My son attends our local head start program 5 days a week from 8 to 2 PM. So far this year he really loves going, and he seems to really like his teachers. I can tell he likes it because he don't want to leave his classroom when his speech therapists come to do their sessions with him. His IEP team is recommending that he attends Special Service Preschool from 8:30 to 11 AM and then, go back to head start for the remainder of the day. I am not really sure how to feel about sending to… read more
I would leave him where he is at. I have worked both the headstart program and the sped preschool program here. The programs are very comparable with the exception that the headstart program has typically developing children mixed in. He will get better role models in the headstart program and if you are concerned about his OT/social needs ask about their special education teacher that comes in to work with headstart kids. Since he has already adjusted to their program your off to a good start.
Personally, I would sit in on some sessions at the special needs program to make sure they can and are doing what they say they can. That being said, if your son can benefit from the extra attention to his needs at a younger age it may help him (excuse the irony) get a head start in the long run. If he is able to get help to learn interactive play rather than parallel play, fine motor skills and whatever other necessary skills he may need to better fit into a traditional class in later academic years then this may allow him to mainstream sooner.
Consider the possibility that if you postpone getting him that help now, he may still need it later, and may need it more so, only it would be at an older age which could also be difficult on him socially and academically as this would be in older grades. Not that there is anything wrong with either scenario, it is just something to think about. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
I for one believe the more help you can get early on, the better. I have had my daughter in both public Pre-K mixed class, a public pre-k autistic class, and a private special needs pre-k and in our case, she developed much more rapidly in many of her skills while enrolled for just a few months in the special needs pre-k program. My child is not high functioning however, so she is currently now in an Autism Kindergarten class at a public school. However, I must say that while she was in the other program she showed signs of being much higher functioning than we had ever expected and I believe that is because they had the skills, training, and resources to provide the things she needed to excel. I wish she was still in that program now! But, who knows, I may have felt very differently if she was high functioning enough to be enrolled in a regular class to begin with, so I understand where you tough choice is coming from.
Good luck in your decision making!
So I made my decision he will be going to the special service preschool from 8:30 to 11 4 days a week. During his IEP the other day they brought up how much trouble my son has in teacher led activities. And I know that will be something that he will need a lot of work on as he will be going to kindergarten next fall.
visit the school they are suggesting. I was hesitant but my son learned a lot in spec ed preschool with only a small number of kids and lots of special providers added in (Ot, Pt, speech). for us they also helped with zippers, buttons, scissors, water fountains- things regular school did not work on
as for pulling out from regular room my son (now 8) just thinks that it's the norm and is now understanding that he needs extra help with some skills.
I agree with @A MyAutismTeam Member, and will add to it that as he progress through the school system chances are high that he'll need special services, and that some of these will require that he be pulled out of the regular classroom. If he feels that this is part of the normal process early on, then he won't think much about it later.