Making the decision to switch schools - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Making the decision to switch schools

MaudQ
MaudQ

We just had a terrible parent teacher conference and feel like we need to consider switching our kids’ school. We are currently at a very small private school and they basically admitted that they don’t have the resources to follow the accommodations our daughter’s therapists recommended. We are heartbroken about this - we love the school and the community and the neighborhood we live in. But the school choices where we currently live aren’t great and we think we probably need to move into a different school district. This feels expensive and stressful - and would be a lot of change for our already anxious child. She also has a lot of friends in her current school and it seems terrible to pull her away from them ... She is ten, so just about to enter middle school. Any advice about how to make a decision like this?

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We moved two years ago just to accommodate school needs. It hasn’t been perfect and it was a PITA, but it just felt right. Daughter is happy we moved and it is working for her well.

Bonus was we got a bigger house so everyone has their own space. Really beneficial to keeping organized.

MaudQ-Sorry you are dealing with this. Just curious do you have a formally written plan ( Individual Educational Plan or 504) becuase even if you move the school they would go to would need to assess for an IEP or write up a 504 plan.

Also, have you contacted your local school to ask if your child qualifies for services ( I understand they don't attend public school) in the private school? I thought you could have the public school help you child even if they are in private school.. the services are not as much but still better than what you have now. This could also get the plan rolling before you moved them. They might be able to educate the private school about your child's needs.

Hope this helps a little.

Big hugs for all.your struggles.

After being kicked out of 3 preschools and 1 Montessori School, I finally conceded that public schools are more equiped to deal with my kid. Actually, in the last 6 years, I have never had to come get her. I've gotten bad notes, etc, and one call, but the school just deals with the issues bc they are used to much worse kids in the system. Private is great if your kid is 'perfect'. Mine is heading into jr high next year. I'm toying with trying private again. This time I'm 100 times more educated on my daughter's condition, and am asking bold questions... Like: " how would you handle xyz". I can tell by the answer if they can really deal with xyz. If not, see ya.

Since you and you child like the school and they have good social connections maybe there are other outside school things you can try before deciding to move. Maybe a tutor? Or an ADHD coach? Although these options can be pricey- might in the short term be less than moving??? My son meets with an ADHD coach via Skype twice a week. The coach has taught him about his brain and why he may have to do certain things differently to compensate. I have seen since starting with the coach he is really understanding and he willing to work to find strategies that work for him. (Although I have said these things to him previously he didn’t want to hear it from me lol).

If you do decide to change schools I would try to meet with other parents in that new school that have kids with IEPs (usually there is a special ed parents group- at least in public schools). This way you can learn more about the quality of services they provide.

In our case, we moved from public to a very small college prep private high-school that specializes in “kids that learn differently”. Although socially my kid was fine in public he was just getting pushed along academically and really not learning much. We knew he had so much more potential. He wasn’t thrilled leaving his friends but it was really his final decision to try something else. Moving him was the best decision. He is pretty social anyway and made new friends quickly and academically his self confidence sky rocketed.

Good luck!

We had similar problems with the private PreK program our son attended. Even though they were funded through the state lottery and therefore had to follow public school guidelines for curriculum, they only had one “extra” person to help for the entire school. Even when we had him evaluated and formally diagnosed they couldn’t accommodate his needs. Since all PreK programs in GA are also litter based for placement, not all PreK aged students are actually accepted into a PreK program. By the time we were on an IEP it was spring and we just had to tough it out until the end of the year.

When he started kindergarten at a public school they were still sending him home, and they decided (with our approval) to place him in a smaller class specifically with other kids that have similar issues. His teacher is wonderful, and I haven’t had to pick him up early for almost a year. I suggest contacting the school district you are zoned for first and speaking to them about their special education programs for kids with emotional regulation issues, and see what they say. If they don’t have a program that fits your needs at the school you’re districted for they might have one at another one, and are supposed to provide transportation to and from that school, regardless of distance. The school my son attends is about as far away from our house as you can get while staying in our county, and he takes the bus home every day. Good luck; I know it’s difficult trying to do what’s best sometimes.

We were in a similar situation with our son. Small charter school not equipped to accommodate our son’s need for more personal space. We had been really excited about this school and its philosophy and were thrilled when we got in by lottery. It was not an easy decision to change schools but for us it was a great decision. Our son had more support and did so much better with very small accommodations. I looked into private school for him and realized that they are really set up for “neurotypical” kids most of the time and have little experience or motivation to support kids who need it. Good luck! It is not easy, especially if you have to consider moving.

Thanks so much for the responses. It’s really helpful to see all the different experiences. We are currently looking at a few public and private school options - plus trying to make the current school work if we hire a tutor.

Also ... my daughter had another weepy “I don’t want to go to school” morning right after I posted this - and she told me, on her own, that she wanted to look at other schools. Which made me so happy - because she really struggles to express her feelings and to advocate for herself. Feeling much more positive and hopeful than I was a few days ago ...

I'm so glad that you are feeling more hopeful. You have received several wonderful suggestions and knowledge from others experiences. It is true that public school have more resources for students who qualify for an IEP. I'm not sure if you will be pursuing this or not. Keep in mind, that an outside diagnosis doesn't necessarily result in eligibility for special education. You sound very sensitive and I'm sure that you will make the best decision for your child. I pray that you will have clarity on which direction and steps to take and that you will have peace in whatever decision you make.

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