Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Decisions Decisions........where is my crystal ball???

Big decisions need to be made at our house these days. First we need to decide which of the family pictures to order. Check them out Here and use the password RexRiley to view. I could use some input. I love #5 of Riley. I also really like the shot of the boys at the top of the slide. I’m having hard time figuring out what sizes and so on. I think my inability to choose is because I have too many important choices to be making and my brain is on overload.
Riley has been doing great at school but he has certainly been pushing the teacher. We have a notebook that goes back and forth in Riley’s back pack each day. The teacher keeps us up on what Riley is working on, his behavior and any other questions we have.
Here are some of the highlights:
1/26 Riley was functioning on “cute” today.
1/28 He did get a bit sassy towards the end of the day, but then he realized he would miss recess if he did not get his work done (coat on and such)

2/4 He was on his “A” game for trying to be cute and get out of work with our sub. He tried and it didn’t work.

2/24 Riley was full of himself today. He was trying to get out of work and used every trick in his tool box to escape. It didn’t work. He also learned he will not get to have peers do things for him. He had to re do it for himself. He is very unimpressed with my expectations and persistence.

2/25 He tries “cute” on every grown up! It works on new people (subs) and I have to teach the grown ups to have big boy expectations for him. Riley had a good day. We painted and used scissors work on left to right orientation and activities.

3/16 My friend Riley actually met our timeout chair today. He was pushing all boundaries. He walked on puzzle boxes repeatedly. He threw toys and “tools” He colored on himself rather than his white board and he ran away from us (in the room) when asked to move to a new center. At about 2 he realized I wasn’t going to let him continue and he settled down. He did much better when he realized recess was on the line.

4/5 Riley was great coming back to school. He quickly settled into the routine.

4/12 Riley had a great day! He had PT and we played tball in gross motor group. He should be a tired kiddo. He is becoming more verbal in telling other kiddos what they should be doing  The great cooperative mood continued.

So now that you are getting a good chuckle picturing Hurricane Riley bossing his friends around and testing every adult that enters his preschool, here is the question at hand. Riley is currently attending a preschool class with 15 kids all with disabilities. There is one teacher, two aides and then the therapists that are each there one day a week. We have the opportunity to move him to an inclusive preschool setting. He would be included in an ECAP class. This is an income based program in the public schools to help get low income kids ready to attend kindergarten in some areas it is called Headstart. They allow up to six developmentally delayed kids like Ri to attend and created an integrated class. There are 18 kids with 1 teacher and two aides. There are still therapists but a bit less because fewer kids qualify for services.  
I am totally torn on what is the best move. I love his teacher this year. She totally has his number and doesn’t let him slide or play the cute card. She holds him accountable and her expectations of him are high. He has the ability to make choices during free play but overall his time is structured. If he changes classes the ECAP room has to spend time eating breakfast and lunch. They have to eat twice because it is low income. They also have an extended free play time that is less structured. So during a class that runs for 2 ½ hours he has to eat twice and spend 45 minutes in free play. That is a huge portion of his day. I know he would love the big kids and would learn so much from having typical kids as role models but he isn’t lacking social skills. Is it more important to have more structure to help get him ready for kindergarten? Our goal for Riley is for him to be part of a typical kindergarten class. He does have two full years of preschool left before kindergarten so we could stay in the class he is in for one more year and then move to the integrated room the following year.

There are so many options that are causing me great anxiety.  I want to put Riley in the absolute best situation but how in the world will I ever know what that is.  There are so many pros and cons to each.  Please share any words of wisdoms.  I am open to all thoughts and suggestions. 

What a good student he is!


  1. That's a tough one, I totally understand how you feel since Keira just started in the Special Ed room 2 weeks ago (she's only go on Thursday's and E/O Friday), because she is continuing at the local Daycare/preschool center. It sounds like they do a fabulous job with him.. boy he must be VERY cute! to be able to coax teachers like that, ha! Sounds like he would thrive in either classroom, but my opinion would be stay in the one you're in now. good luck!

  2. I like all of the pictures...how will you choose? You must get one of you and your hubby!!! That is a tough decision about pre-school...go with your gut!!

  3. Those pictures are great!! Here are my favourites: 3,5,15,21,23,25,27,31,45,51. I don't think I can narrow that down. They are all so good!

    I don't envy the decision you have to make about where Riley should go to preschool. It is so hard to know what would be the best. My initial thought after reading both scenarios would be to keep him in the school he is at now for 1 year and then look at transitioning him to the other school for his last year of preschool.

    Next year Joel will be going to a preschool that is inclusive (in the community) 2 mornings a week (with an aide just for him) and a preschool that will have 6 other children with Ds (with 1 teacher and 2 aides) 3 mornings a week.

    I think it is important to get Joel used to being with other typical kids his age but at the same time I want him to succeed and I agree with you that structure and a good teacher is SO important.

    Good luck making your decision!

  4. You have to read the West Plains section of the Spokesman. The front of it has a picture of a boy with Downs who is very articulate. Sounds just like Rye when he was growing up. Those parents might be a great resource for answering your questions about school. He graduated from Lewis and Clark. Gramma

  5. That teacher sounds amazing, and it sounds like she really "gets" Riley! That's a tough decision, but I like the structure that prepares for kindergarten. After having children both in school and homeschooled, I can say the structure, not the academics, seem to be the biggest adjustment when a child goes to a classroom...at least for my children...

    When it comes time to decide, you will know what is best!


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