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Preschool Aged Kids
It is not a preschool but I really like seesaw studio in the city. They have great social skills classes. The classes are small and led by a psychologist. Johnny
Our son has been at a BUSD preschool program for special needs kids for almost a 1.5 years (it is not an integrated class) and we are seeing virtually no progress. He is on the spectrum and at 4.5 years old he has almost no language. We finally got 10 hours of ABA via Regional Center (that took 9 months) and that is making a difference. BIA of Emeryville is our provider and they are very good. In our last IEP BUSD said they would evalute for ABA this fall and now we are being told the district isn't offering ABA and any ABA they are provding is being 'phased out'. We are going to pay for additional hours to increase the intensity, but 15 hours per week isn't enough. Our next IEP isn't scheduled until April 2012. Has anyone out there had success with getting one- one-one support from BUSD, ABA, in-home programs paid for, etc.? Recently he was observed at school and it was suggested we pull him out becuase he is not getting the help and education he needs. Help! We need an advocate fast and any advice on strategies for BUSD would be welcome.
Searching for a preschool for 3 yo with ASD PDD-NOS in El Sobrante, Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany or Berkeley. Thanks. Leanin
I'm hoping I can get advice and insight from parents who may have gone through this already. My son is turning 3 and is being evaluated by Oakland Unified School District. While the final evaluations aren't in, he will be diagnosed with Autism. He's high-functioning, without any cognitive impairment.
Discussing with the evaluation team, they said he'd probably be offered one of the 5-day/week autism-specific preschool classrooms, but they apparently try to put kids with appropriate peers. They don't want me to tour classrooms until the evaluation is complete. In the meantime, we need to get our heads around a) what Oakland might have/offer and b) what's going to be best for him so I can push for that.
He's currently at a private preschool in our neighborhood and he's been doing great. He loves it, his language is developing and he's really happy. Best of all, he's getting a great social experience with typically developing kids. He also has a wonderful teacher and a small class. But his social/emotional delay is starting to show itself more since this preschool is all about play and social.
I'm sad to think that we're going to be confronted with pulling him out of this preschool community, but want to do what's best for his development. I do believe in early intervention, but will he aquire the social building blocks he's lacking with peers who are also on the spectrum? Will he be able to model language with other kids who may be delayed as well? Do high-functioning ASD preschool-aged kids need intensive, structured autism- specific classrooms? I know it's so individual, it's probably hard to say. He benefited tremendously from the 20-hrs/week of ABA therapy he received up to this point, but has outgrown it. Now he needs social, play and language skills-enrichment. Could there be a blend of our current preschool and speech therapy + social skills training?
How are the OUSD preschool classrooms for autism? Are there other options that I'm not aware of? I'm open to hearing about all options and the experience other families have had. (Unfortunately at this point, we can't afford to private-pay for everything.)
Thanks for your help! I'm anxious to get some clarity, as his IEP is a few weeks away. I'm happy to contact anyone personally if that's easier, just include email.
-Wanting to stay on our positive trajectory and uninformed about what Oakland has to offer.
Best wishes to you and your son! -TchrBeth
I am looking for a preschool for my 3 year old son in the Berkeley/El Cerrito/Albany area (although willing to travel for something suitable). He is mildly on the autistic spectrum and is unlikely to qualify for significant school district services. He needs a lot of direction and help to be involved in group activities, so the preschool would have to be very supportive of his particular needs. Anyone have any recent experiences or recommendations? Anon
We are thinking about moving to University Village in Albany. We have a high functioning autistic son who will be four in August. Is there a good, free, preschool in Albany? I've heard of some great public preschools in other cities, but no so much in Albany. Anybody have any suggestions? Is there a way to go to another school district if we are not satisfied with our choices? If so, how would we go about doing that? I'm not familiar with the area...I've never been there, and we aren't moving there until this summer. frustrated mom
My husband was just accepted to UC Berkeley, which is of course fantastic, but I'm having trouble finding resources online for my autistic son, who will be four in April. We haven't technically decided to move to Berkeley yet, but it's our top pick right now. I saw a preschool online called Tilden in East Oakland that looks great! Their website was a bit out of date which scared me into thinking it's not around anymore though. Colin's autism is very mild, and he does not need an aid. The preschool he goes to now is part of the school district, and is half low income families and half kids with special needs. We love it, and I'm trying very hard to find something similar. He does need OT, Speech, and ABA if those services are available. My perfect school for him would be an inclusive preschool, full day with these services provided. I'll be a stay at home mom (at least for a while) with a newborn (due in June). With the very little money thing, it would be awesome if it was a public school. We're willing to not live in Berekely if it means a good school for my son. I found Tildon in Oakland, but it looks like you have to enroll your child in February or March of this year. Yikes! We won't even know if we're moving to Berkeley until April (hubby is keeping fingers crossed for Stanford and Yale). Does anyone know of any other preschools that are really good? Anybody have any advice? We would both love to live in the Berkeley area because it such a great school, but if it's not going to work for our family then we need to plan to move elsewhere. Thanks so much!!
Additionally, if you need respite care, you can get him evaluated at the Regional Center of the East Bay, (510)383-1200. Good luck with the move. East bay mom
Michelle Garcia Winner, who is very well known in the field of High Functioning Autism, and often works with Carol Gray, has a clinic in San Jose (South Bay, closer to Sanford). She has also trained several therapists, clinics and school districts in the area. I know at least one of the speech therapist in the Berkeley Schools who has received training from both her and Emily and implements it into her therapy. www.socialthinking.com email@example.com Phone# 408.557.8595x303 for Carol Gray: www.futurehorizons-autism.com
Lots of clinics in the bay area specialize in social disorders. Several Berkeley parents with high functioning autistic children take their children to Communication Works in Berkeley at cwtherapy.com phone # 510.639.2929. They incorporate a lot of Michelle Winner's methods. Diann Grimm, from the Diagnostic Center-North, now specializes in spectrum children and comes to the school site if a request is made, free of charge, for an evaluation and recommendations for intervention at: www.dcn-cde.ca.gov
For the public pre school in Berkeley I would recommend Margaret Lindenstein as a speech therapist and Joni Miller as a teacher. Joni primarily takes low functioning spectrum children, but I know a couple high functioning spectrum children who have been in her class, because she does such a wonderful job. Joni used to be at Hopkins, but I think she moved to Franklin. Margaret is at Hopkins and maybe Franklin.I know they both work well together. Louise Fender is another wonderful preschool speech therapist in the Berkeley public preschools. Vicki Van Steenburg is the pre-school Full Inclusion directer. Insurance usually covers therapy before children are school age and possibly for the Berkeley Communication Works when they are school age. I am not sure how young Comm. Works takes clients. Several of the Berkeley therapist have been trained for spectrum children and a full inclusion program is offered as early as preschool. Currently the training of therapist is sporadic with therapist using a hodgepodge of methods. Most of the OTs and Adaptive P.E. teachers work with autistic children together with the speech therapist and Full Inclusion teachers. Soon the Berkeley district may receive SCERTS training for all therapist working with spectrum children. The Emerson Elementary speech, full inclusion, and OT staff are already implementing SCERTS, Michelle Winner and Dainn Grimm into therapy programs. anon
My 3 year old son was diagnosed with PDD/NOS when he was 2 years old by the East Bay Regional Center. His been getting services through them for about a year now. He currently gets in-home ABA, Speech and OT. He has made great progress and we have him in a mainstream pre-school with an aide 2 days a week.
Here is my concern and I need advice....
Because he is turning 3 in December, the Regional Center can't continue the services and we now have to go through the school district. It's the San Ramon School District. We had our first IEP meeting on Tuesday and we ran out of time. There was just so many questions I had. We have to schedule another meeting. I am very concerened because what they are recommending for my son is Special-Ed classes, the CEIA Center and their services through the district.
Has anyone gone through these services? How was your expereience? and what would you recommend? Has anyone had to fight with the school to keep the services they have?
I would love to talk to someone who has gone through this because I'm on information overload and have so much information and not sure what to do. I just know that the ''appropiate'' services for my son should be what he is getting now. I know my son the best.
Any advice or input would be greatly apprciated. Nilesh
The biggest shock/adjustments families have to make when transitioning out of Regional Center Early Intervention Services is the change in services. Some families supplement the District services by paying privately for other services. If you have someone from your ABA program that can attend your IEP that would be great or if you have an advocate. You can call DREDF or CASE or your Regional Center Case Manager for advocate information. anolther thing you should get is the book, ''A parents guide to an IEP.'' You can get it through Nolo Press in Berkeley. Good luck. anonymous
My son, diagnosed with PDD-NOS, will be three at the end of this month. He's been in an Early Intervention program (Small Voices) for most of the last year, and now we're ''transitioning'' him into the Berkeley USD (as I write this, he hasn't yet had his IEP). I'm confused by our options, I'm concerned about doing the right thing, I need somebody to talk to! Are there any parents out there who have been where I am and can talk to me? Jill
It was a very structured program, which helped these kids learn and perform. The teacher we had there was wonderful and it really helped get my son on the path to learning. He had a hard time with staying on task etc. but did pretty well.
If you have a diagnosis for your child, you have presumably seen a professional. Ask him/her what kind of preschool setting would be best, and then ask the school (in advance of your IEP) for permission to visit any preschools that might apply.
I'd also look in the archives here to see if any of the private preschools seems appropriate. I'd also go visit Linda Beech school in Piedmont to see the kind of program they run.
Looking at a lot of options and seeing what kind of kids are in each setting, and whether they seem attentive and happy, will help.
If you would like general help on your IEP, there is a great book: Lawrence Siegel's ''The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child'' from Nolo Press. I used this to prepare for my 1st IEP and have found it a great, great reference guide.
You can also contact me directly if you want more suggestions, but for school district navigation advice it's better to hear from BUSD parents.
Good luck! Nancy
I checked on the website and there's no recent information on good childcare/preschool programs for a child with special needs. My son has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and we are hoping to find a preschool that can accomodate both he and his twin (normal functioning) sister. He's pretty mild, but his current preschool gives me the impression that he is still much more work than they are used to. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I have heard of a good school out in Danville, but since we live and work in El Cerrito it's just not feasable to do such a commute daily. Many thanks, -Susan
There is a preschool attached to Castro Elementary School on Donal St. in El Cerrito that may be just what you are looking for. The preschool does ''reverse mainstreaming,'' meaning most of the children have special needs but the group includes non-special needs kids as well. The teachers I met there last year were incredibly warm and loving had wonderful relationships with all of the children. You can probably reach them through the West Contra Costa County Unified School District. Good Luck!
Our (almost) three year old was just diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. She is very verbal and the diagnosis may be changed to Asperger's as she grows older. Our IEP is coming up soon and we are looking into various preschool options. We are uncertain as to whether she would be best suited in a 5 day per week special day class or in some combination of ''typical'' community preschool combined with special services for spectrum disorder. Our child is very high functioning and we're not sure she'd be best served in a school district day classroom that also serves children with more severe disabilities. In addition, we are investigating various schools and services for preschoolers on the spectrum. Recommendations from parents who have been through this would be much appreciated. Concerned Parent
You didn't say which school district you were in, but if its Oakland, you should look into one of the classrooms at Tilden School. This is a small special education public school for preschool/kindergarten, and has classes for a variety of non- severely handicapped disorders such as Asperger's, autism, language, deaf/hard of hearing and more. (My son attends there in one of the communicative handicapped kindergarten classes.)
If you happen to be in the Piedmont School District, the Asperger's expert teacher who used to teach at Tilden is now teaching at a school there. Her name is Patti Stevenson.
If you are in neither of these districts and your district is not offering an appropriate placement, you could perhaps get an inter-district transfer. Under the law you are entitiled to a ''free and APPROPRIATE education'' for your child. If the classroom being offered to you has a mixture of children with disabilities ranging from mild to severe, that is not an appropriate placement for your child. If you need any further information, I would be happy to direct you to some parents who could better answer your questions. Charlotte
What is your recent experience with non-public schools in this area? (I understand the school situations can change dramatically as the staff changes.) So far, we are researching Conye Academy at Lincoln, James Baldwin Academy at Seneca, Spectrum Schools in Hayward for 5th grade, and Phillips Academy for 6th. Our child is a highly-verbal extrovert on the autism spectrum (Asperger's) with PTSD, anxiety and sensory processing issues all of which point to and result in emotional dysregulation and outbursts if not in the right environment. Are there other schools we should be checking out? The district says they can only pay for non-public schools, not private (and we can't afford it ourselves). Any guidance is much appreciated. Confused Parent
Get a free consult w/a lawyer. We found a great one on BPN. The school district's primary goal is to keep costs down.
Check out Star Academy in San Rafael. http://www.staracademy.org/
At least half of Star's students are publicly funded and the school has a fleet of vans to transport the kids.
Knowledge is power! Anon
We are moving to the Bay Area due to a job relocation to San Francisco. We have two diagnosed 7 year olds (yes twins) both on the Autism spectrum. What school districts should we be looking to move into? Shannon
I have a 6 year old daughter that recently began first grade at a new, expensive, private school that we love in many respects. The problem is that there is a boy that is clearly autistic or on the spectrum in her class. I think his autism is mild. Her class only has 9 students and this boy was previously in a preschool run by our school's director so the director has known him for a few years and I suspect that is why he made it through the typical private school screening process. The boy is bothering my daughter by talking to her and touching her arm or schoolwork papers/pencils during class. He also constantly interrupts her, the teacher and the other students and talks about completely unrelated topics during class. This really bothers my daughter and she says it hurts her ability to focus. The teacher has already moved the desks around once, I suspect to move the autistic boy away from 2 other boys that were probably encouraging his behavior, and he is now next to my daughter. I intend to ask the teacher to move him away from daughter but am unsure what else to do. I don't think it is a problem for my child to be in class with children that may have some learning/behavioral issues or disabilities since she needs to learn how to relate and form friendships with people that aren't exactly like her. But if that child is impeding my child's ability to learn, then it is a problem. Particularly since I am paying a HUGE amount of money that I can barely afford in order to send my child to a private school because I thought it would give her the best possible learning environment. But since she is in private school, I can certainly pay tuition elsewhere if I don't feel this is the best school for my kid. I could ask to move her to the other first grade classroom but this would bother my daughter since she has already made some friends in the current class. I could just stick it out and send her to another school next year. Could those of you that may have neurotypical children in a class with autistic children give me your opinion on how you would proceed under these conditions?
By the way, I am very aware that parents of autistic children will tell me, rightly, that it is in the best interests of autistic children to mainstream their education with normal kids. I have no doubt that this is a great environment for the autistic boy. I am not sure what is the most politically correct way to ask this question but would like other's opinion to make a decision. I am trying to figure out if this is the best learning environment for my daughter. I greatly appreciate any insight!
If the problem appears severe enough, a possible solution could be an classroom aide for the boy. I've heard that public schools are required to provide one if the evaluation shows that's needed, not sure if private schools are subject to the same requirements. I'd mention the possible need for an aide - at least that's a constructive solution that would keep the boy in the classroom while removing distraction for other kids.
Finally, I seem to remember my own 1st grade... we had at least a dozen boys pulling the girls' hair, throwing pencils, making crazy faces etc. They weren't all autistic - just boys. However that was a blue-collar neighborhood public school, and I realize you chose private to have a different learning environment. Keep perspective though; even if you don't manage to get exactly what you want from your daughter's school, or if it takes most of this school year to make the change, she will come out ok. Good luck!
Why do you assume that your daughter's classmate only got in to the school because his family knew the director? Do you think that ''autistic'' is the only way to describe him? Perhaps he was admitted to the school because he is bright, or funny, or creative? Private schools ALL say how much they value diversity. Sounds like your school is putting their money where their mouth is by valuing neurodiversity. Good for them.
Perhaps the schools high price tag pays for low class sizes and quality instruction, not keeping the ''riff-raff'' out.
The school year has just begun--how about giving everyone--the boy, your daughter, the teacher--some time to adjust and get to know each other? Mom of riff-raff
Now, one difference from the situation you describe is that the autistic kids have a classroom aide and they also spend part of their time in a separate classroom focusing on behavioral learning with the aides. This helps things run smoothly, takes pressure off the classroom teachers, and minimizes the effect of disruption on the other kids. My daughter's classes are much bigger than your child's (+/- 26 kids) but it sounds like the mainstreaming is much easier because of the dedicated aides. I remember in first grade the aide gave a great presentation about autism, and my daughter learned a lot. Overall, it has been a totally positive experience. Now, my son has just started kindergarten and I noticed that one of his new classmates has Downs Syndrome, and I was happy to see it, not for the other child's sake in particular -- I don't even know him -- but for my son's. Familiarity breeds understanding; distance breeds fear and contempt. I'd like my son to be academically accomplished, of course, but even more important to me is that he grow into a tolerant, broad-minded, good-hearted person who can engage with the world in a positive way. Anon
It seems totally appropriate to me to ask the teacher to move your daughter away from any student who is regularly creating a distraction for her.
I don't think it is appropriate for you to refer to having a boy on the autistic spectrum in our daughter's classroom as a ''problem'' or to suggest that the school's screening process is a problem. They accepted a child they knew well based on their admissions values. They also are likely working with the boy and his family to help him not disrupt the classroom. If you don't trust the school's process to create a learning environment that you want for your daughter, I think you should look for a new school that fits your ideal scenario. Jean
In kindergarten and first grade, my girl was in a 10-child class class at an expensive private school that we could barely afford. There were no A.S. students in the school - they had all been screened out.
Still, my daughter struggled socially in that small pool of kids. From a learning standpoint, ten is a good number for the teacher to be able to stay on top of everyone's academic progress. But if the mix of kids is not right, it can torpedo a little girl's progress. It seems that the way girls learn, the social setting has to work for them. The fact that your girl has friends in the class is a major blessing.
IMHO the school is not managing the A.S. boy correctly. I'd bet that the teacher in your expensive private school is not being paid very well, and has no special education training. Ideally the boy would have an aide who is a charismatic grad student in developmental psychology. That person should sit beside the boy in class and give him subtle but clear signals when he is off task or annoying other kids.
While each A.S. kid is unique, there are some predictable different flavors. The writers of the DSM are in complete chaos about diagnostic labels, but I am going to stick to the classics: high functioning autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Nonverbal Learning Disorder.
In my experience with lots of these kids, the true Aspies tend to be abrasive and don't care whether other people like them or not. It is unlikely that your daughter's classmate is in that category, or he would not have been enrolled.
If he is an NLD person like my son, he may be clueless about social cues and it is a necessary part of his education and social skills building that he be told gently, clearly, and immediately when he is being inappropriate and rewarded when he improves with behaviors like the off-topic conversation, interrupting others, and not keeping his hands to himself.
It is a lot of work for the school or the aide to provide this kind of support, but this is what it takes for these kids to succeed. ''Applied Behavior Analysis'' is the gold standard. I've seen the wonderful results.
The NLD kids I know are very sweet and eager to please, and their feelings are deeply hurt when the seating is rearranged to put them in Siberia.
I strongly suggest that you speak to the school administrator who is mentoring this boy -- in the spirit of brainstorming a way to help him AND your daughter.
The way to NOT approach it would be to organize a lynch mob with the other parents and get the boy kicked out of school. What kind of lesson would this be for your daughter, if that is the way she sees adults treating children who are ''different'' or have clear disabilities? Amelia
From my experience, your daughter could easily be saying the kinds of things you listed about a first-grader who is neurotypical -- "he's constantly talking to me during class, he's touching my arm, my pencils, my homework, he interrupts everyone all the time, he talks about unrelated topics." All of that behavior -- and a lot worse -- was exhibited by "normal" kids at my son's (very expensive) private school not only in first grade, but well beyond. In fact, I deal with adult versions of it in my workplace, come to think of it.
I don't want to sound harsh, but to me it sounds like it might be more your daughter's problem than anything else. Which isn't to say you should do nothing, but I think you might want to shift your focus on how to equip her to deal with the kinds of distractions you are describing, rather than attempt to create an environment for her where those distractions don't happen. Even if you homeschool her, she might find that you are annoying (my son sure does)! Good luck ------------------------------------------ If you really think it is good for your daughter to get to know and learn to deal with all types of children, you know the answer to your own question. Your daughter stays in the class and learns to deal with it. Tell the teacher you want help creating the best learning experience for your child and then trust the teacher to do so.
I highly doubt that your daughter is so focused on her learning environment but rather I think it is you that is so upset (since you are spending SOOOO much money on this prestigious school.)I have been around the block and have raised two children to adulthood so I feel very strongly about saying this---you need to let go a bit. You will not be able to control your daughter's environment forever. It is best that you learn this now. Even if you choose to home school her, she is still going to go over to friends' houses and be exposed to all sorts of things and ALL of these things will help prepare her for life. please don't be another helicopter parent---I fear the next generation of children will be totally fragile, self important adults...
When you posted your note, it was probably the first week of school. The students are still settling in and learning new routines and expectations. All children are trying to feel settled in the classroom and make new friends in class and during playtime. All children have the impulse to be included, be a part of the excitement and play with someone. Lots of children feel nervous, anxious, confused and a little excited to be in a new social setting. It's normal. Kids on the spectrum feel this too.
For now, rather than looking at this as a boy trying to bother and annoy your daughter, look at it this way. In his own way - because he's still learning how to make friends and isn't getting it right yet - he's trying to figure out how to say hello, get a smile or get an interaction. He might not know yet how to say, 'what's your name, do you want to play on the playground later?' But he may have the same impulse to be included in what's going on around him. Rather than poking he needs to learn, or his teacher needs to facilitate him saying, 'Hi Clair'. The other child has the opportunity to give him guidance with words - 'I don't like it when you touch my paper, it distracts me'. He may not know; he's just experimenting with ways to interact. If your daughter gives him kind and concrete feedback, he'll better understand and she'll learn how to express herself in a really positive way. Hopefully the teacher will reward them both for interacting well (though that we can't control).
I'd try not to characterize him in your mind as a 'problem' or as a barrier to your daughter's learning. You'll have a hard time seeing the positives or teaching your daughter to be patient with one of her classmates. Try to imagine that he is a lovely child who misses social cues and doesn't notice your daughter scowling at him. He might need confusing, new classroom situations explained a bit more. He wants to make a friend and be part of the fun, but this doesn't come easily and some times he gets it wrong. Sometimes people think he's trying to bother them when he's really trying to say 'hi' in his own way. It's a lot of changes to navigate for a 6-year old - for both your daughter and this little boy. She may be able to teach him a thing or two, but that's not her job, of course.
The world is an imperfect, confusing place. Having kindness, patience and an open heart to see the potential in each other is perhaps the biggest challenge that we ALL face. Perhaps your daughter will have the chance to begin that life-long lesson today, but she'll need your guidance to see his potential. With kindness and with hope, A Mother
Hi, does anyone know of any schools in the Bay Area for children wtih Aspergers Syndrome? Thank You. anon
I am looking for advice from families of kids with Aspergers, PDD, etc. who have moved from mainstream schools to private schools that specifically support their kid's special needs (e.g. Springstone, Orion Academy). What convinced you to make the move? What have been the pros/cons? If you were able to get the public schools to help pay for the special school, what did you do to make that happen? Will you go back to mainstreaming?
My child has some characteristics of Aspergers, and has been successful in public school (Berkeley) until 3rd grade. Now he's very negative about school, feels overwhelmed even though he does well grade-wise, expresses high anxiety and little optimism about school. We believe this is due to ASD-related anxiety exacerbated by the school setting.
The well-intentioned but overloaded staff has tried to be helpful, but to little effect. I try to help them, but frankly I'm stumped. I'd sure appreciate hearing from folks who've found themselves in this kind of a situation and either improved the mainstream school situation or made a change. Thank you so much! Mom of awesome ASD kid
The pros of a private school include having a specialized team that knows how to teach your kid, in this case one who has Asperger's. I credit CLC with my kid's success in making it through school and getting a high school diploma. The cons include having to work with the team that's available. My son disliked his teacher at CLC for four years, but we had no choice because he was the only one who taught the advanced classes. I also couldn't volunteer at the private school because of privacy issues and that is something I really missed. As you can tell, I am a big advocate for private schools because my son needed a lot of specialized help. In 4th grade, I saw the general ed teacher overwhelmed by the needs of all her regular students and the special ed team untrained in my son's particular disability. In my son's case, I had to move him and I was fortunate enough to have a lawyer who got his private schooling paid for. Nancy
Now, having said all this, I have to add that after some concerns about appropriate aide selection about 3 years ago, we did bring our attorney to one IEP meeting and a BUSD attorney also attended the meeting. The problem was quickly and respectfully solved. It could be possible that having an attorney at even just that one meeting gave us a bit of a ''reputation.'' All I know is that we've had no need of legal representation before or since then.
I know the pain and frustration of seeing your child's needs be misunderstood and unmet. And I know how exhausting and infuriating it is to be a perpetual ''parent from hell.'' My son is my greatest blessing and my greatest challenge. The ASDC program has been one place where I felt tremendously supported in meeting that challenge and where I feel really truly good about getting his needs met. It may not be the right place for every ASD child, but it has been a god-send for mine and I felt like I needed to speak up and say so. Best of luck to you and your family.
I was wondering if there are any state guidelines that are used for criteria in getting a full time aide when my son is mainstreamed next year in first grade. The school district we are in (pleasanton) stated that he will need to meet some criteria in order to qualify for a full time aide when he is fully included in 1st grade. However, I can't seem to find any literature on this. thanks in advance. LF
Also, having an advocate is extremely useful. Feel free to contact me directly if you have more questions. Good luck! Jill
My son is high functioning autistic and will be entering 1st grade in the fall. We are considering a move to Oakland or Berkeley from the South Bay and are looking for good full inclusion programs in either public or private elementary schools (we'd prefer public). Our son currently attends regular, public kindergarten and has a classroom aide for support. We would love to hear about any experiences with and recommendations for full inclusion programs in any school in the area. Your advice, experience and recommendations are much appreciated!
Hi - My son 2 years 7 months old has been diagnosed with ASD, specifically PDD- NOS. He is in a private preschool three mornings a week and thriving there. We have an inhome ABA program and other services being funded thru the regional center right now, but our transition to the berkeley school district is coming up and I wanted to find out from other parents of special needs kids, about staying in private preschool versus transitioning to the public special ed preschools? Also did you continue to receive ABA program, speech, OT after this transition? Any advice? Thanks. J
Wondering which school district would be better for a child with
autism and visual impairment...Orinda or Berkeley
parent of special needs boy.
parent of four year old boy
This doesn't exactly answer your question, but have you looked into Lafayette? My information is a few years old, but I've heard from parents and providers that the Lafayette district was much better than average for students in special ed and also good in general. Orinda parents I talked with were enthusiastic about their schools for their typically-developing kids but warned me that it was not as good for special needs students. We found it a complex decision, once you factor in other things such as the availability of independent providers, the Regional Center, etc. A lot depends on the individuals who are working in a district at a given time, so things change. wishing you the best
Any advice on how to find a person who is good with special- needs kids to engage my 9-year-old son in various activities after school up to 4 days/week? Could include help with homework, have friends over, supervise minor home chores, go to park, kick a soccer ball, go to library or other short outings, etc. Prefer someone with background or training with kids who have autistic-spectrum disorders. My son is high-functioning (PDD- NOS) and in a regular-ed classroom, but he does need extra help negotiating the world. I have posted to the BPN Childcare Digest but feel it is likely I will need additional sources to find this special care- giver. If you can suggest any ideas on where/how to go about this, please let me know. Thanks. Beth
Our 8th grade son with recently diagnosed mild Aspergers is set to attend Oakland Tech this fall, but several teachers have recently expressed concern that it might not be the best fit. Yes, rather late in the year for this!! And now I'm panicked that we need to have an alternative lined up. There is absolutely NO WAY we can afford any private school (we aren't poor enough for financial aid and no way rich enough), so I'm hoping there's a charter school SOMEWHERE in the Bay Area that would work. Any suggestions, recommendations or warnings much appreciated!! Panicked and Stressed
ACLC is a creative, inclusive and dynamic learning community. It provides an innovative, hands-on, research-based curriculum that emphasizes student engagement in a democratic society through leadership, self-direction and personal exploration. Learners participate in unique educational experiences including internships, community projects, and college classes at the nearby College of Alameda.
ACLC has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the Best High Schools in the United States for the past four years. It is consistently ranked as one of Alameda's top middle and high schools. The ACLC curriculum meets all University of California-approved A - G college prep courses, and over 90% of ACLC graduates are admitted to four year universities. Parent of 12th-grader and 8th-grader
Maybe his teachers were afraid it would be too big and scary but it really isn't. Starting in 10th grade he can be in one of the academies which is an amazing opportunity to get a headstart on a career in either Biotech, Health, Engineering, Fashion Design, and Computers. It is a great opportunity that the Charter schools don't offer.
Our teen has Aspergers and is having a hard time in the public school system. He has been in the Independent Study program at BHS for a year because the social scene at BHS was too much, but IS is not really meeting his needs. He is becoming isolated and is not making any new friends. We cannot afford placement at CLC or Bayhill, and are ideally looking for a home school/charter school arrangement, or even a private tutor, that will meet his needs and also qualify as full-time high school education. Any advice or ideas are appreciated. -Berkeley mom
We are looking for a high school for our daughter (entering 9th grade in the fall) who is intellegent but also on the autism spectrum-- PDD-NOS or Asperger's. In the right environment, she does relatively well in school, but has low self-esteem and also dyslexia which causes struggles with reading (about one grade level below normal). Thus, a highly competitive, college-track-only school might not be a good fit. We're looking for those who have actual experience with the schools in our hunt, right now: Star Academy, Orion, Orinda Academy, CLC (Alameda), Milennium HS, Bay Hill, others we may not know about. We've seen the past BPN posts on this, looking to update our info, thanks.
Because the school is so small, my daughter was able to form friendships with students in all the grades, not just hers, which I think provided her with social interactions she wouldn't have had in a bigger school.
My daughter did not have learning disabilities per se, though she had trouble with executive function. Bentley was very helpful in that regard, because they taught organization techniques to the students and there was a lot of one-on-one teacher/student interaction.
We have not had personal experience with Orinda Academy, but two of my friends sent their children there and quickly removed them when they found that the school did not seem to know that their kids were leaving campus during the day and getting into all kinds of trouble.
Good luck with your school search. In hindsight I will say, don't worry about your daughter being in the perfect school. As long as she can get the attention she needs from the teachers and can meet some friendly kids, she will be OK.
Does ANYONE know of some really good schools for teens with SID and/or high functioning autism, in sf bay area, esp east bay, and near Richmond would be greatest! Need to accept substance abuse background and accredited would be best. Son already 16.5-I'm desperate! THKS!-Amy amy
As a furtherance to socialization, your teen would also have many opportunities to become involved in after school activities in performance arts and sports. My son participates in the Cross Country Team. Our daughter performed in a play and a musical in her Freshman year. The school's website is SJND.org. Google SJND Diversity to find the pdf of their 2008 Annual Report titled ''Embracing Diversity''. Feel free to contact me with questions. Barbara
My 15Y son might have mild asperger, will be tested this month. He is depressed and socially anxious. He is extremely difficulty going to school. In the past, I have tried to enroll him to a private school for independent learners. He responded well for the 1st semester, but lately he even feels anxious and reluctant going to that school. Considering there is not much social activity and help when he is absent,I enroll him to the public school under IEP. There are 8~9 students in that class with 4-6 therapist/teacher. He is not willing to go there either and feel terrified and anxious. We do work with doctors on his issues and he takes meds too. This public school is suggesting home hospital which teachers come to our home. I don't like this idea, since this just make my son feels more isolate at home. But I don't know other approach.
He is very bright, and had good grade all along. But now he doesn't have motivation. All he does is to sleep until noon, watch TV at night, no exercise at all. He does participate family activity even though reluctantly. Someone recommended me therapeutic boarding school. I would like to hear your experience to see whether I should plan for this. Also if you have any idea how I can request school service to deal with school avoidance, please let me know. worried mom
However, the 4 local options are: Springstone School in Lafayette, Bay Hill High School in Oakland, Holden High School in Orinda and Orion Academy in Moraga.
You may be aware of all these places, however, please feel free to contact me directly if you have any more questions.
Wishing you the best. I know EXACTLY what you are going through. anon
There are also directories of boarding schools. You can find something that sounds interesting and then research on your own. Some of the families at my child's boarding school found it that way. Schools will provide references. I got names of several current and past parents and called them all. Good luck. anon
When we told him he'd be schooled at home as long as it took to find the right school -- home study wasn't a permanent solution -- he became more cooperative and optimistic than we expected. Being in a supportive, structured residential situation was a big relief to him. Success, academic and social, turned things around. It was a very hard decision to send him away, but our relationship became so much better! But it was very expensive, and it's nearly impossible to get funding through a school district. Another problem with going away, is that we didn't have continued support when he returned -- but he left because we didn't have it here to begin with.
My information is a few years old, but have you looked into Glenholme School in CT or The Learning Clinic in Brooklyn, CT or Brehm School in Carbondale, IL? Those admissions directors are well connected, and you can ask them if there are other schools you should consider. wishing you the best
I'm looking for information about Orion Academy and Orinda Academy. My daughter has very mild aspergers, and we are worried about her placement at a high school for typical kids. We want her to have a good social environment during the high school years where she can make friends. Can anyone tell me if Orion Academy students have mild aspergers, or are the students more severely affected? Also, we have been told Orinda Academy would be a good place for her, but I'm worried that the students don't have special needs, and she won't have friends there. Please advise if you have experience with either school. Thanks. aspie mom
As for your daughter's mild asberger's, my advice would be to go to the school and ask for an interview with the head of the school, Ron Graydon. He is an extremely principled person who is not going to tell you that the school is right for her unless it is. I feel absolutely sure about this. He is very experienced and wise in terms of not only educational issues, but interpersonal dynamics amongst teens. P
1) knowing your child and what they need for both support and appropriate challenges (and helping them recognize and advocate what they need for themselves)
2) recognizing that our understanding of LD/ADHD/AS/ASD is primitive; that diagnostic labels are imprecise shorthands for complex individuals who have a wide spectrum of specific difficulties and strengths, which also vary from quite mild (and occasionally overdiagnosed) to profoundly challenging.
So our child with LD/AS feels great about doing well academically at Berkeley High School. He has done well in part because of the study skills and routines he learned at his private elementary and middle school; in part, he has been in one of the small school programs and has had excellent responsive teachers--as good as most of those we have had in private schools. BHS has been accepting and even welcoming of his social eccentricities.
We expect we will be utilizing tutoring help in the future, and he has done pragmatic speech groups for social skills work. We looked at Orinda Academy, which I think would have been excellent for him, but he felt he did not need that level of structure--so far, he seems to be correct. But for other teens, Bayhill or Orion may be the environment in which they can thrive and learn.
Our experience of private schools has been positive--but far from ''real world''--of course there are great kids, families, opportunities--but the one overwhelming impression that sticks with me is--too much money and consumerism. Our older son felt underprivileged (FAR from true) when he wasn't spending spring break in Barbados. Of course your family is the primary determinant of culture--but I was troubled by the peer messages... even more true in private colleges--the amount of spending money many kids have is striking. And in retrospect, I'm sure our older son would have done just fine in public high school with good AP classes. learning as we go....
I am moving back to the Bay Area and need to find the very best high school in the area for my 16 year old son who has mild autism and needs some support. Any suggestions as to which district/high school is best? Thanks so much.
We are looking for other parents of children with high functioning autism, Asperger's syndrome or similar non-verbal learning disorders. We are having great trouble finding an appropriate school for our boy. He is 15 and very very bright, but has sensory integration problems and a list of other things that make it impossible for him to survive (let alone thrive) in the public schools. This is a common problem among high functioning kids on the spectrum. Many can't function in the large, noisy, ''full inclusion'' setting for behavioural, language processing, and sensory reasons, but the smaller, ''special day classes'' are geared to students on a cognitively low level and so are equally pointless. There is supposed to be an epidemic of autism out there, and we KNOW there must be other families stuck in similar situations. Where are the good schools for these remarkable young people? They can grow up to make enormous contributions to society, and to make their way in the world. But they need the right educational setting, social skills training, and lots of attention. Can't we get together and form a school, or help the school districts form an appropriate school? At least we could share ideas. Please write to me. Tobie
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