So Ike is in the Federal Preschool program 2 days a week. That's it, that's all. He receives speech therapy and occupational therapy while at school. He's also been diagnosed recently with some Sensory Processing Problems (hyper-sensitive hearing, hypo-sensitive touch, and under-responsive to movement (i.e. he needs to move. A lot.)) Which is a good thing, the bad thing is that his problems are bad enough to be annoying, but not enough to receive services above and beyond the times when the OT works with the entire class.
So, a couple of months ago at the IEP meeting, Ike's teacher told me to enroll him in another preschool another 2-3 days a week. He will be mainstreamed into a normal classroom next year for kindergarten, and she said he needed some more practice learning to behave in a normal classroom setting. She recommended the Parks and Rec program or the Y. Since I'm a member of the Y, I went there.
Before I enrolled him in school, I talked to the director. I told her about his speech delays, his resulting behavior problems that we are having (i.e. agression, inability to follow instructions...you know. Normal 4 year old behavior), his sensory processing problems, how we are working on mainstreaming him to a normal classroom, and that the FPP teacher said Ike needed practice learning to behave in a classroom. I asked. Is this a good fit for him. Will you be willing to work with him. He's going to be work for you. Her response? "Oh yes, we are willing to work with him."
Its turning out that their definition of working with him are completely different than mine. Their idea of working with him is suspending him for multiple days from the program. Can anyone explain to me how suspending a 4 year old is going to help him improve his behavior? Yes, he's aggressive, I warned them that that was going to be their main problem. I took him back to school today (after a nearly 2 week absence) and the director of the school said "He can't stay until you've had a meeting with my boss back at the Y". Great. I load him back into the car and drive to the Y.
I find the Grand-Supervisor and asked if it was a good time. She said not really, because she wanted to meet with me and the Director, but she'd talk with just me now. She basically said the same thing over and over. He's aggressive, its unprovoked, he's picking on one little boy and that suspension is a safety issue. I pointed out that one of the teachers is telling me privately that the other teacher and the director are over-reacting, that he's behaving normally for a kid that age, and that its not really a big deal. "He was just trying to be nice" She couldn't answer how suspension is supposed to make an impression on a 4 year old. She told me I should have punished him on the days he was supposed to be at school. He's 4. Like he remembers an incident that happened 10 days ago. Please.
Safety issue was her basic response, so I asked, what are you willing to do to keep working with him? Further suspensions if new strategies don't work. So instead of dealing with him (like they said they would) they are going to shunt him aside so they don't have to deal with him. Grrrrr.
Needless to say, I'm not happy. I pointed out that if they weren't willing to work with a kid like Ike, they should have told me before I enrolled him. Suspension is not working with the problem, its not practice-learning how to behave in a classroom, which is why I brought him to their school in the first place.
So I am going to pull him out of the Y program tomorrow and demand my money back for the month, considering I paid for the whole month, I only got 3 days of school. They can pro-rate it.
So now I'm on the hunt for a new preschool. I've looked at 2 already and wasn't too happy. One was too lax, and other was too regimented. But there are other schools in the area, so I'll keep looking. I'm not sure what the right fit will be. Everyone keeps asking me "Aren't there any preschools who deal with kids like Ike?" Yea, its called the school district and Ike is already attending, and no, I can't send him more days because its not even an option. (Your tax dollars at work!)
Most of the preschools around here are all about the academics. What they can teach the kids that will help them succeed academically at school! Frankly, I don't care about that. Ike is smart enough, he'll pick up any academic subject fairly easy. Ike needs a school where they will let him focus on social and emotional achievment. I want to see "Plays well with others" I don't care about "Can count to 100" that will come quick enough. *sigh* What in the hell happened in letting kids be kids while they are kids? When I went to Kindergarten, it was all about well, this
. What happened? I don't like it. But that's another rant for another day.
I also think I need to track down an OT in the area and get him some therapy. Yes, its annoying enough to interfere with our day and his ability to play well with others. To me that means he needs services, but the district guidelines say otherwise. There's one in Gilroy, but that's a drive and a half with the girls in tow. I need to find someone more local.
And yes, I still plan on enrolling the girls in a different Y preschool (there's one at the elementary school where they will be going) than the one Ike is at now, next fall. They are a bit more mellow and aren't nearly as aggressive. They should fit in just fine.