Several of you have asked questions in comments or emails, so I’ll elaborate a bit more about the school situation…
As far as why she was put in the afternoon class and if we had a say… There was no request process or any kind of communication from the school until we received the call to tell us where she had been assigned. We were told if we had any issues with it to call someone, and that’s what I did. The person apparently in control of these things is who told me that there wouldn’t be any “shuffling” happening. Obviously, had I been given the chance to put my 2 cents in, I’d have been very clear with this info about her needs at that time. It never dawned on me they would choose to put her in an afternoon class. It seems so very obvious to me that a child who has been noted as having focus issues in the classroom anyway would be assigned to start school at the least fresh time of the day. I’m glad they wanted to put us in Miss N’s class, and if that was a special concession that I didn’t know about, I do appreciate the thought. But Braska’s ability to perform and benefit from school is still primary.
(I’ll add in here that Jack is in the same boat as Braska. They were assigned to the same class, which we like, with the teacher we like, but not at a time that will work for either of them. Julie may talk more about that on her blog at some point. She is also quite unhappy with the situation, but she’s on vacation right now in the Sunshine State, so not sure when she’ll be blogging.)
We were told that “not all kids can go in the morning,” that they must have afternoon classes, so some kids have to go then. I get that. But I have now talked to three other families who have kids at our school, kids with DS, and these kids are older than Jack and Braska by at least 6 months, and they are all in morning classes. I was told by the school rep that they put us in with the teacher we liked, and I’m guessing that this is why they did the afternoon class. (Her morning class is a “young 3’s” class…the kids who have just turned 3 over the summer. And that’s where the kids who turn 3 during the year go when they start. There are many of these “young 3’s” classes. We would have been FINE with them being in that class.) I’ll state again…we DO like that teacher, and I had hoped Braska would have her again, but I can’t do the afternoon class even for that.
Because there was no communication or even a chance for us to preemptively let them know that afternoon was NOT ok, it would seem that there would be a back-up plan if the assignments simply don’t work for the child. But it does not appear to be so currently.
I’ll also state again that part of me feels I need to go ahead and take steps to get her moved to the morning, if only to make sure that this process is corrected, that it’s not left as ok as is. But for Braska, NOT being there, from the health standpoint, may well be better, so right now I’ll leave the battle to Julie. She’s better for the job anyway!
It’s also been mentioned that Braska could nap before or after school… After wouldn’t be an option, because she’d still be totally useless while AT school because she would be tired. And napping after 4:30pm, when we’d get home, would be just too close to bedtime. And before, taking feeding time into consideration for her required schedule, would mean that she’d be needing to go down for her nap before 11 am. And that’s just not going to work. She’s still in her “go mode” at that point. She hits her wall between 12:30 and 1pm, so she’s generally snoozing solid by 1:15pm on most days.
Regarding the question of if we have other schools to choose from… Nope. That’s the easy answer. Our school district contracts with this specialized private school for Early Childhood Special Ed (ECSE). Some call it a developmental preschool. The classes are generally close to 50/50 kids with IEPs and kids without. So everyone in our district who qualifies for ECSE goes to this school. Another neighboring district has the same situation with the same school. The third district in our area has their own ECSE building/program.
Clearly, this is not the way I’d have preferred it. But we’re going to move forward feeling comfortable that this is the right choice for what we know and have access to right now. All this with the knowledge that things can change quickly, as we’ve learned once again. But for now, we have a plan and we’re ok with it.