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CDC or mainstream preschool for poss HFA DS1?, any advice really appreciated!

(18 Posts)
KT14 Tue 22-Jul-08 14:10:23

I've been mulling this one over for weeks, please can anyone give me their opinion as i don't know what to do for the best, I am trying to be really objective but it's difficult, will try to be as brief as poss..

DS1 is almost 3 and has a language delay of approx a year, approx 300 words, mainly nouns, few verbs, very few phrases but these are just starting. We suspect HFA, or a language disorder with autistic like symptoms. There aren't any behavioural or sensory issues, or need for routine.

He's been going to a local Child Development Centre since Feb, and they say they've only heard him speak the most basic words "car" and "egg" for example. They have no idea he knows his letters, colours and numbers, despite him enjoying pointing them out to me everywhere we go, and the feedback I've had from them has been fairly negative - along the lines of he wouldn't cope in a regular pre-school, they wouldn't know how to handle him, he wouldn't take anything in, etc. They also don't seem at all interested in my input, I told them this week that we'd discovered what a massive effect juice had on him, and when I later collected him, he was as high as a kite due to all the juice, chocolate and crisps that they'd given him for their end of term party.. When I tell them something new he's done (I'm not a boasty mum, but surely if I can share things anywhere it should be there..) they give the impression that they'll roll their eyes the minute I'm gone. It's all so strange.

The thing is, he can and does cope really well in a nearby mainstream preschool, where the staff seem to know him much better than the CDC. Our SALT and the SENCO have both been in to observe him there and verify that yes he does speak (using some words I haven't even heard him use at home) and does interact comparatively well with staff and other children. They also reported how tolerant the other children were with him, which I credit the staff with, to some extent.

CDC want DS1 there 4 mornings a week from September, I'm really reluctant given his total lack of progress there. He is supposed to see their resident SALT there one day a week but he's been going since Feb and only ever met her twice.. if we pulled him out, he'd receive therapy at least once every six weeks which is more than he does there.

It's a really hard one as I know they're experienced professionals and I was all up for him going there originally, but there's just something about the environment that I don't feel is right for DS1 - it's total sensory overload, and although he doesn't seem to have sensory issues, I don't see how he can be expected to concentrate on interaction when they have tv screens blaring in the background and toys from floor to ceiling. Tellingly, our SENCO has a fantastic reputation in the area, and told me that the lady running the CDC which DS1 attends could be quite "pressurising." She was at pains to reassure me that if we pulled him out, he'd still get SALT and the help he needed at school. Really strange, help, don't want to turn down professional help for him but something doesn't feel right..

cyberseraphim Tue 22-Jul-08 14:23:18

We have a similar dilemma in that our ASD son is making a lot of progress with speech at home but in nursery where he is supposed to getting 'ABA' therapy, he speaks less than he did when he started! They also seem to see him in a less optimistic light than we do - but that might be because they cannot see anything good in autism whereas I have a HFA brother who has done well in life despite having many obvious 'impairments'. We think that probably he will leave the nursery before the start of the next term as you only get one chance to give your child the best start in life. Another similarity I see is that the nursery is crowded and noisy (even by nursery standards) so it's not a good environment for a child who only speaks intermittently,

KT14 Tue 22-Jul-08 14:27:02

That's what I thought, the environment might be ideal for a globally delayed child, as it 's incredibly stimulating, but for DS1 it's all a bit much and he runs between the bikes, toy kitchen, cars etc like a whirling dervish. We may as well just leave him in a branch of toys r us for a couple of hours for all the good it's doing.

deeeja Tue 22-Jul-08 14:50:39

Have you got a statement for him?
If not you should definately do that. I would put him in a mainstream school since he is doing so well there. It sounds to me as though if you keep him in the cdc then he will get frustrated. It may be that he is not talking so much at the cdc because he does not get enough interaction oppurtunities which he is most probably getting in school.He is doing really well to have so many words, and forming short phrases. The environment is just as important as any therapy imo, and the school wouldn't say that they could help him if they couldn't.
If he has a statement he will be fine at school by the sounds of it. Especially with such a supportive senco.
Best of luck,x

Aefondkiss Tue 22-Jul-08 14:58:10

KT14, reading your post makes me think your ds sounds much happier at ms pre-school, I would go with gut instinct on this and not stress too much about it, but that is just my pov.

my ds (who is 4 and has language delay/asd traits) was at cdc, for a session a week(he was okay there), and then I moved house, ds now goes to ms nursery, and dd goes to the same school, my ds has one to one support, 3 days a week, hopefully getting 5 after the hols, and SALT visits him weekly at school and at home, plus he sees early years support teacher at school who provides activities for him.

I am happy with the support he gets, but I am also glad he is starting nursery and getting to know the school too and sees his siter there and gets to know other children and teachers.

KT14 Tue 22-Jul-08 14:59:53

Oh thanks deeeja, we're in the very early stages of applying for a statement, he'll start school in Sep 09. I have been so pleased with the preschool, they are inexperienced with SN but have offered to go on any courses suggested if it helps them to help DS1. One of them was even teary eyed the other day when he'd done something new for her, I think they find him really rewarding to deal with which is such a positive thing and possibly a little unusual I wonder, from reading other posts..

KT14 Tue 22-Jul-08 15:03:11

wow, aefondkiss, that is a great level of support your ds is getting, and gives me some idea of what to request for my ds. Weekly SALT would be amazing, we've even considered private SALT as it made such a difference to him, and once every 6 weeks isn't enough to build much of a rapport.
I think you're right on the gut instinct thing, i know i should like the cdc but for some reason I just don't.

TotalChaos Tue 22-Jul-08 16:30:07

agree with the other ladies - go with the m/s preschool as your boy is happier and more communicative there. the right environment can make a huge difference. My boy was spookily simiarly to yours at the same age - his busy private nursery was crap, and he didn't speak there for months - but his m/s school nursery is vastly better and he is much happier and actually learning things rather than learning to confirm.

Homsa Tue 22-Jul-08 20:49:52

I was in a similar situation 2 years ago (DS just diagnosed with autism, just turned 3, had around 50 words, no major behavioural or sensory issues) and I decided not to send him to an "autism-specific" SN nursery, and instead to do an ABA programme with part-time ms nursery. He's now in a ms school and thriving, and I really don't think he would have made as much progress at the SN nursery with low expectations, no NT role models, and very little emphasis on spoken language.

You know your DS best - and it sounds like the staff at the CDC don't really know him at all. Follow your instincts and don't feel guilty about it!

flyingmum Wed 23-Jul-08 18:05:13

sorry if this is incoherant - DS1 (the one with SEN) has just cooked a risotto and I've had a glass of wine (hic). From your post it sounds as if your son is happiest at the mainstream place. He sounds very similar to my chap (he who has just cooked risotto) at the same age (bit of speech - knows all colours, parts of bodies, etc - not necessarily willing to impart this at the drop of a hat infront of someone with a clipboard). I'd go with your gut instinct BUT I would really recommend that you keep up with the SALT input.

On re reading this thru alcoholic haze better put that DS1 is now 13 (just in case you thought it was a 3 yr old cooking let loose on the gas stove - although I did start him early grin).

Am woozely - will go!

All the best.

KT14 Thu 24-Jul-08 19:59:04

Thanks Homsa and flyingmum, that does really help, and to be honest, the role model aspect was bothering me slightly, as there was only one other child in the CDC with any language whatsoever, but unfortunately he had difficulties which stopped him interacting anyway.

And Homsa, you're right, it's like they have such low expectations of DS at the CDC that he isn't really expected to communicate. One of the helpers even said to me, "nobody (as in the children) really talks here," which I found quite a strange thing to say.

We were at the park yesterday and a child in ds's mainstream came racing over to him shouting his name, and other mums have also told me in a friendly way that their children have mentioned him at home, so there's obviously some sort of connection being made. DS is extremely good natured and I think that helps him along in mainstream, but it does make me sad that he isn't able to make more effort to reciprocate friendships. Having said this, we've just had the best day ever of interaction with his baby brother, so we'll see if it slowly comes.

Anyway, I think I've decided that although i'm sure the CDC is great for most children with SEN, and I really don't want to come across as if i'm slating them, but it probably just isn't the right thing for DS1 at the moment. Will definitely keep up with the speech therapy either way.

ouryve Thu 24-Jul-08 23:48:47

I'd put him in the environment where he's happy and will flourish. DS1 has done so well in a mainstream pre-school that cares about him.

kt14 Wed 17-Sep-08 15:18:32

Just wanted to update on this - I eventually decided to remove ds1 from the CDC after much deliberation. I just felt the travelling distance was too much for DS, and there just weren't children there who could model typical language or behaviour for him.

Curiously, our SENCO didn't want to guide me either way but I sensed she was holding something back about the CDC. (Still don't know what, suspect a major clash with the woman who ran the CDC but saw her (our SENCO) this week and she admitted that she was jumping up and down with glee once I told her my decision..!! V weird, and kind of shows instincts can sometimes be right)

Anyway, DS1 is now in m/s every morning and doing so well. He attends 2 different settings, and is amongst reception age children in one of them (despite only just having turned 3), with staff ratios of 4:1. Unbelievably he is holding his own, joining in activities, starting to play co-operatively and using far more functional language there. We've also got him 5 hours per week of LSA support in one of the settings and regular speech therapy.

Am so pleased and feel we made the right decision. Just wanted to update as I've seen a few similar threads and it was a bit of an agonising decision for us which hopefully will turn out to be the right one.

kt14 Wed 17-Sep-08 15:38:34

just to mention again, that I think cdc's are in general fantastic, but for some reason, this one didn't suit ds1. Don't want to put anyone off giving them a go, as if ds1's needs had been different he may have made great progress there.

Tclanger Wed 17-Sep-08 16:02:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tclanger Wed 17-Sep-08 16:04:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kt14 Wed 17-Sep-08 19:11:15

oh thanks tclanger, sorry, it should have had a flashing update signal to save you wading through it!

Verbs have suddenly come on since I wrote all that, but language is definitely "odd."

This morning he was lying in bed beside me going through the sequence of traffic lights "red, stop, yellow, want the green, it's green, go, go, go" which we now have at every blardy junction across town. Plus 13 month old DS2 piping up with "gween gween gween" in high pitched tones throughout the journey.. can do without it being relived first thing in the morning!!

BriocheDoree Wed 17-Sep-08 21:27:28

Ooooooh, don't talk to me about traffic lights...every time we stop at a red light it's "Mummy push, mummy push, mummy can't push it's a red light, You tell mummy when it goes green, Green light" and if anybody else says "Green light" we get "NOT green light, NOOOOT green light" because we said it before her. SO pleased we can walk to school since we moved house!!
Sorry, thread hijack! Mine are 4 and 14 months so I also have the younger one starting to parrot the older one's echolalia because he ADORES his big sister!!

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