Yesterday Husband and I observed a K-2 Autism class. It was one of the stops on our “need to figure out where B is going to Kindergarten” journey.
We met with the K-2 Autism coordinator and B’s ECSE teacher at the school. We toured the elementary school and went into the classroom. We observed the classroom activities for about 20 minutes.
It looked very similar to any of B’s ECSE classes. The class size is very small (max is 8 students). Students placed in a self-contained classroom can land anywhere on the spectrum. The layout was same – down to the work areas and even where the toilet is located. There were 6 students, plus the teacher and assistant. At that time, they were engaged in a morning learning session, working with the Promethean board.
It looked some familiar and comfortable.
And yet, off the bat we knew it wouldn’t work for B. That B would not be able to function and thrive in a self-contained environment. I could see him acting out more in this setting. In our observation, the array of challenges of the kids were apparent. They were more prominent, and more severe. This leads credence to his ECSE teacher’s statement that his mimicking behaviors would be better suited in mainstream.
It’s already hard enough be placed into one of these programs. Many of the sites are already full for next year. And as much as I want the small ratio of teacher to student, it may be time to take a chance in mainstream. I don’t want to take away a spot from someone else.
We have been working towards the annual IEP meeting and hope to add as much support as possible as we are moving into Kindergarten.
I’m glad to have observed the classroom and came to my own conclusion. I know that I had to see it for myself in order to make an informed decision.
So, while I’m still scared about the future, I know we can cross one option off the list.