Three kids in three schools

We had Colin’s IEP meeting last week. They recommended developmental preschool, speech, and OT consult. Unfortunately, they will not allow his ABA therapist to attend the developmental preschool with him.

Without the ABA therapist being able to go with him and take him to the ABA school in the afternoon, this would have been our schedule:

  • Put Colin on the bus at 7:30 to get to developmental preschool, which starts at 8am
  • Put Noah on the bus at 7:45 to get to kindergarten, which starts at 8:15am
  • Take Zoe to preschool at 9am
  • Be home to get Colin off the bus around 11am
  • Hang out with Colin until time to take him to his ABA school at 12:30pm
  • Pick up Zoe from preschool at 2pm
  • Be home to get Noah off the bus at 2:45pm
  • Drive to Colin’s ABA school to pick him up at 3:30pm

It’s been a very emotional week trying to figure out the right thing to do. If we had a crystal ball (so we would know for sure the rigth thing to do) and a winning lottery ticket (so I could either quit my job or hire a nanny and driver), we would be set. Since we have neither, we had to make some tough choices.

We considered trying to make the schedule work for the developmental preschool and his ABA school, but in the end decided we could just not do it. It would be too much for me on the days I don’t work, and it would be too much for our moms on the days they help us. Plus, we really thought it would be too much for Colin. He would have too many transitions in his day – going to the developmental preschool, coming home, and then going to the ABA school.

We decided we needed to choose between the developmental preschool and the ABA school. My big fear in turning down the developmental preschool and the township’s services was that it will affect his future chance of services. Colin tests really well. He is such a charmer and an attention seeker. He does well when he is put in an evaluation room with five professionals who have all eyes on him. His scores from the actual evaluation came out mostly within the normal range. It is when he does not have that one-on-one attention (or in this case, five-on-one attention) that he exhibits behavior problems, etc. I had spoken with the director beforehand about this, and I really felt like they accommodated us by placing a heavier weight on parent input than they might usually have. We also had a list from Colin’s developmental pediatrician of his diagnoses (prenatal cocaine exposure, fetal alcohol syndrome, hyperactivity, pervasive developmental delay, impulse control disorder, aggression, etc) which helped qualify him under “Other Medical.” I am afraid that by turning down services now we will make them angry, and they will not be as accommodating next time.

Ultimately, however, we decided that we were more afraid of him losing the one-on-one ABA therapy. He has only been there three months, and he has already made such progress. Having him quit ABA was too scary.

After the first ABA school did not work out, we needed to check again with his current ABA school to make sure we were all on the same page. What if this school thought Colin would be OK without them in a few months? They’ve said before that they don’t see that happening, but we needed to be sure. Two days after his IEP meeting, we had a transition meeting at his current ABA school. We left relieved, and more confident we were making the right decision. They see him transitioning possibly in the 2012-2013 school year, but they stressed that it will be a mutual decision, and that we will plan the transition at least six months ahead of time.

In the meantime, we do think it is a good idea that Colin get some social time with “typically developing peers,” and his ABA school agrees. We talked to the preschool where Noah and Zoe have gone, and they are being wonderful. They will allow an ABA therapist to come in to the classroom and stay with Colin. He will go there on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am-Noon. On Monday, the ABA program manager went to tour the school, talk to the director, and to observe the classroom where Colin will be.  She thought it would be a good fit. Noah has already had the teachers Colin will have, and we like them very much.

Colin is old enough to be in the 3s class, but we initially thought we would put him in the Young 3s. After Christian and I discussed it some more though, and after we talked to the clinical director and program manager at the ABA school, we thought it might be better to put him in the 3s class since he will have support. This way he will be with same-age or older peers and will hopefully have better behavior and language models. I’m a little nervous because Zoe was able to write her name when she went into the 3s class (and Colin isn’t really close to being able to do that), but she was one of the older kids in the class. Again though, since he will have a therapist there to support him, we think this will be the best class for him.

So, this will be the schedule on Mondays and Tuesdays:

  • Put Noah on the bus somewhere between 7:30-7:45am
  • Take Zoe and Colin to preschool at 9am. The ABA therapist will be there to meet Colin.
  • The ABA therapist will take Colin to the ABA school at Noon.
  • We will pick Zoe up from preschool at 2pm.
  • We’ll get Noah off the bus at our house around 2:45pm.
  • We’ll head north to pick up Colin from his ABA school at 3:30pm.

Wednesday through Friday will be like this:

  • Put Noah on the bus somewhere between 7:30-7:45am
  • Take Colin to his ABA school at 8:30am.
  • Take Zoe to preschool at 9am.
  • Pick Zoe up from preschool at 2pm.
  • Get Noah off the bus at our house around 2:45pm.
  • Head north to pick up Colin from his ABA school at 3:30pm.

It’s still a lot, but it will be much more manageable than the developmental preschool/ ABA school combo.

Unfortunately, this three kids in three schools thing will continue at least another year after this. In 2012-2013, Colin will (hopefully) be in regular preschool, Zoe will be in kindergarten, and Noah will be in first grade. In our district, all of the kindergartners go to one elementary school. That’s not our “home” elementary school, so when Zoe goes to the kindergarten school next year, Noah will move to our “home” elementary school for first grade. The only advantage is that they will both ride the bus and the buses will come within a few minutes of each other.

Why did no one warn me that I would have to have a chauffeur’s license to be a mom?

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2 thoughts on “Three kids in three schools

  1. Here’s your solution. I take over the guest area in the basement, plus a modest salary with compensation to cover health insurance. You go back to work full time. I’m around the house during the day to help with the kids(minor chores, homework, chauffer etc..), thusly my evenings free to teach yoga. You win, I win, Christian wins and the kids get Uncle Charlie around all the time.

  2. Pingback: 2011 didn’t suck (or blow) | My Minivan Rocks!

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