Monday, January 24, 2011

I want what's in the middle!

Friday morning (before Kathrin left) Tom and I visited two different schools and classes that Natalie could attend next year for kindergarten.  We left more confused than ever, because the gulf between the two options, "typical K" or "mild- to moderate-K" is so vast.  Typical K means one teacher with up to 33 children, no assistants.  One adult, 33 kids.  The curriculum would definitely be advanced for Natalie, but I think she is capable of learning it.  However, she would get lost in a classroom with only one adult.

The mild- to moderate-K means one teacher with up to 33 children, with at least two assistants, and more if there are more than 20 children in the class.  Natalie won't get lost.  BUT the curriculum is not moving her's similar to what she's currently doing in preschool.  The teacher said, "Most of these kids are still learning the sounds of their letters."  Natalie knows the sounds of ALL her letters and is reading and spelling short words.

So we want something between the two, but that doesn't exist.

Natalie's current teacher said these are the two classes we should see, because Natalie is somewhere between those two.  The challenge will now be to decide which one (with modifications) will provide Natalie with the environment where she'll learn the most.  I asked the district rep about Natalie getting a 1-on-1 aide in the typical K, and he said that 1-on-1s are only provided for behavior issues, in mild- to moderate- classes.  Hmmm.

Or, if she were in the mild- to moderate-K, she could be pulled out to mainstream in a typical K class (right next to the mild- to moderate-K) for parts of the day.  I think we need to go back to that school and see that typical K class and how mainstreaming might work (we saw a typical K class in the school near our home).

It's a hard decision, and it has consumed my thoughts since Friday (like when I'm trying to fall asleep in the middle of the night after getting up with a teething baby).  But at least I'm not thinking about how a pineal mass would be removed if it ever had to be, at 1 a.m.! 

Thanks for your prayers for wisdom.  We don't make the decision right away...we'll probably have a transitional IEP in April, so that gives us a few more months to think and watch and observe.


Kristi said...

I'm sure this is weighing very heavily on your mind. I think you need to research more about what they said about not being able to provide a 1on1 aide in the typical K. For some reason that doesn't sound right to me. Only providing if there is a behavior problem? HMM I might question that.

Cindy said...

You noticed that too, Kristi! I'm definitely leaning in that direction.

Jacqui said...

What a tough situation!!!! I don't know much about the options in the USA, but one would think that a plan could be made for Natalie. She has so much potential. Praying for an open door for you.

Myssie said...

It seems to me that neither one would be provide an "appropriate" education unless there is a 1 on 1 aide in the typical K. I would fight like mad for an aide. Just my 2 cents.