About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Brad Papers: Part 2

Here I will share an excerpt from a weekly newsletter from Brad's preschool:
Motor Groups for January
This month during Motor Group we have resumed our weekly warm-up stretches including standing on tiptoes with arms overhead while keeping our balance and jumping in place and jumping forward with a two footed takeoff and landing. We also resumed our walking “warm up”, running, and walking “cool down” laps in the gym. The children are always encouraged to pump their arms and run “just right” while traveling all around the gym. We see that the children have improved in their overall physical endurance for these laps since the start of the school year.

The children then played some new games. They listened very carefully and followed specific directions to run from one spot (a certain colored star) to another spot (a circle or cone of the same color). Children were assigned to different color teams for their stars/circles/cones. They listened very carefully for their “color” team before taking their turns. After running to their new spot, the children followed a multistep sequence for a motor activity, “RUN, STOP, DROP, and ROLL”. This was tricky and the children listened carefully, watched a model and then completed the motor plan for the activity. Another game we played included having the children start at their colored star, run to their colored circle/cone, pick up a bean bag, and run back to their star. We added several directions to the game including placing the bean bag “under” the cone or standing “next” to the cone. The children worked very hard listening closely to the multistep directions to complete each task.

We hope you are taking advantage of the many opportunities for outdoor snowman-building and playing in the snow during this month’s snowstorms. Snow shoveling with a child-size snow shovel is a wonderful functional, resistive, “heavy work” activity. Be careful on the ice but please keep your children active!

This is just the motor group. I reprinted it here because these are great strategies for PDD, dyspraxia and SPD (sensory processing disorder). So great that it's hard for me to imagine a richer, better suited educational environment for Brad, with his "ho hum" profile. (As an aside, it's a shame that some people feel the need to scare parents into homeschooling, lest some one use the word "autism" and their child's name in the same sentence.)

The preschool also engages the class in a range of cognitive activities. Not to mention the freeplay and the fun. (Also important!) His peers (hopefully, soon-to-be-friends) are a mix of special education kids and typicals. The special education kids seem like PDD kids (one older than Brad and nonverbal) and aspies. The only thing I'm certain of is that there are no Downs kids or physically disabled children in his class.

Yes, people. I have stumbled across some sort of Early Childhood Development nirvana.


Anonymous said...

That sounds a lot like Chee's class. it's a mix of "typicals" and special ed. I like they way Brad's class incorporates the motor activities into the day. Chee goes 2x a week to a pullout called "Romp & Stomp" where she does the kinds of stuff you just described.

In class they have small group activities, free choice, circle time, and snack. They pack a lot in in 2 1/2 hours.

I can't wait to hear about how Brad likes going to school.

Quirky Mom said...

That sounds awesome! I am so glad that we managed to (without realizing WHY it was so awesome, just that it was) find Apple a daycare/preschool that does so many of these things as a matter of course -- with no reason to do special ed. But it doesn't have all the awesome motor/direction-following stuff you just described. Still, it is awesome enough that we wouldn't dream of moving her to a special ed preschool if it were ever offered up.

I'm looking forward to finding out how Brad transitions to his new school.

Laura said...

Goodfountain, yeah does sound similar, and I'm glad to hear Chee's experience is positive as well. And lucky for me, you're a few years ahead of me, so I can learn from your experiences this fall.

Quirky Mom, that's awesome. My only frame of reference is my typical son's preschool, which is fun for him but really weak from an early childhood education perspective. It's kind of a sore spot for me cause it's expensive. It sounds like you found a nice little situation.

Patience said...

At the time of my dd's dx; there was maybe 1 or 2 preschools in my city of several million with a program similar to this. They both seemed to primarily serve Downs kids as you had to basically go on the wait list from birth.
I still don't think there are very many integrated preschools that are as good as the one you describe. There are a few "learning centres" that seem to be completely for children with autism which to me is not ideal.
I can see why some people homeschool if the alternative is that or a poorly run program.
In retrospect; dd went to a pretty good preschool where they gave her lots of love (typical coop nursery school) but very little concrete help. After that it was all downhill; shoulda started homeschooling at that point until about grade 5.
I am happy for you that you have something good for your son.

Laura said...

Patience, I hear you, and you're right to call me out on homeschooling in that it can have a lot of redeeming qualities. My concern is doing it for the wrong reason, but that's an aside. And I don't know what I don't know, in that, I don't know what spec ed has to offer in other parts of the US. I'm just blogging my POV. I think you know that I'm all about surrounding myself with a diversity of viewpoints to get at the truth. The Group is monolithic in the anti-service sense, and autism forums tend to be monolithic in the pro-service sense (more, more, more). I'm blogging a moderate, progressive POV, and in some respects I think I'm filling a void.

Jann said...

Glad to see Brad (and you) are liking the preschool. Our son was in a few different preschools, a couple for language disorders, a couple typical. They were a mixed lot. While the first language preschool was a perfect fit for our son, the next one (we moved) was terrible. But he did great in the typical preschool. It all depended on the teacher and the curriculum.

I myself have mixed feelings about homeschooling, but I certainly see why people do it. For children like mine, who aren't autistic but struggle in a regular classroom because of their receptive language problems, there seem to be few options, except maybe a few private schools. A language impairment class is what he needs, typical to the preschool, but they don't offer that. You are autistic or MR; those are your choices too often.

In fact, some of the older LTers were labeled as mentally retarded; now in college, it is clear for everyone to see they were neither autistic nor mentally retarded, but mislabeled.

Here's Stanely Greenspan's transcript on the Misdiagnosing of Autism Spectrum Disorders. I think it does the best job I've seen of describing the difference between autism and other disorders, and shows why so many get it so wrong.


Laura said...

Hi Jann. Thanks for the note. Yeah, I don't care what you call the children who fit this profile - education is a challenge. This much we agree on. We're finding our way and so far so good, but I'm not completely naive. Best wishes to you and yours. Oh and I give you an A for effort but I'm not sure who you're trying to convince at this point. I read the Greenspan article you linked to. However, I regard autism spectrum as a neurological condition, not a psychological disorder. Backatcha with a link: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ColdandFluNews/story?id=6089162&page=1see the first "myth"

Quirky Mom said...

Laura, that abcnews url isn't working, even if I copy/paste... I think it got cut off. Can you post it with tags to make it linky?

And in case you don't know the html...
Put (a href) before it and (/a) after it, only change the parentheses to < >.

Laura said...

Quirky Mom - I couldn't get the html to work

Here's the URL in text again (sorry!):