Thursday, August 23, 2007

to integrate or not to integrate, that is the question

Actually, I probably will have Punkin in an integrated preschool room. I guess I had just always assumed that because of his behavioral needs that a self-contained room would be better. There are 18 kids in the integrated room (mostly typically developing kids ages 3-5) and only 10 in the self-contained (all special needs kids). And for the kid who only has about 5 kids in his room now, 18 seemed like a BIG jump. I know that the integrated rooms offer better peer role models for social skills and language development. It's just that the self-contained already use signs, pictures, and other modifications for their kids. They have the appropriately-leveled materials he needs. They already adapt the cirriculumn for reading and math. They have a better child-to-teacher ratio. And my Punkin, who has the play skills of MAYBE a one-year-old, cannot play next to a 3-year-old. And how can he do the same small groups as them? I guess there will be other kids who don't know their colors. But he can't even do a puzzle or a shape sorter or a ring stacker! So many mixed feelings. But I think what I have come to decide is that he can be in an integrated room provided the following: he goes to the self-contained room for center (play) time, the teacher and aides are committed to using signs and pictures, and he is provided with sensory breaks throughout the day. What do you think?
I am afraid to type because every time I do, he gets out of bed! It is too late for little Punkin's to be getting out of their beds. Some nights he puts himself to bed and other nights the mattress is like a giant spring that just keeps shooting him back into the living room.
Nothing else is new. I am wearing one of my new shirts, which is a little more revealing than I originally thought. Whoo-hoo! Actually not so much "whoo-hoo" and a little more "oh my." It's easy to be accidentally immodest when Little Man is so rambunctious.
And now, an elephant joke:
Q: Why are elephants big, gray, and wrinkly?
A: Because if they were small, white, and smooth, they would be aspirin!


Kristiem10 said...

Decisions, decisions. We didn't have the option at such a young age with my kids. They were both in small classrooms with mostly special needs kids. Each room had one or two peer models who were neurotypical. Is there a way you could try the reg preschool with the modifications, and if the little man doesn't do well in that setting, then could you change his placement? I definitely think it is worth a try. I know it is a hard decision to make.

Jennie said...

OH I love your elephant jokes. It sounds like a self-contained room would be better to me, but of course I am not in any way an expert. I have the opposite question: could you start him out in the self-contained room and then move him if he was obviously more advanced?

Anonymous said...

We weren't really given the option when Robert went to school. How times have changed. Thank God and the advocates for specialized education.
Try the intergrated classroom. Nothing is written in stone. If it really isn't a good fit you can always move him. Transitions can be hard but they do eventually handle it. Good luck!
Love you! Aunt Kim

Peggy said...

We did integrated and I think my boys really benefited from the "age appropriate" behavior they were modeled. It all seemed well until the schoolwork became too stressful (for my oldest boy) ...he knew he wasn't getting the school-work things...and that it was just too hard--he was very unhappy and stressed every night when it came time to do "homework"--oh how we struggled (and maybe I pushed him too hard). We have now switched him to a "life skills" program--he is in the same classroom most of the day, except for PE and his art/music/specials, and he seems so much happier. We'll probably do the same with the youngest boy too... Just FYI...whatever you do, you'll know if it needs to be changed! He's lucky you are so concerned and many kids do not get such support. He will do great with whatever you choose, because he has you to help him. (Sorry, didn't mean to write a book here.)

w-huff said...

I am so glad you have a network of people to give you advice and support! I'm sorry I don't have any advice, but I do love you, and I am here for you if you ever just want to talk, or rant, or think up new elephant jokes...
or whatever!
Love, Wendy