do well academically, and I did. I stayed there 2 years and was happy, but then all of a sudden during 4th grade, my parents insisted I had to get out of there. I don't know why, but they wanted me to go immediately to my sister's school. They gave me many reasons for this over the years for doing this, but I never believed them. I think it was the principal of my sister's school sold them on the idea I'd be better off there because he wanted more tuition money, but my parents would never admit it.

I spent the remainder of 4th grade and all of 5th grade there. It was a totally different world, of larger classes, and old falling apart textbooks, and in fact, what they were studying at the time was behind what we were in my last school. This school emphasized sports over everything else, and since I was no good at sports, I got picked on. My sister didn't have this problem, only I did. In addition, the non-sports boys were often forced to spend our afternoons picking up trash around campus instead of going to class.

My parents never listened to my complaints, insisting since my sister didn't have problems, neither should I and even suggesting I join the band like she did, which they thought would solve my problems. I had no interest in the band, so I never joined. Only when other parents who had sons told my parents similar stories to mine did they finally realize maybe I wasn't exagerating. They took me out of that school at the end of the year thank goodness. The thing that bugs me about that school now is it has gotten national recognition for its top notch high school football team on the web and other sports publications.

6th grade was Catholic school. Not a great environment for me. Many of the kids treated me with suspicion because I was new, but some did start being nicer to me later in the year. In addition, there was a lot of bias towards wealthier, influential people's kids, while I was ignored. I was only there for a year thank goodness.

7th grade was sheer hell. I went to a private school that was the epitomy of everything wrong with private school. This school took anyone who would pay, and many of the students were rejects from other schools. We had incompetent teachers, lack of discipline, you name it. I got picked on there because I wasn't a future criminal. Fortunately, only one year there.

8th grade was probably my worst year ever. It was spent in public school and this one football player started a campaign of everyone picking on me because get this, I had a deep voice. They would constantly make noises at me and it spread to so many kids, I couldn't keep track of them all, even kids I didn't know where doing it. Of course, it was reported and nothing was done, other than counseling for the offenders, who didn't stop. They also made harassing phone calls to my home and my parents blamed all of it on me and decided once the year was over, to punish me for the whole summer.

It was only when I got through the first half of my year in high school did they realize it might not have been my fault after all, because they continued to call my house several times a day for months after I finshed 8th grade.

High school, 9-12, a Lutheran school. Most of the kids there had been together, either through church of elementary school, all their lives, so they treated me like an outcast. They also had a degrading hazing called freshman hell week, in which students are humiliated by seniors for a whole week. I got outcasted more because I refused to participate. I got bullied constantly for 4 years and school officials did nothing about it. There was also a lot of bias in that school too, with the ministers', principals', and other wealthy/influential people's kids getting special treatment, while I was just a tuition check.

It came to a head during my 11th grade year when I wanted to drop a course and was told no, while others were allowed to drop it. It upset me that my parents didn't even try to find another private school for me when that happened, just made me stay there, where I treated with nothing but hatred and contempt. My sister was allowed to switch schools for lesser stuff then that, why not me?

I'm just glad those miserable years are over now.


_________________
PrisonerSix

"I am not a number, I am a free man!"