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Friday, May 20, 2011

School Placement for Roxie

About 4 weeks ago we began discussing the possibility that Roxie may do better or just as well outside of her current school, Metro, which is a separate public school for children with severe special needs. Next week we are meeting with representatives from the EC office at CMS to find out if they agree that Roxie has progressed enough to go to a typical elementary school in the fall. She would be in a separate SAC room with only children with special needs and she would still receive services for PT, OT, and speech. But she would spend some amount of time every day among typically developing kids (during lunch, music, art, PE, recess, etc.). And she would relish that time! Roxie loves spending time with other kids, especially ones that can interact with her. Currently only one of the children in her class at Metro is able to interact playfully with Roxie. But we know from watching her at home that when her siblings or her cousins play with her she lights up. Unfortunately Roxie could not go to school with her sister, as there are no SAC rooms at this school. Not only that, but there are only a handful of schools with these SAC rooms for special needs kids and because of all the budget upheaval at CMS I am not even sure where these rooms will be located in the fall. We hope to hear in the next few weeks from CMS regarding their decision.

When I think of moving Roxie to another school I feel some excitement, but I also have many reservations.

Will there be enough staff in the SAC classroom (currently she is in a room with 5 kids and 3 teacher)?

Will the sensory issues she has experienced this year at school be any better at another school? (Currently some of the non-verbal kids in her class make noises throughout the day that make Roxie extremely upset. She often has to leave the room in tears. She experiences anxiety about going to school everyday because of this.)

Will the school be 30 minutes away and begin at 7:30? (Roxie sometimes isn't away until 7:00 because of sleep issues and she still requires total care in the morning to get ready for school. We make her breakfast, feed her, give her medicine, put her on the potty, dress her, and pack her lunch and back pack. So how can we get her out the door by 7 ?)

Will Roxie be successful in another school? (She is a tough nut to crack and requires dedicated and creative teachers and therapists to understand how she learns and is motivated.)

If a typical school doesn't work out for Roxie will she be able to get back into Metro? (I know that it is jam packed at the moment and CMS will quickly fill her spot if she leaves.)

If CMS does insist that Roxie remain at Metro we are going to do our best to request that she is moved into an Autistic class and hope that she will have an easier time with her sensory challenges in this setting.

As I talk with parents about moving Roxie or leaving her at Metro some are pro-integration and say that moving her to a typical school is definitely the best answer and other say that Roxie will never have her needs met outside of Metro. And some parents, like myself, are thankful that we do have options for these special kids. I just hope we make the right choice for our sweet Roxie as she moves to 3rd grade.