Can any of you please give me your opinions about schooling? My son is getting ready to start kindergarten. The school he is attending for pre-k is a great school but is very large and has very long hallways. It is K-12 but in different buildings all over the school campus. My fear is that all of this walking will become an issue as he progresses. I was thinking about looking into a private school that is much smaller but the problem is it only goes through 8th grade currently. Although they are looking to grow in future years, there is no guarantee so I would be afraid that putting him back into a big school then would be even harder on him. I would like for him to get into one school now so that as he grows, his friends and teachers will grow with him and understand his progression.
I know I may be worrying about things that are not as "bad" or "scary" as I am thinking they will be right now but when I look into his educational future, I just want it to be enjoyable for him. So I just wanted some opinions from parents whose boys are older and have a little more insight into things like this.
We're in public school, and have had a very positive experience. They've accomodated us by assigning classes that are close together, giving him a locker close by, dismissing him early, etc. Kyle has good mobility. He'll be in the 7th grade next year, in a larger school, and we're getting a scooter because of the distance and crowded hallways. We have district wide intermediate and middle schools, with about 900 kids in each school, so they're pretty large, at least compared to when I was a kid.
I think a lot of your experience has to do with the specifics of the schools. I've heard both good and bad experiences from public schools. A friend with a child with MD pulled her son from private school and put him back into public school this year, so private is not always better.
I agree with what Keith said about public and private having pros & cons. Best to check all in your area with the understanding that a kid can transfer during the year or after, to a different school, if things do not work out in his interest.
We did some checking and found we couldn't trust our public school system for anything. Our sons are 11 & 12, the oldest with dmd - both are in private school. One public school official I met with during researching this issue, head of special ed, stated they don't have any handicapped buses (?). Well, I have eyes and see them everyday driving around town.
The school my son attends is great. When I drop him off in the morning the parking lot attendant quietly radios my son's first period class and says "the package has arrived". That way, without embarassing my child, someone will open the extremely heavy classroom door before he gets to class. He gets the red carpet treatment.
I tried a small local private church school, for pre K. The teachers were all people I knew and loved. He liked it,but he caught every virus,twice. He stayed so sick. He only made it a whole week 2 times,and It cost alot. I was working as a mechanic for local car dealership.. I couldn,t afford a sitter and school. I had to take off a lot when he was sick which was most of the time. I got fired and he had to quit school. Which was a blessing because he quit getting sick. Tried 4 yr old pre K. the next year, same thing.Now he is homeschooled by my wonderful girlfriend.He is doing great and most of his work is on the computer.PBS kids has great learning games for younger children. He has already learned alot about operating the computer,and it only takes a couple of hours a day. The down side is; not having school friends.
JoAnne, I have two with DMD..16 and 12. I remember that day when I had to make the decision about kindergarten and I agonized over the exact same issues you are now. We chose public school for many reasons. First of all, private schools are not required to accommodate our needs and as the years have gone by I know now that a private school would not have worked. In the public school my boys have received adaptive PE which was a separate PE program that also helped include them in regular PE when appropriate. They also receive PT, transportation and a special education advocate to help with their curriculum which included meetings about minimizing the walking during the day by scheduling classes so that they weren't walking far all day long. These meetings included the principal, teachers, PT, the district special ed. director etc.
My kids have been in the same district since kindergarten and the director of special ed. knows exactly what their needs are. It is hard to predict what will happen with our boys as they start school. Both of my boys struggled terribly in math and my 12 yr old had a hard time learning to write. The public school provided help with all of it. Again, private school would not provide that but the state probably would provide some of it but you would most likely have to drive to the public school to receive it.
It has helped that they have been with the same kids since kindergarten so they accept them for who they are and both my boys have those continued friendships that started so many years ago. It has been very helpful. My oldest is a sophomore in high school and is still taking a full course load thanks to the math modifications and the extremely helpful staff. My 12 year old is in 7th grade and has a lot of the same teachers my older son has so that helps too.
It is a lot of hard work for us parents to keep all the balls in the air but it is really is doable..Communication is the key with all the people involved. Start with a tour of the school, explain your situation and then try to have an IEP meeting before the beginning of school either this year or before the first day of school and come prepared with information brochures on the disease and concerns you have.