I do not want to sound superficial in any way whatsoever. I went to school to be a teacher and believe highly in integrated classrooms but hear me out and give me your opinion.
I found a preschool that is actually at the end of my block that is in a school for kids with Down Syndrome and other disabilities (Association Children with Down Syndrome). They have a daycare and preschool within. At Nathan's age, they have what is called the integrated program where there would be 10 "typical" kids and 6 "IEP" kids. There is one regular teacher, a special ed teacher and two aids. The program sounds wonderful and the price is the most affordable around. Nathan has a severe peanut allergy and I feel comfortable with them (as comfortable as I can) being professionals. The two people I know who have children in the school rave about it. My husband is a little iffy because he thinks the integrated class will take away from my son. However, I think the complete opposite. I think it would be a great experience and all of the extra support in the classroom would only be positive for everyone.
What do you think?
Me (29), DH (31), DS1 - Michael (6) and DS2 - Nathan (3 - severe peanut allergy and an egg allergy)
I used to teach just that type of class. It would be a great experience for you little guy in a lot of ways - the instruction would probably be highly mulit-sensory, there *might* be music, speech and/or occupational therapists who would push-in to provide services so he might get different types of learning focus from different adults in short sessions or small groups. They'd be great with the food allergies I'm sure, which would be a relief.
The cons are like your DH fears - he may not get a ton of one-on-one attention. And certainly not from one steady teacher all the time. These classrooms can be really hectic sometimes (16 kids, two teachers, two aides, plus whomever else is pushing in if they do that) and some kids just can't cope with that, so take your DS' personality into account for sure. Can you sit in on a class and observe to see if it would be a good fit?
Esmerelda Supercalifragilistic (41) DD (5) DS (2) Just eat it, will ya
I agree that it could be a great experience for your little guy. My 4 yr old is at a daycare center that had a little girl with disabilities: she was not much bigger than a 2 yr old, couldn't walk or stand and basically had to have a lot of stuff done for her. I remember one day walking in at the end of the day during free play and there was my Alex sitting at a table playing with other little girl by choice! I loved that even though she had disabilities my child didn't see it and instead saw a friend who needed someone to play with. Being around children who are different is so great at this age. I think it really teaches tolerance and that even though we are different we can still play and learn together. This little girl was moved to a school that was better for her needs and they had a good-bye party for her. Anyway, Alex was so sad when she left.
I agree with Deb, you should see about observing. If you child is sensitive, the emotional rollercoaster found in this type classroom might be difficult. We have friends with a Downs child who talk about how the day at school can be hectic and emotionally charged. While being just down the street may sound tempting, it is more important is that your child thrives.
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