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lwolf
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12 Nov 2013, 9:19 am

Hey fellow parents :)

Tomorrow morning we are going to have a look at the Special Nursery that was recommended to us by the TAC team last month.
My daughter is 3 years old. And we are going through the diagnosis process for Autism at the moment. I was just wondering what your thoughts were of Special Schools and whether anyone's little ones go to them.

My significant other isn't a big fan of them and is calling it a fruit school.

My other worry is how she will cope she tends to shut down a lot in school settings.

Thanks for reading my rant and any thoughts and advice is very much appreciated :)



Adamantium
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12 Nov 2013, 10:33 am

lwolf wrote:
My significant other isn't a big fan of them and is calling it a fruit school.


I hope that she's saying that as a form of humorous stress relief--otherwise you will need some kind of family therapy around this immediately!

I don't have a ton of relevant experience but this: when our kids (twins) were a few months old, a specialist from the hospital where they were born suggested that we apply for certain New York early intervention programs immediately.

She would not say exactly why, but she said that there were certain issues that seemed to come often to twins who were born a few weeks early (common in twin pregnancies) and that if they needed it, those programs could be really helpful.

Another medical person from the same hospital said "don't listen to those early intervention people--if you get any services for your kids they will forever be stigmatized by the school system. Their true potential will be unrealized and they will be shunted off to useless schools that just store people until they are adults and then release them as broken, crushed people with no skills.

So we listened to the second voice. And now I regret it terribly. If my son had had the right OT for his hands, his whole experience in school might have been different. If my daughter had had some of the early social skills classes, she might have avoided a lot of pain in k-5...

If your little one has special needs, ignoring them is a really bad idea.

Good luck with everything!



lwolf
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12 Nov 2013, 1:46 pm

Thank you very much for your response Adamantium. Sadly he's in denial about it all and is very much in the same mind set as the second person who spoke to you about your twins. The fruits thing is a joke to him I think.

Isobel (my daughter) is getting lots of support which I appreciate sooo much. Just a bit nervous about how to handle the Autism sometimes. Especially now she's started biting again.

How are the twins now?

Very cool name btw :)



BuyerBeware
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12 Nov 2013, 2:02 pm

Unless he's saying "fruit school" in the same light-hearted sense that I (sometimes) refer to myself as a big, grown-up, high-functioning retard, I'd say he needs to become your insignificant other in a tearing hurry.

I can see where the medical professionals Adamantium was talking about are coming from-- you can do a lot of damage to a kid by oversheltering, overpathologizing, over-coddling, and generally making their disability the central defining factor of who they are. It's for this reason that I'm bloody glad that I grew up undiagnosed (because back in the 80s this was what we did with disability).

The other side of that coin, the other extreme, is denial and derision-- insisting that there's nothing wrong, or chasing the kid around going "Don't do that, Issy-- retarded kids do that. You're not retarded, are you?" It's equally damaging, for different reasons (though it seems like the damage looks a lot the same). It's for this reason that I'm getting my own kid assessed and talking about drafting a 504 (he's flying academically at this point, so no full-fledged IEP for us yet)...

...and fighting the tendency to run to both extremes (I've lived both, and they both ended in the same incredibly crappy place) tooth and nail.

Both of them, in the long run, land you up with lacking skills, unrealized potential, bad behavior, nonexistent self-esteem, and a boatload of learned helplessness.

Talk to the special nursery school. If it's all about catering to the kid and creating an environment where they're never frustrated, never stressed, never taxed, and never challenged-- that horrid pity that goes around masquerading as syrupy compassion-- find another school and talk to them.

If it's about starting from where they are and teaching skills as they're able to learn them-- a small reach from their comfort zone, but not an unbridgable distance-- slap your SO upside the head (not literally) and slap your kid on a wait-list for a spot. In that order.

If the behavior doesn't change (and I'm not discussing the child, here), you SERIOUSLY need to re-evaluate whether you want to be in this relationship. Being a female with Asperger's doesn't mean you have to settle for any loser that will have you.


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ASDMommyASDKid
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12 Nov 2013, 2:26 pm

I am not understanding the idiom, "Fruit School." I am usually pretty good with idioms other than regional ones. Where I live "fruit" is a derogatory word used to disparage gay males, something I presume has nothing to do with pre-k. I am going to guess based on other posters' comments that this also means wussy, unchallenging, coddling or something like that???


I am assuming your child was tested on both strengths and weaknesses and you have a report with this in it. Have that in mind as you tour. If you can, also in the near future tour a regular pre-k before you make a decision you might have a better idea of which environment would be best.

Each child is different and can handle different amounts of stress.



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12 Nov 2013, 2:30 pm

I believe "friut" equals "crazy," as in the term "assorted fruits and nuts."


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ASDMommyASDKid
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12 Nov 2013, 2:41 pm

Thank you, BuyerBeware,

Yeah... I agree he is going to have get over that attitude quickly. Even if your child is better suited for a mainstream school, she might need support along the way, and rejecting help your child needs b/c it will categorize her as "crazy" will not be helpful.

I am not saying there is no stigma, but there is a big difference in being afraid of a social stigma (placed by others) than him actually categorizing children that way.

I am not trying to be judgmental. I am trying not to be. I guess what I want to say is that his sense of humor is going to have to change to adapt to this in a way that is healthy for your family.



purplefeet
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12 Nov 2013, 3:12 pm

I don't know how it is where you are but in my son's (mainstream) school I know of 2 children who have been part of both the mainstream and special school system. One started in a special nursery and was integrated into the mainstream setting very gradually, doing part time in each for a while. He is now full time mainstream with support. The other was in mainstream with support but this year she is back in a special school because it is the best environment for her.

My point is that the situation is not cast in stone for the whole of your daughter's life. If she is in a place that teaches her the skills she needs in order to learn then in my opinion that is far more valuable than have her struggle through a system that isn't designed for her where she will get the message she isn't measuring up (that goes for you, the parents too).

Hopefully the special needs nursery won't be such an obvious school setting, as (I am totally guessing here) they will have adaptations and sensory rooms, etc.

Good luck with your SO's attitude. Or fear, whatever it is. There is often an element of grief over the life you expected your child to have at significant times like this.



lwolf
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12 Nov 2013, 9:12 pm

Thank you all soo much for your replies :)

Yes the fruit comment is about what he thinks of people with disabilities. His concerns apparently are over her mixing with children who have worse conditions than her. She picks up on a lot of behaviour from people around us. But in my opinion the comment is still out of order and I have told him this. Especially when he says it around her smh. Im trying to get her excited about the idea of the new school.

AsdMommy yes we were given a report about her strengths and weaknesses when she did a 12 week placement in a Child Development Centre. Which assessed how she reacts to the structure of school and what development level she's at. So I definitely plan on taking this in with me if I can :)
I should say she's going to a main stream nursery at the moment who are very good at dealing with and supporting her quirky behaviour :)
But this is mainly a free choice nursery that doesn't really stop her from not wanting to play with the others. They will on occasion just leave her to play in the corner where she hides when it all becomes overwhelming for her. And don't worry I certainly don't see your comments as judgemental. His attitude does need to change.

BuyerBeware I can completely understand one part of the extreme. When I was diagnosed in the 80s a lot of my behaviour and lack of wanting to communicate and be social was swept under the rug so to speak. The usual response was "oh it's not her fault. She has difficulties. She doesn't have to interact with us if she doesn't want to". Im still learning how to do some things that would be have been easier to get if I had been taught them earlier. I also got very little push to continue with things if I found them hard so usually I just stopped. So im trying to raise her differently :)
And as for the slapping upside the head im certainly tempted sometimes lol.

Purplefeet yeah I think you have hit the nail on the head. He's scared. Angry and in denial. He was brought up with strong views towards academics and expects A grades from our daughter when the time comes. His opinion on the help we get is that the nhs have gone overboard and that other than the speech and language issues that she's perfect. Which to me she's brilliant but I notice and accept she's different to other children her age and she's definitely got some issues that stop her from functioning.
Yes the school does have a lot of added extras such as a soft play room, sensory room, sensory garden, mini beach, outdoor play ground and a hydrotherapy pool. But the classrooms are set out like a classroom which is what I think makes her shut down but we will have to wait and see :)

Once again thank you soo much for your replies. It's helping me to a lot to be able to talk to other parents. Apologies for the huge post :oops: :oops:



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12 Nov 2013, 9:31 pm

Don't worry about long posts. A good portion of my posts read as novellas. :)

That balancing act of encouraging social interaction without forcing it is a hard balance to achieve. All my son's schools just let him be, unless he was too disruptive, and when he did finally choose to interact, he was in the weeds b/c no one helped him. So that would be a great thing if you can get the right mix.

I understand your husband's concerns about academics. Often schools or programs that are designed for special needs do not emphasize academics. In pre-k, I would not worry about it so much. She is better off playing right now, like they used to do back in the day. My son was in spec ed pre-k for social reasons and potty training issues and I just did the academics at home.

You can kick the can on academics at her age, without too many problems. I think you should get her what she needs, now and worry about the rest later.