I, EEEEPPP, Round Two

Choices We're Lucky To Have (But Still Don't Want To Make)

Well. So. That happened. And it was fine. And now I have absolutely no clue what we're supposed to do next. I've been sitting here in a sandwich shop for an hour and a half staring at a bowl of cold soup, trying to string words together, trying to come up with anything else besides: Damn! Fuck!

The Immersion Program. It doesn't exist! I mean, it does, but not for kids Noah's age. Kids his age have one basic option: a five-days-a-week version of the class he's in now, though with more of a focus on the kindergarten transition. And it's in the afternoon. They want him in it.

Where did we get the brilliant idea of sending Noah to a non-existent immersion option? From his five-days-a-week private school, who originally suggested it without fact-checking the age requirements. The private school that also wants him to return next year. That also meets in the afternoon. 

He cannot attend both. We have to choose, one over the other. 

I realize how silly this sounds: We only get to send our child to ONE nationally-recognized special-education program? And one of them is FREE? Damn! My life is so hard, dawgs.

And yet. Damn! Fuck!

In one corner, we have the public school program. A very academically driven program, focused on skills and behaviors. And oh yeah, it's FREE. Noah's progress there has been well-observed and documented and everybody loves him. I know plenty of parents have negative experiences with district special-ed programs, but our experience has been the polar opposite. They admit he will be probably the most verbal and highest-functioning child in the class next year, but feel this class is still his absolute best shot at transitioning to kindergarten (and this is the school where we want him to attend kindergarten) the following year. He could have the same teacher, whom he also loves; he'd enter kindergarten with protection and an established IEP in place. AND ALSO: IT'S FREE. Walking away from this program would be insane. 

In the other, we have the private program. The one we agonized over. The one we saved up for and sacrificed for. It's less about the academics and more about addressing Noah's underlying issues, on developing core competencies and stuff like confidence, trust, bonding, the idea that school and peers can be fun. He loves it more than anything on earth, and they love him back, and have helped us figure out how to parent Noah in more ways than I could ever list. I do not regret a single penny spent. We could probably arrange outpatient therapy there, but I know it won't be The Same. Since October, he's blossomed and grown and made enormous strides and the whole place feels like a big extended family now. Walking away from this program would be insane.

So that's where we are, with our very uniquely privileged problem. 

And now I have a meeting with the private school people so I can tell them what the public school people told us. And then I need to tell myself that with so many amazing people who care so deeply about my amazing kid, there's hopefully no such thing as a wrong decision. 


Adventures In Babywearing

Oh, here, I don't think either one can be wrong. Personally, we have had great success in public school special ed, but we didn't have the previous wonderful private experience you've had so far and it might be beneficial not to "upset" a good thing. Especially if he's really flourishing there. If it were me, I'd probably resist the change and keep rolling with it.

(but it's not my decision!)

The best part of it is that he has you as Mom to be in this position of two choices in the first place. Well done. :)



I can't imagine what you're going through or how hard this decision is for you, but I can tell you that your love for Noah will lead you to the decision that's right for him.

Good luck!


That sounds tough. I mean, yay blah blah blah for having good options but still totally tough that you'll have to give up something good and helpful no matter what.

You guys will make the right decision and any school/program will be lucky to have Noah.


Every decision you've made so far has been tough, but you've made all good decisions. I know you guys will do it again. Noah is so lucky to have parents who care so very, very much.

Springsteen fan

Oy to the vey. But try to tell yourself this is a high class problem and your last sentence was absolutely right. Perhaps this opens up the morning for something else cool you hadn't considered having time for w/Noah? I dunno. Sending you my undying support via Courier Font, though....


I guess it is always good to have two good choices but wow do I not envy your decision. Go with your gut and you can not go wrong.


Well, it's a blessing and a curse to be in this position, that's for sure. I'm sure that you'll do what's best for your boy.

Good luck.


Ooof, I don't envy you!

Can you say for sure that the blossoming is all due to the private school? Has he not blossomed at the public program? Is he happier at one place versus the other? Am I totally not helping?


Oh, what an agonizing decision!


Ask the teachers at each which one they would choose if put in your position. It would be potentially informative to know if each would select his/her own program, of if any would instead recommend the other.


"...We must find the courage to meet our choices with compassion, vision, and perseverance. Blessed are we, truly blessed, who are free and able to choose to live so fully."

This quote from "Mama, Ph.D." is talking about how lucky some of us are to have CHOICES about work-family balance. But, I think it applies to your situation too.


*hugs* You have a very lucky kid - not everyone has parents as devoted/caring as you.


I hardly ever comment here (maybe never, can't remember) but am a fairly long-time reader. I don't know if this will help you with your decision or not, but try taking FREE out of the equation in the first option -- or conversely, pretend the second option is is free too. I only say that because last year we faced a sort of similar decision about which pre-k to put our daughter in and all my husband could see about the one program was FREE. I'm not saying that's what you're doing, but when you've been struggling to pay for something (as we had been doing), the lure of FREE can be huge.

Even as just a little old reader I've seen such huge changes in Noah since he started the private program.

I'm probably not helping, am I?


Our sons are about the same age, and I'm considering holding mine back a year before entering proper kindergarten. Is it possible for you to do the same, giving Noah one more year at the private school, then a year of transition to the public school option? He'd be older, but would that maybe be easier?

I'm sorry you are having to make a tough decision. It would be so much easier if you could do both :-(


Dude, no need to apologize for having a tough decision to make. The existence of Other Problems in the world doesn't trivialize what you're coping with in your own life.

You and Jason seem pretty damn compentent at making these decisions. Best of luck with this one.


It will be interesting to hear what the private school says. If you give up the public class, will he not have the chance to rejoin them with IEP in place for Kindergarten? As wrenching as that might be, especially financially, I think it's what I would do. My personal and professional (as a preschool Director) opinion is that Kindergarten readiness programs are overrated. I believe that the best way to help a child get ready for Kindergarten is to give him as many days as possible in an environment that is exactly right for exactly where he is right NOW rather than nudge him toward the place he will be next. I don't know you or Noah other than what I've read here, but your emotions really come through on your comparitive descriptions of the two programs. As I often tell parents in my program, let's not starve them today because there might be a famine tomorrow. I know you'll make the right choice, trust your gut. You are the expert.


Seriously? Can no part of this just be easy and obvious? Just wondering...and sending lots of sympathy your way. At least both choices seem good this time around!


Seriously? Can no part of this just be easy and obvious? Just wondering...and sending lots of sympathy your way. At least both choices seem good this time around!


Seriously? Can no part of this just be easy and obvious? Just wondering...and sending lots of sympathy your way. At least both choices seem good this time around!


I am a preschool special education teacher. I taught children with autism in a public school environment. I used a lot of different educational approaches in my classroom. I would suggest that you ask a lot of questions of both of the schools and the teachers. Go and visit the public school classroom. See if Noah would fit in there. What services would the public school provide, and how do they incorporate the strategies in therapy into the classroom. Remember that you and Noah need to be comfortable with the decision. You are such a good advocate for Noah, so do what you feel will be best for your son. Good luck in making the decision.


I don't know what to tell you, but as someone who's still in school, I can offer you this one observation:
If the only reason you're going to keep Noah in the free program is to keep him exactly on track academically, its a far less big deal than you think. My elementary school had a "pre-1st program" for the kids that the school considered to be behind academically or socially after finishing kindergarten, and basically resulted in a lag year from them to catch up. These kids were not considered weird or stupid, but because they were older they were considered cool. Some of the kids who were in that class and ended up on track to graduate with me weren't on to fantastic colleges, and became engineers, lawyers, etc. Not to mention, different parts of the country have different cut offs, so as he gets older it'll be less noticeable if he's a different age.
I'm no expert, but I'd focus on all of the other stuff you're worried about before academics. So what if he's a year behind where he might be otherwise? If he's well equipped to learn once he really gets to school, he'll be able to excel.


I'm glad that both choices are livable, at least! Good luck figuring it out - sounds like a hard choice.


I don't envy your decision but you are correct, it's a good problem to have. I tend to agree with Leandra (taking 'free' out of the equation) and Jacquie (best suited to his needs right now). But that's my opinion which you didn't ask for but whatever you guys decide is the best for Noah will BE the best for Noah. And either way he will be with people who love and adore him *almost* as much as you and Jason.


I vote free. Not that you asked, but that's my vote.

Sounds like a great program, and will be where he ends up anyway. You're going to have to break away from the private school people eventually. Heartbreaking to leave people who care about your kid so much, but if he can get the same services for free...

Perhaps you can send him there in the summer? We find the public schools kinda skimp in the summers.


Hooray for having such good options! I know that having to make the choice stinks.

Before you do anything that would take him off the list of children accepted to either of those programs, check around carefully and ask some pointed questions about funding. Our education dollars keep getting slashed in NYS and public school programs are disappearing overnight. I don't think the teachers would be duplicitous with you about what they think they will have available next year but if your district is having to make tough decisions, they might not be fully informed yet. Do you know anyone on the local school board or anyone who works for a sub-contracting service that might have an ear to the ground on district funding yet?

If I were making the choice for my son, and I was sure that the public program was going to be stable, I would go with that one. Stability and routine are key for him and transitioning to a different setting for K might be more stressful. Then I would look for some wonderful things to do in the mornings.

Good luck. Be peaceful. :)

Shannon M.

I think you already know what you're going to do. It seems right to me, too. Keep him where's he's blossoming.


Hmm, if in the end you decide they are both equally fantastic for Noah, can you pick one with the option of switching if it turns out to be a mistake, or do they both fill quickly making a switch impossible? If one is harder to get into than the other you might chose that one if the second will have open spaces later on. Did that even make sense? Probably not. Either way, good luck. Picking between two good options is so tough because all the lines are blurry and when you get caught up in planning your child's future the pressure can skyrocket but you have Noah in your heart and that's what counts.


Hi Amy,
We're about 3 weeks behind you and I am already feeling nauseous. IEPs = bleh!
Have you thought about the idea of him going into mainstream Pre-k again? Would they allow that option? If he is the highest functioning and most verbal, there is no one for him to learn from (other than the teacher) while the others will benefit from him. Also - an afternoon program means the kids are handed academics at the end of the day? When they are cranky and tired and stimming more? Why! This doesn't sound like the best idea. Afternoons are for play - early morning is the best for calm, focused learning.
Hmmm....wacky public school!
I hope the private school has a solution for you...because you had it all worked out before the morning program tossed a wrench into it.


Are there any local public-school programs that offer what the private school offers? If your local distict cannot meet Noah's needs they are obligated to pay for an out-of-district program that does. It could mean you guys request that your local district provide transportation and pay the fees for out-of-district programs. You are not limited to your neighborhood school or your district!

On another note, will the IEP process start all over if you go private-only next school year? With the nature of Noah's issues would it be a rougher transition to K if he didn't do PreK at the same school?


To (try and) clarify what I just posted.

If you and Jason want Noah in an immersion class and there is one out-of-distirct and within reasonable distance (for you and Jason), the school distirct needs to make that happen for you! You can also call for IEP meetings and changes whenever you guys want.


Total assvice as I am not a parent, but from your description of the private program providing more treatment of the underlying core competencies it seems like that might be the better option at this stage. Learning how to learn is the most important thing you can get from school, IMO.

That said, again from your description, you do seem to have an option that involves both -- public program and outpatient at the private place. As you said it wouldn't be The Same but it could be Close Enough.


In our county (Cumberland Cty, Maine) the Early Intervention services are covered whether you are in public or private school. Here, if you choose a non-covered school they won't pay the school directly, but they will provide whatever services are mandated in the IEP with one of their licensed providers (within the classroom setting). That provider would make sure the child works toward the IEP goals and follow him through the Kindergarten transition.

Would you have to surrender ALL covered services if you choose the private option? If you went private it would be nice to at least have some state-representative following his case if not treating him. It also helps with the K transition.

Sidenote (also, der...): Counties don't like to volunteer all the stuff you are entitled to. For instance, I spent two years driving my kid all over kingdom come before some other parent told me I could be submitting receipts for gas mileage...! Not that you haven't, but DIG IN! Make sure you are getting everything to which Noah is entitled. You plenty of taxes down there.


sounds like you have two really great options. just a thought, but w/ the public school option you might be able to arrange for an additional behaviorist or therapist included in your iep that could address (w/ one on one therapy or sessions in the classroom) some of the underlying social & confidence issues that are being addressed so well by the private school. especially if you started to see a slump in his confidence after switching him to public school. sounds like your district is well-funded enough that they could easily add some of those hours to the iep.


sounds like you have two really great options. just a thought, but w/ the public school option you might be able to arrange for an additional behaviorist or therapist included in your iep that could address (w/ one on one therapy or sessions in the classroom) some of the underlying social & confidence issues that are being addressed so well by the private school. especially if you started to see a slump in his confidence after switching him to public school. sounds like your district is well-funded enough that they could easily add some of those hours to the iep.


There isn't a private school in our area similar to the one Noah attends. Our son goes to the public integrated preschool in the afternoons, and on some mornings we work with a private OT (individual and group sessions) who is a certified Floortime specialist. We found her through the ICDL web site, and we love her. Of course, if there were a FT-based school around here, we'd send M in a minute, but there isn't so this is our best option. One bonus though -- I'd say the OT works with us (the parents) almost as much as she does our son. That way we're able to continue the program at home. I just checked the ICDL web site, and it appears there are a number of certified FT professionals in your area, including Serena Wieder, one of the program founders.

I'm sorry that you have to make such a difficult decision. I hope you find a happy solution.


We are in a very similar situation. My son is going into grade 1. And we have similar issues. (I'd list them, but this would make a very long comment).
I've had numerous meetings - with the schools. And I was torn.
My son is 6 now, so this is easier for me than you. But, I finally asked my son what he wanted.
And that's what we're going with.
I'm not sure if you can include him in the decision making process, but for me knowing what my son wanted made my decision easier.


Maybe ask Noah what his choice would be? Given that both options sound so great, he may surprise you with some reason you haven't thought of. My 4 year-old regularly shocks me with his thinking in ways that I hadn't even thought were possible. And he just might respond even better to whatever program he's in if he knows he was part of the decision! Just an idea. Good luck with weighing the options...I'd be a complete zombie with all of the obsessing!


When you were talking about the public school program, I could not for the life of me see the downside. But what you wrote about the private school option sounds like it's going to address what's most important NOW. (Not to try and make your decision-making harder, you understand, but just my two cents.) The most important thing (the way I see it) is having a strong foundation for all of you. The academics, less important. Don't get me wrong, I'm passionate about quality education, but there's plenty of time for that later.
Of course, no offense taken if you see it differently; it's your family, after all! Because in the end, I believe that no, there's no bad decision here. And that's good.

Hairy Farmer Family

Echoing your Damn! Fuck! with gusto. And lots of anxious sympathy.


That's a pickle. A good, crispy kosher dill pickle, but a pickle none the less. I like the idea of the private school working on underlying issues. That could make a huge difference both now and in the long run. But it's still a hard choice to make. Good luck. :)

Amy in StL

Okay, this is simple. You just contact Hogwarts and borrow the timeturner thing from them so that he can attend both.

What?! You mean that was not a non-fiction book? For Reals?

Yeah.... then I got nothin.


I think I would put more weight into "working on underlying issues" at this point. Modelling other kids is also very important and it sounds like there wouldn't be much of that in the public option right now? It sounds like you LOVE where he is right now and he'll get the public option eventually anyway.

Good luck...I'm sure in the end, you'll be happy with your choice! You're informed and involved.


Ask Noah! Both are awesome options, and maybe he has a preference. Good luck with a wonderfully hard decision.


Sorry for the assvice, but I can't resist mentioning that the public school should work w/you to offer something closer to the program you were envisioning ... It's not OK for a public school SpEd program to offer "One Basic Option," no matter how wonderful it is (but so glad to hear that both programs rock!).

Aunt Becky

I don't do assvice so I won't bother trying to tell you what to do. I hate decisions like this and I'm sorry. I do understand.

I hope that the path you have to take becomes clearer because being stuck is impossible.


let me just say this IS a hard decision...recently at work I have been talking myself down and minimizing the importance of my work and my boss joked with me today and said don't do that, yes others are better smarter but this is you, and it reminded me of you advice about the mommy wars on the advice smackdown the other day...

and then I read this, I know there are a lot of trolls out there and chances are you are clarifying so that you don't have 200 comments telling you to shut your privileged mouth...but this is a big decision and it is hard and I just want to you to know we all know that and are rooting for you and Jason and Ezra and ESPECIALLY for Noah


Lucky to have, yes, but no less difficult to make for all of that. By the way, add me to the list of people who've had WONDERFUL experiences with public pre-k special ed(for both my daughters; I didn't know it existed for my son). Whatever you decide, Noah will be fine, because he has you and Jason in his corner.


Rock, meet Hard Place. When I have to make a hard decision, I flip a coin. Sounds dumb, but if I'm upset by the result I know the other choice is the right one, or if I'm relieved I know that one is the right choice. How's that for some great assvice! You may be thinking, "Rock meet Stangmom's head!" Seriously, good luck - I don't envy you.


As a teacher (though not special ed) I think that the academics will come soon enough, but having the strong base in social skills is invaluable. Without those skills (the ability to make friends, hold conversations, etc) which are needed by anyone to function in the world, no amount of schooling or academics will really help.


Will he be going to kindergarten at the public school? That might be an easier transition because he will still get to see his preschool teacher.

Also, as a preschool teacher, I love it when the older children in the class can help the younger children. It teaches a variety of skills including patience, kindness and leadership!!


We didn't have the private option that you did, but when we moved to our town, we decided we wanted a house in this particular district because it's also the location for the developmental preschool our son was going to attend. It meant that he was familiar with a number of the faculty (for specials and instructional aides) and the layout of the building before he started kindergarten. That made the transition much smoother for us. We also happen to love the OT there, so we didn't worry that he was getting shorted in that department.

Are there any small groups at the private school--play, social skills, even group OT? That way you'd be able to keep him working with some of the same people and in the same method.


Oh, and if you go the public route, would Noah still get to ride the bus?

(We live 6 blocks from our school, and our son so desperately wanted to ride it for preschool that we went ahead and signed him up after a week.)


I've never written to you before but I've been reading your blog since just before our younger son Declan, who will be 3 in August, was diagnosed with Childhood APraxia of Speech in March. I've overwhelmed all the time. I'm pretty good at gearing up for the fight. ANd that's really helped him, I think. I've pushed at every turn to get him what he had needed, up and including this most recent diagnosis and changing up the type and amount of speech therapy.
But I wanted to tell you that I hear your pain. Declan is in a private day-car through kindergarten early education program on a Lutheran college campus that is wonderful. And he is loved and cared for. But it tis not special ed focused. Our special ed program is half day, even less than half day. So we're working on just supplementing with more speech therapy there too. Ugh!
I long to not worry. To not feeling so tense about how he is perceiving others asking why he isn't talking. To believe the speech therapists who believe that he will get to be somewhere different. To hear his opinion, what he thinks. He expresses himself, so maybe that last one isn't exactly right. But it kind of is. I'll keep at it of course. I just hope that one day I'll think, why did I waste so much time worrying?


I had no idea this school thing would be so impossibly difficult. I'm agonizing over where my daughter will go to kindy in 2011, and her needs are pretty minimal, beyond the "will she be bored without constant reading at the Waldorf school?" I have PLENTY of time to figure it out. But I still stress over it all the time.

I'm in no position to offer an opinion on what you should do, but I can understand your predicament.


Tough choice. I second what someone said about taking the word FREE out of the decision - that's the only way to make the decision 100% for the right reasons.

One maybe dumb question - won't Noah be in Kindergarten in September since he turns 5 in 2010, or are you holding him back? Or is this column about his options for summer?


As a former teacher, I can tell you that if you think the private school is better for next year (and I might lean that way, but what the fuck do I know? I just read your blog...I'm not with Noah every day like you are) then you can either request the new IEP one day 1 of K or before if your district woudl allow it.

And if you walk in with a letter from the private school any good K teacher worth her title isn't going to pretend Noah's stuff doesn't exist and will work with it until the IEP is in place.

Can you just keep things as they are?


follow the love. also consider regression to the mean. you don't want him the top performer in his class--he's more likely to lose momentum. keep him challenged but able to make strides.

he'll have to make many transitions in his life and another year of a loving, awesome school will set him up fine.


It's a tough position to be in. Yes, you are incredibly lucky to have two fantastic programs to choose from. But that doesn't make it any less difficult to face. (((hugs)))


You are good mum.
I don't know anyone who has done so much to get Noah where he is now.
You will make the right decision and if you choose the public school he will make new friends there.
Good vibes coming your way ! :)


<> to you and Noah (even though you don't know me). I don't envy you having to make this decision. However....you have made the right decisions so far. Have faith in yourself. It's been a blessing to be able to watch Noah and Ezra grow up.

Plano Mom

That sucks. Praying for wisdom.


Not my decision to make, but if it was, I would go with private. It sounds like the best thing to happen to Noah, outside of his parents of course.


We're in the same county and yes, I know, the free services are great and the teachers/therapists are actual angels. We are about to enter the 3-day a week ASD group. The one issue I pulled out of your comparison/debate is what's more crucial right now for Noah... the social skills/therapy or prep for kindergarten? What does your professional team think if you stop focusing on the daily life therapies? Will he regress or has he gotten to a stable place?
I'm going to have similar decisions in my future too ... good luck to you and also, it's wonderful that you've had 6 months of such amazing progress. I hope to be able to report the same soon.


You clearly state that the "free" option is one that Noah loves and is comfortable with. So when you posted the comments about the private program by stating "It's less about the academics and more about addressing Noah's underlying issues, on developing core competencies and stuff like confidence, trust, bonding, the idea that school and peers can be fun", I automatically thought that the "free" option would be a natural fit for those issues as it sounds like they are already addressing them there too just due to the fact that he is comfortable in this environment, etc. Also, just a thought; if you pull him out of the program completely for the next year in order to stay with the private school, when he goes back to the public school for Kindergarten, will you have a transition issue to address due to the fact that he hadn't been there for a year?

Maybe this isn't making sense (and in fact it sounds sort of jumbled now that I'm trying to put it in writing - but it makes PERFECT sense in my head!) but I just wanted to say that after you put everything in writing, to an outsider like myself, it sounds like you'd have a win/win situation with the public school program.


If you have to have a problem, this is a good one to have...but still, what a tough call!!


He can still have the summer camp, right? And who knows what miracles will occur there this summer that will make the full day school unnecessary?

Katie Kat

Oh man... I think everyone here can understand your difficult decision. Of course you want what's best for Noah and there's just no way to really know which option will do that. I will say that I feel like no matter which way you go, Noah has such a great base to work from he will blossom regardless.

I know it's not that easy, but hopefully the right decision will make itself clear!



If it were me, I'd do my best to take the "free" out of the equation. I'd fast forward to next year, imagining that if I took the free option -- even if the cost only played an itty bitty part in it -- and there were any problems, I'd wonder exactly why I did that. (I'm the queen of second guessing.) You've realized this year that you can make the private school work financially, so if that's the best place, that's the best place.

(FWIW, we were faced with a slightly similar dilemma when my five year old qualified for our public preschool last year. We didn't want to pull him out of his expensive private school, mainly because some of his issues are social and all the friends he had were at that school, so we couldn't muck with that. Thankfully we had the option of doing both. In hindsight he'd have been fine only at our free/public school, but we didn't know that then and I don't regret the choice one bit. It was money well spent for our peace of mind at the time.)

As far as transitions go, no matter what you choose, next year will be different for him. He'll have one school instead of two; he won't be going to one of the schools he's gotten used to. So again, if it were me, I'd try not to worry too much about that aspect of it. I'd try to really focus in on which school could offer him more for the 10 months that he'll spend there.

But that's just me. Good luck. The nice thing is, it sounds like there's no wrong choice here. Just the lesser of two awesome choices.


Yow, that is a tough one. I know it SHOULD seem like a no brainer to go with the free option, but it's difficult to take a child out of a situation where he has made so much progress. I wonder if he has made enough progress, though, that he's over that threshold and can continue to flourish in the public school environment? Whatever you choose, you will make the right decision and Noah will continue to advance. How could he not with such great parents? I know sometimes the stress I feel over my decisions involving my kids are a bigger deal to me than they are in retrospect (holy cow that was a lopsided sentence). When I get that was, sometimes I try to think to the future and say to myself - how will I be feeling about this in a week/month/year. Takes the pressure off.
Sorry I can't speak (type) English properly today. Bad night's sleep and no coffee today yet. :|


I think your child is lucky to have a parent like you.


I am confident that whatever choice you make it will open you (and Noah) up to new and positive experiences. Perhaps you will find an unexpected alternative solution when you speak to the private school people? Sleep on it and think about it tomorrow, good luck in any choices you make!


I am confident that whatever choice you make it will open you (and Noah) up to new and positive experiences. Perhaps you will find an unexpected alternative solution when you speak to the private school people? Sleep on it and think about it tomorrow, good luck in any choices you make!


Oh man, what a choice to have. But from an outsider perspective, they're both good options, so that means there's no good answer, but also NO BAD ANSWER. Whichever of the two schools you choose will be great for Noah. You're having to decide between one great program and another great program. So it's all just degrees of great. Good luck making the choice...

Miss Britt

Sometimes I read posts like this and you are so apologetic for having very normal, human concerns, and I can't help but think -

she must get hate mail she never talks about.

Mrs. Q.

Ugh. I can't imagine that having to make a decision between two great choices is any easier than what we're facing-- sending my son to kindergarten in the fall with a class size of 22. Kids. With one teacher. *shudder* Currently calculating how much private school is going to kill us... for two kids.


Definitely a tough decision, but at the same time... what a great problem to have.

Lots of variables here. You can talk about taking cost out of the equation, but realistically cost is a very real part of the equation, and something you have to weigh. That said... pre-K is absolutely the right time (in our experience, at least) to go as aggressively as you can at underlying issues — because (as you pointed out) public school is there, by and large, to address challenges that have academic application, whereas it sounds like private placement is more of a hardcore approach to helping him develop core competencies.

Overall, it sounds like a win-win, but the most important question is "what going to set him up long-term for success?" From the way I read it, it sounds to me like you've already reached a conclusion on that.


Having done 3 years in SpEd preschool, I can vehemently state from experience, DO THE ONE WHICH WILL INCLUDE TYPICALLY DEVELOPING PEERS!
You DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT want him to be the highest functioning child in his class. I can tell you for certain that he will get LESS attention, LESS interaction, LESS instruction -- because? He needs less than his peers and his peers won't be 1/100th of the stimulation he needs.
We did both; Our son REGRESSED in the Everyone Special, All the Time; BUT made quantum leaps in the Some of These Are Not Like The Others/equal number of typically developing with special needs children. The parents of typical peers knew they would not be receiving the services of the ST, OT, PT, Psych, etc., but they also had reduced tuition.

Email me if you want to bandy this about further. Our son is 8 now, and you can't tell the difference from him and his 'normal' buddies. Regular elementary school now! YAY!


Ack. Could you do one more year of the private school, and public-pre-K the following?

You have good options, but a hard choice. I hope your gut tells you what to do. Follow it. I'm sure your instincts will serve you well.


I taught kindergarten for years (public) in a school that also had a special needs preschool. Had the privilege of sharing a classroom with one program (kindergarten is half-day in some Alexandria schools). I witnessed AMAZING stuff going on in their classroom and I know that the kids benefited from the easy transition to a kindergarten class in the same school. I have always been impressed with the preschool teachers and their dedication, passion and LOVE for their students. Just my 2 cents! You are indeed stuck between a rock and a hard place, but it sounds like both options are pretty great. I wish you luck and I know you'll make the right choice for YOUR family.


You are awesome parents!

Without trying to sound like a stalker, where are the pictures of Noah and Ez? I haven't seen any in a while...

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