Mainstream or Special Needs preschool/nurery

(13 Posts)
iWazzer Sun 21-Jun-15 12:15:29

My son is approaching his second birthday and professionals are now consistently asking me what my preferences are regarding which preschool setting he will attend.
The answer is that I just don't know. How do I know what will be best for him? I want one of them to make the decision because while I have lots of experience of 'normal' children and 'normal' preschools, ovens idea whether a Special Needs I've would be better suited this time round.
Our physiotherapist has referred us to the local SN preschool, and they have written to us and invited us to look around which I suppose is a start.
I think my gut is telling me to keep him mainstream for as long as possible, but what if that is the wrong choice?

OP’s posts: |
sickofsocalledexperts Sun 21-Jun-15 19:15:19

I think your gut is right

FlipUpDown Sun 21-Jun-15 20:03:07

I was looking at SN...but it wasn't what I'd hoped. DD can well cope for now in M/S, I took her to my local preschool and she LOVED it, they seemed to like her too. She was happy, lively and interested, ben if she didn't access everything and it struck me as a good start for her and her confidence. I'd been so set on SN, but on the visit the only talk was 'support', 'transport', 'needs' quire cold and oppressive surprisingly .... whereas preschool was all 'likes?' 'interests?' and 'she's smiley!'.

I'm sure the opposite is true in other areas, but do visit both before even trying to decide. I was so set, but DD loved the busy hall and looked mildly pissed off on the SN visit (even throwing her hearing aids on the floor) being constantly signed at with stalking 1:1

SN may or may not be better later, I'm taking it as it comes I've decided. For now, I see where she'll thrive. It's whats local to you in reality, not the idea, that matters. SN provision is so poor here, but the local nurseries quite good and very inclusive/ resourced.

TheRiggs Sun 21-Jun-15 20:58:22

We have my son in both which is the best of both worlds, IMO. He's incredibly social so the m/s works well from that point of view - and his older brother is there too. And the SN has the resources that support his development in a different way - ie, the physio, OT, SLT, etc in house.

At the moment, he's 1 full day at m/s and then 15 hours at SN but the m/s will be increasing to 2 days in line with my work changing.

shazzarooney99 Sun 21-Jun-15 20:58:49

What is your son like? i mean can he talk? does he have friends? is he capable of playing with other children? is he compes mentous? i think these are all the things you have to consider.

Its all very well sending a child to a sn school, however if they are very socail then i think that holds them back a lot.

eatyourveg Sun 21-Jun-15 21:23:05

Like TheRiggs ds2 and dds3 went to both - 3 days at sn nursey 2 days at a mainstream one - it really helped when it came to choosing primary schools

2boysnamedR Sun 21-Jun-15 22:15:17

It's worth having a look around before making a desision. My toddler is in MS where he's happy but they can't meet his needs and he's just being babysat.

The specail school he's moving too can meet his needs but the kids there aren't going to bring him on, set a good example or ever try to engage with him.

Ideally I would send to to both the MS and ss nursery but I have been told that's not ideal.

My ds is non verbal with asd so I guess it depends also on what's best for your child. In our case that's learning another form of comunication and ms can't accommodate that

adrianna22 Sun 21-Jun-15 23:17:44


I too had this dilemma. Well I didn't even know special needs preschool exist!

DS is 5 and will hopefully be going to a specialist school this September. He has ASD and severe oral motor and verbal dyspraxia. As you can imagine he has very limited language.

Shazzarooney DS is very sociable, has many friends and despite his ASD, can cope with the sensory demands in a mainstream school. But as 2boys.. mentioned, I find out that DS was just "babysat", don't get me wrong, his teachers and TA's are lovely, the kids are lovely to him. But the school hasn't got the facilities to accommodate a child with speech, language and social communication difficulties.

OP, you need to visit as many schools as you can. I looked at 14 special schools and 7 mainstream schools. In honesty, I wasn't impressed with the majority of special schools that I saw. However in the end, after visiting the number of schools. I picked a very specialised independent special school. I had that gut feeling that this school was the one, whereas in my mind, ideally, I would of liked a mainstream school.

I am a bit worried about his social needs, but I plan to get DS involved in many community actives, such as; football, gymnastics, brownies etc.

OP, visit as many schools as you can, look on reviews about the schools, ask parents, ask questions and trust me you will have that gut feeling that your making the right choice, whatever type of school you feel could meet your DS needs.

iWazzer Mon 22-Jun-15 07:57:19

Thanks everyone. Seems like most people have a similar dilemma.
My son was born at 25 weeks and suffered bilateral grade iv brain heammorages resulting in quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He is also fed via a PEG but actually eats orally fairly normally now, just struggles with getting quantity in, and liquids.
He isn't verbal yet but makes lots of noises so we expect speech to arrive at some point.
He is incredibly sociable, very smiley and happy and loves watching others.
For a child with quad CP, he is actually very mobile. He sits, rolls, can get himself into a sitting position from laying, and gets around by kind of bum shuffling and pulling himself with his better arm.
I'm certain that within a year he will be able to pull himself to standing in a frame.
Will have a look around a few and talk to staff. Perhaps a mix of MS and SN may be the way forwards.

OP’s posts: |
eatyourveg Mon 22-Jun-15 08:40:17

I don't see why a dual placement wouldn't be ideal - both nurseries in our case worked together really well and it meant that when it came to primary ds2 was able to go to ss but for one day a week went to the ms primary where his brothers were - he did that all the way through til the end of Y6. ms learned pecs and the two schools had regular meetings

With ds3 it became increasingly apparent how he functioned differently depending on what environment he was in, he was acquiring basic language but by the time he was due to leave there was only one other verbal child there. I had gone through the statementing process with a 50/50 dual placement ms/ss in mind but when it came down to it we opted for ms F/T because he needed the role models. Huge leap of faith but some 12 years on he's decided come the autumn he want to apply to university. Never saw that one coming in a million years I can tell you.

WellTidy Mon 22-Jun-15 09:23:46

In an ideal world, I would go with mainstream (as long as he had enough support) and special needs pre school for my child.

That is whatw e wanted to do. DS has autism (well, he is not diagnosed, but he does have autism IMHO) and a severe speech delay/verbal dyspraxia. he has no recognisaable language.

He attends mainstream pre school, with a one to one worker, two mornings a week. They are very welcoeming of him, and so kind and thoughtful and I am so touched by how they have made such an enormous effort to settle him and be so positive. He has come on loads since he started there. He has role models for behaviour, language and play skills. He used to have horrendous separation anxiety but that has reduced. His success there has been so dependent on the attitude and skills of the pre school though.

We wanted him to attend a SN pre school too, and he was offered a place for two days a week, on top of his mainstream place. The children there mostly had ASD plus something else, some had CP like your child. I think he would have got on great there too. Above everything else, i think he woudl have, through that pre school, accessed all of the support (OT, salt etc) that he would be entitled too, and he would have been ebtter assessed with a view to schools applications and his Plan. Unfortunately, we cannot take up the place but that's another story.

Frusso Wed 24-Jun-15 12:15:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pat1ence Mon 29-Jun-15 12:23:16

My DD was also a 25weeker. Grade 2 IVH that appears to have left her unlike any other premature baby... She is hypotonic, tube fed, non verbal, wheelchair dependent and lots more but at 2years (now 8) she went to an assessment nursery who then told me where she'd be best. The final decision was with me and I knew she'd end up at the local specialist school, but I'm wondering why they haven't done this for you?

I don't know your child but I do know that I feel sorry for children whose parents are so blinkered by wanting them at mainstream (when they shouldn't be there) that the child's education suffers. I've seen children come to DD's school after years in the wrong setting and thrive. And I've seen children move on to mainstream and thrive. So the final decision doesn't have to be forever.
Have a look around potential schools, keep an open mind and research. Good luck, it's tough in the early days.

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