well for starters my son is autistic, i was sondering what to look for in preschools?

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Look for a school with lots of visuals. They will have words all over the place, like labels. They will have a firm but loving attitude. Be able to drop in at any time. Anything that promotes communication and behaving appropriately in public will be the best in the long run.

Renee - posted on 12/23/2009

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If you are in the U.S. likely there is a developmental preschool at your local elementary school and it may be free - it was for us. My son went there after being evaluated and diagnosed with autism. The program he was in was great and got him ready for mainstream kindergarten. All the above advice is all sound it just depends on where you live and what services are available.

Polita - posted on 12/23/2009

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Hi Lilian,

Talk with the local school district. preschools and your pediatrician. I was fortunate enough to find a pre-K program in the school system that specialize with children with special needs. My son's preschool teacher was the one who told me about the school program. He goes to school 5 days a week for about 5 hours and it has done wonders for him. His teachers have been working with special needs children for over 20 years and are very qualified. They understand when hes having a bad day or when hes about to have an outburst. I have only been to the school once since August for some type of outburst. At his previous preschool I was there everyday sometimes even havng to take him home. Some teachers at preschools are not qualified to deal or are prepared to handle our children. Before when he was in a regular preschool he was having daily outburst, crying alot and very hard time at preschool and home. His communication skills consisted of yelling and tantrums. Now he is starting to have a conversation and understand how to handle his outburst. His social skills are getting better and better everyday. He loves to go to school and hates the weekends because he's not at school. Research, research and more research. I hope this helps.

Paula

Kellee - posted on 12/22/2009

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Hi, I do not know where you live. Where I live the regonal center who worked with my son ran a state funded preschool who specialized in main streaming autistic childern in school settings. If you have a case manager talk to them about any places that they may be running. If that isn't the case find a school with NYAC certifcation, it's a very high standard and they re certify every few years. Also talk to your childs theripy team, they may have some recomendations as to what preschool would be best a d as soon as you ha e him enroled, hold an IEP and that will Cary over into his elementry school years and save you future trouble, depending on your school district of course.

Jess - posted on 12/22/2009

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As an Aspie:
1) a schedule.
2) a quiet area where the child can go if he/she feels overwhelmed.
3) a caretaker who does not yell, or use excessive body language. A calm, controlled person can get through better.
4) limited sharing rules. Aspies/autistics tend to not "play" with other children. Most organize their toys rather than using imaginary play, especially between ages 3 and 7. A favorite toy being moved or rearranged by another child can cause a meltdown.
5) flexibility. Being forced to play games that require coordination can be painful. Being comfortable with giving your little sweetheart a break is a big help. Most aspies describe physical activities as frustrating because it is like the brain cannot communicate with the body. Practicing games like rolling a ball back and forth now, playing catch later, and things like dancing together can help with this.
6) more older children who are more mature, as opposed to several of the same age as the child.
7) the ability to have high protein/low sugar snacks at will. Keeping blood sugar up helps prevent frustration and communication lapses.

Sheila - posted on 12/22/2009

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Hi Lilian,



Where I live, preschool services provide Teacher Resource support in nursery schools. A child has to have been approved to receive this support (through our Community and Social Services program) The resource teacher has four little charges that she is responsible for in that she does adaptations to make the program accessible, but the nursery school teacher delivers the program.



I was fortunate that we had an absolutely wonderful nursery school experience in that the staff were very supportive of my son....they say him as a unique little character who brought a lot to the class.



What I would look for:

a) open door policy...meaning, they are available to talk with you on the issues that your child faces

b) they demonstrate an understanding of children with special needs

c) when you scan the nursery school environment, you will see an environment rich in communication

d) you see an environment that addresses every type of learning...they have arts & crafts, literacy, numeracy, science, and physical education as part of their program

e) when you meet the teacher (s) you feel that your child is welcomed and you feel it....they can't fake this! They either love the kids they work with, or you find another school!

f) experienced with autism/spectrum disorders and understand that behaviour is communication

g) are they connected to other services that you will find beneficial to hook into

h) what do the other parents say about the school

i) the program is structured, and not higgle-dee-piggle-dee/free flowing...the children obviously need free play, but it is part of an overall schedule that they rarely deviate from.



Good luck!



Sheila

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