Special Needs in the early years

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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Special Needs in the early years

Unread post by cbollin » Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:08 pm

Special needs children and scheduling in outside preschool
Sweetpetunia wrote:How many others here have had to put their special needs children in programs and can you tell me more about them and your experiences with them?

I'm a little worried this is going to make homeschooling my girls a bit harder since we'll have to work around DS's school schedule. I'd love to hear any tips or suggestions about that too. Thanks so much for any help you can give.
Alright -- it's rough to do outside preschools and therapies. But I'm so glad we did. She needed way more than I could do at home. There were certainly days where it was hard!!!! to do what needed to be done, but ... well.... we were sure it was what God was providing for the right time.

If you go the public route, you might be eligible for door to door service on the bus. Certainly worth asking. I was in private schools so I had to supply the transport. It required me to be at the top of my game most days. We had to work very efficiently during her class time.

Advantages to outside therapies/classes for developmental delays:
*it can be good depending on the teachers and their approaches. God provided exactly what my daughter needed with both schools. She really had more opportunities to learn how to play with a wider variety of toys and it carried over to home. And the church preschool and I were on the same wavelength in terms of educational philosophies. There were several times the director heard what we were doing in homeschool and just was happy.

*the structure was good for my youngest.

*it was tough to juggle schedules --- but doable with MFW. I was doing MFW in the midst of the last 3.5 years of a lot of outside preschool too. Not pretty. Not always done "by noon" (whatever), but done.

*another advantage for me was that the other teachers had the time and energy to try new stuff and I only had to carry it over at home.

Disadvantages ---
*welcome to the world of IEP meetings. It's a rite of passage.
*Also, in public schools, no religion based. Well, I had that disadvantage at the university too.

You have to set the goals and see if any outside source meets those goals. and of course, ask God what programs HE has set up for it this year.


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Unread post by mikesherry » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:40 pm

Both of my daughters attended an early childhood program for ages 3-5, for the 2 years before they enter kindergarten. It was called phonology because it was only for kids with only speech delays. I am now homeschooling them both (k and 1st)

The preschool was great. They loved it, had a wonderful teacher that is still a resource for me now--even though we are homeschooling. It was so much help for them in speech and it gave them a lot of confidence to branch out a little bit and talk more-they were really shy.

There were times when I took them to school and picked them up (a 20 min drive to get there) and there were other times in my life that I had them ride the bus (especially right after I had my son) because I felt that my other kids didn't need to be in the car that much. Mostly I took them in the morning and they rode the bus home and got home before lunch.

The program was from 8:30-11am.

I think with the small class size and specialized training, it seems like it would be a good option for you. I know in our state, once you turn 6 and homeschool, you do not qualify for any special needs services, so I was glad we were able to give the kids that treatment when they needed it.

If you have any other questions for me, just ask..
We will be starting this fall with a 3rd grader, 2nd grader and 4 year old and a 1 year old and a new baby arrival in Jan or Feb.

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Unread post by kellybell » Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:56 am

I think a hard thing would be to agree to some sort of schooling when you are a dyed in the wool homeschooler. You know, thinking, "I can't put my son on a bus" or "I can't send him into a class where someone else is teaching." I know I'm like that.

HOWEVER, when it comes to receiving special care for special needs, I think that can be (probably not in every circumstance) a good reason to take advantage of the services out there.

But it's hard to give yourself permission sometime. Perhaps it feels like you are going soft on your homeschooling stance. But, I disagree. It's hard enough to "do it all" (or even "to do most of it" ... or even "cover the bases somewhat") when you have a family of children that either have no special needs or very limited special needs. It would be especially challenging to "do it all" when one or more children need special help.

(Typical Kelly response:) I encourage you to pray about this program and what to do. And, if the LORD leads you to participate in it, then do so! You will not be any less of a homeschooler, any less of a good mom dedicated to her children. You'll simply be an excellent follower of Christ doing what he's pointed out to you to do. Obedience is key!

Reading your post reminds me of a terrific homeschooling family the next town over. My dh used to work with the dh of this family. They had about a dozen children, and the ones I met were excellent. One child was born with Down Syndrome and went totally deaf as an infant. The parents prayed and enrolled him in a public school program for special kids and he flourished there. She was no less of a homeschooler because she used the resources that she needed for this child. She loved (loves) that child totally and the program was an answer to prayer.

Take the time to pray and talk with dh and listen to where God will have you put him.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

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Unread post by mgardenh » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:47 pm

Hugs to you. I have a dd on the spectrum (aspergers) but she actually may be very hi end of the spectrum.

One question you want to answer is do you want to school a special needs child. It can be done but you'll need help. And it is ok if you decide to put him in some public or private school. You do what is best for your family and don't worry about not homeschooling him or homeschooling him (you will do great either way).

One thing to check on is will the school do therapy at home. Every state is different and every law is different in each state. Our state is no longer allowing home therapy but God is good with our youngest we had our IEP and the school administrator said "why aren't we doing therapy at home for this child" in a very kind way she said she did not want to be responsible for a child's death (dd has very severe allergies to dairy, soy and other things). So the administrator pushed the issue for us and we will now have services at home. So check with your school policy.

Also if you go with the school be prepared to have academic reasons ready in order for the child to receive services you have to frame it in how it will effect them academically. You can email me if you need ideas at mgardenh@yahoo.com.

If you go the private route or even public school route get them to show you what to do and how to do the therapies so you can work on things at home. This will be of benefit. If you go private check your insurance, a lot of insurance will not cover anything that says or indicates autism. SO what you do is have the speech people just code it for speech and not bring in autism.

Also look for an autism network in your area or state. We have one that will do evals (complete ones) for free (well they charge your insurance but what is not covered is not charged to you). You definitely want to know where he falls in the spectrum and get and idea of all the different areas affecting him. This will help you know what therapies you need and things that affect him will make so much more sense to you.

On the sensory issue do you brush him (a technique to help with sensory stuff, a brush that you use all over his body and then do message and joint compression). If not look in to this it is of tremendous help.

So I have rambled on long enough. ((hugs)) to you.
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR

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Unread post by mgardenh » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:11 am

Sweetpetunia wrote:Also, we don't have health insurance, so I'm pretty worried about DS needing therapies that we probably won't be able to afford. I guess I shouldn't be. God will provide.

Thanks again everyone for all your help. I'm going to go back throught the posts and re-read them, making notes of all the different points you all mentioned. Hopefully I can get it all straightened out in my head and find some help for DS.
Can you get Medicaid (or Medicare) for dear son? I was really surprised at how high your income could be and get this for your children. Don't think you make too much money, check it out. Because with three children you can make a lot more and still qualify. My point is that they do cover therapies and such for children with autism. Just wanted to through that out there for you as a possibility.

God bless you
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR

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Unread post by RedTulipMom » Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:28 pm

Brand new here and haven't even decided on a curriculum (but leaning toward MFW) but i read this thread and just had to respond.

I have 3 children. My oldest son just turned 20 yrs old, my middle son is PDD-NOS (autism spectrum) and is 4 yrs old. My baby is 17 mos old.

Anyhoo..i homeschooled my oldest child from 4th grade thru the end of highschool. I had EVERY intention of homeschooling all future children BEFORE they were even born. So it definitely threw a loop in my plans when my middle child didnt crawl till 10.5 mos or walk till 17.5 mos and had sensory issues from birth and i just KNEW something wasn't quite right. I got him started in EI at 19 mos old and he had at home therapies for speech, OT and Dev from 19 mos till his 3rd bday.

I got the "official" Pdd-nos diagnosis when my son was 32 mos (4 mos before his third bday). They kick you out of EI on your 3rd birthday and at that point want you in the public school system special ed program. i was AGAINST it at first because i NEVER PLANNED on sending my 2 youngest to pre-school or any school. At 32 mos and with a diagnosis on the spectrum my son wasn't talking AT ALL yet.

I was upset to find out the pre-school program was 5 days per week for 2.5 hrs per day. plus they wanted to bus him to a further school. i NEVER imagined sending my 3 yr old on a school bus 5 days a week to SCHOOL! i had to really PRAY and ask God to guide me! He made it clear that Luke still needed some OT and speech and would get it FREE through this program. Our insurance only covered OT and not speech for private therapies. SOOOOOO...at age 3 my son started in the public school special ed pre-school program. He is in his 2nd yr of it right now. HE LOVES IT! he started talking a week after his 3rd birthday and now talks in paragraphs. With all the OT therapy from 19 mos to present he went from having MAJOR sensory issues to barely having any. He will now play in the sand box, swim in a pool, play with play dough..things i NEVER thought he would do!!

All this to say...Early intervention is GREAT! It is also necessary for those on the spectrum. Pray..seek God..he will guide you..and show you how LONG to keep your son in the program also.

Luke has attended the pre-school for age 3 and 4. I am feeling strongly that God wants me to take luke out of the program at the end of this year and start homeschooling him next yr instead of having him stay for the kindergarten year (which would be FULL DAY). he has made DRASTIC improvements and i think i can handle homeschooling him now..with God's help of course.

It's a hard thing to do...but they do get alot out of the therapies. When my son was first diagnosed i was told he was "mild to moderate" on the spectrum. i honestly believe he is now only mild and i am sure when i bring him back this march for a review they will tell me so.

Seek God...do what he wants..it will all work out.


Mama of a 3 y.o. little girl feeling GUILTY but lost!!

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:56 pm

cinmor wrote:My 3 y.o. daughter has been a bit behind on her talking/language comprehension. I had her do an early intervention program for toddlers. Took a break from that because of moving, but once we got here (Texas) I got her into the program last summer and she had MULTIPLE screenings. She was never officially "diagnosed" with anything, the closest thing being sensory integration issues (and frankly, I am glad she hasn't been labeled, and my husband and I actually have prayed and feel that there were things spoken over her or labeled on her that were unnecessary). We looked into more speech therapy with the school district, but she was not qualified as apparently their budget is SO tight that you have to have a serious disability in order to qualify.

She exhibits SOME behaviors that would make one think there were some autistic tendencies but not much.....tippy toe walking, extremely sensitive to loud noises (completely goes crazy, even when we were singing Happy Birthday to her at her party), still is somewhat behind in the language comprehension (although she is doing better). She's a WHIZ though at her letters, numbers, shapes, colors etc, and she can watch a movie like once and have the whole thing memorized!! She loves music and singing, she's always moving and jumping and has seriously NO fear. She does some of the arm flapping stuff too but more when she's just really excited or upset. She can draw circles, up and down lines, side to side lines, not really anywhere close to coloring inside the lines though.

So my feelings of guilt come from first of all I wonder if too much T.V. or something has contributed to this issue with her. Since I hs my oldest (adventures) I let her watch a show or two in the mornings, but then my husband will also let her watch a show in the evenings or whatever while we're making dinner. I want to work with her more on things (things like, the "wh" questions like what do we eat with? Where do we sleep? Where do we wear a shirt?), doing more art projects and working more on letters and coloring and fine motor skills. But in the mornings it seems like it's a battle with my oldest to even get STARTED, then to get the morning assignments DONE, and before we know it my youngest has been left to her own devices to play or watch TV until lunchtime then she has a nap!!!!

I'm just to a point where I really want to embrace this season I'm in as a homeschooling mama, as I believe this is the role God has given to me, but sometimes I just feel like my youngest is short changed. Just looking for input, advice, someone to tell me I haven't totally screwed her up!!! Bless you my fellow homeschool mamas!! (and dads)
I'd recommend a book called "Out of Sync Child" and its follow up "Out of Sync Child Has Fun". Dont' think of identifying a problem as a label.... it's like with me.... I have low iron count and therefore have something called anemia. So, with that "label" I know to go get some iron supplements. It's like that with our children. and besides that... once we have the name of it.. we can say that Jesus is the Name above even that name.

Children who are "out of sync" often need a sensory "diet". Now that doesn't mean new food items or running over to supplements... it's just a way of saying that they need something to help that part of their body work a little better...

Check out HeadsupNow.com
go to sensory pages and look at some of the books that Melinda has listed there. See if your library has some of those. If not, see about getting

here.. .it's not that competes with mfw, so I'm going to link to it
http://www.headsupnow.com/products-page ... fidgeting/
take a look through there. Melinda has a great workshop about incorporating sensory activities in home setting.

No - watching TV did not cause it. let go of that guilt. been there, done that....

you mentioned the constant motion.... I should mention my youngest was a "proprioceptive" seeker -- always moving, jumping, no fear, yet at the same time, aware of dangers. I never figured out exactly how she scaled the fridge at the old house. I mean... she had to go up the side from the counter, but .. how did she get the last part? She wanted the box of Corn Flakes, so she was motivated. (after that I moved the box to a shelf much lower). She was busy studying how to get down from the fridge that day. She needed both hands, so eventually put the bag (without box) of cereal in her mouth and climbed down to me. then she had her cereal, and I got her dressed......

a trampoline was nice. one of those exercise size one... a swing set in the back yard.... and she still dances a lot while watching the wiggles....

now, we ended up using some private preschools for her. But even so, she'd have to come home and be at home other times of day. then eventually she was home for kindy...

I have memories from when she was 1, middle gal was 4 and doing at home speech therapy, and oldest was 7? yeah, that sounds right on the numbers.... anyway.. I would start the school day with needs of the middle gal really. She did speech therapy in a clinic setting. The at home stuff with her was preschool and "clinic homework". She wasn't doing an off campus preschool. So oldest would help me play with her for all of that.

Then, oldest was ready for some big kiddo school work and because I had given middle gal some time 15-30minutes... she was ready to do her own thing. So, Peanut over there (the youngest) was a little thing back then and to put it mildly??????? she was in constant motion and miserable. So upside down she went in a sling or swing or high chair with an ice cube or mashed potatoes...

I know I started with the younger kiddos and then got oldest to do big kid stuff. After giving the little kiddos some one on one time, the youngest were ready to do something (toss mashed potatoes on her own face, or play with shortening on the kitchen floor (don't do that. it's hard to clean)) or watch some videos while I worked with oldest for 30 minutes or so. I know some people aren't fans of using tv... but once I realized that some shows were helping with speech goals, or that certain library videos were helping.... and my child liked it... well... it was what I needed to do.

ok, the shortening on the kitchen floor... I remember that. it was in 2006, so she was 4. LOL LOL. We had the shortening and they were ice skating. I thought.. get a mop and squeegee thingee and it'd clean. but one of them got flour and then,,, well.. then, the water.. and well..

Homeschooling is fun and messy and hard work. all of that was let you know.. it's going to be ok.

I sent you some ideas on speech development - specifically with preschool level materials in "reading comprehension" category on superduper inc.

I also want to give a plug for MFW's Pre K program. Those activity cards have lots of age appropriate language development and fine motor stuff.

and of course, I'd encourage you to have a listen to David Hazell's workshop on Occupying Preschoolers while teaching older children. http://www.mfwbooks.com/products/25/Workshops-on-CD/

It's encouraging to hear that even parents of children with regular needs face the same struggles we do.

Give plenty of visual clues on those WH questions. Model it ahead of time. Point to the picture of the person. Start slowly, build it more complicated as you go along.
Who and What are easier to learn, so start there.

and I know at least one child out there in my cyber friends who was a sensory not autism child. It took him longer to outgrow certain odd stuff, but with time it did. Same with my middle gal.

Do you need any kind of "speech goals" sheet or specifics to work on other than "wh questions?" If so, if you are a member of HSLDA, they rent something called the Brigance Inventories. You can use that as a way to check progress.
I've also used VORT Help Strands.


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Re: Mama of a 3 y.o. little girl feeling GUILTY but lost!!

Unread post by Caryn » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:56 am

I don't have any advice/insight, but just wanted to encourage you and remind you that God has given her the perfect family for HER! As long as you keep praying and trusting the Lord for wisdom and guidance, you're all going to be fine :) Don't feel guilty. If you think there is a practical change that needs to be made, then go ahead and make it, but feeling guilty just robs you of your joy!

And, yes, what Crystal said ;) LOL!
dd9, ds8, and ds3 (Speech therapy and pre-k)
Pre-k (twice), K (twice), 1st (twice), Adventures, ECC and currently CtG
My blog: Considering Wildflowers

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Re: Mama of a 3 y.o. little girl feeling GUILTY but lost!!

Unread post by cinmor » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:45 pm

Okay, so now that I have a few minutes to actually sit down and post!!!
Wow, today was one of THOSE days. First of all, I'm weaning myself off caffeine, so I've dealt with a headache all day which is not helpful!!

Crystal, I have checked out Out of Sync Child, maybe I need to get it again because it was a little overwhelming to me because I wasn't really sure what to start with with her.

Caryn, thanks so much to you as well for your words of encouragement. I do try to remind myself that WE were the family for her, and so I know that God will give me the wisdom I need to help her!!!

UGh...being tired and having a headache makes everything seems 10x more huge and hard!!! I think I'll be hitting the hay early tonight.
Cindy M
Mama to
Joseph Age (18 mos)
Mikayla Age (8)~Completing Learning God's story, moving on to Adventures/Exp to 1850 with big sis
Hannah Age (12)~Already completed MFW K,1st, Adv, ECC, CTC, and RTR, now doing Exp to 1850


Re: Mama of a 3 y.o. little girl feeling GUILTY but lost!!

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:48 am

One bit of encouragement.....if she has that much pretend play at this age, you are most likely not dealing with autism.
cinmor wrote:Oh Crystal....tell me more about VORT STrands??
VORT Strands and their HELP (Hawaii Early Learning Profile) is designed for "professionals" to use. They offer developmental checklists in all domains (cognitive, language, fine motor, gross motor, self help). After someone does the official "assessment" with the checklist, then you use the curriculum/activities to work on those skill strands that need more help. It turned out that the local university has a resource center (for the public) with the assessment manual. So, I checked that out of the university library, went home and did my own evals from it. And then ordered the "Activities at Home" book (that's the current name..) I know the website says it's not for direct use by parents. But with a home school name that wasn't our last name and then they saw the zip code and asked if we were with the university. I said, my husband is a staff researcher there, yes. so, I don't know if I had just used our home school name, and listed me as an admin assistant if they would have done the order, but I don't think they require a letterhead purchase order either.

One of the advantages of something like VORT comes when you're transitioning out of clinic settings. That advantage is that you can look more professional to others. It has all of these things you can do in non clinical setting to work on specific skills in those areas that have been identified as behind the curve in developing. And with fancy lingo on them. I"ll send you a link to preview the sample. Do I think it is needed? nah... but I do think having some kind of developmental checklist to check progress is a good thing when a child has needed more help. HSLDA rents Brigance inventory checklist. there's a wait list I guess on that.

I used lots of what we were already doing with middle and youngest - if they liked watching Dora, then I would use characters for Dora to teach WH's and sequencing. and because we were in clinic setting, they were able to give me copies of fun decks to do at home. Once I had just a sample (like you can see on website at superduperinc), I was able to repeat that at home. Very short passages, or very short talking time, and use visuals and prompts.

Since your daughter clearly has pretend play abilities (rejoice in that! I was thrilled when youngest finally got that skill around age 5 or so), do things like tea parties with stuffed animals. It's ok to start with a story line from a favorite tv show, but start to invite characters from other shows to visit and play... see where the story goes from there as you talk together. What happens when Dorothy the Dinosaur visits Yo Gabba Gabba Land and they all take a trip to the Christmas tree which is in Bethlehem :) now that's preschool time language arts! oh, yes, my youngest had everyone going to see the baby Jesus. She had Barbie and Ken going there too. It was an interesting nativity scene in our house for about 4 weeks. and yes, that was just this Christmas.

anyway, you can get the idea that I'm willing to turn TV time into active learning time. Yes, they need to watch less, but given that my youngest just went outside and is digging in the dirt (hey.. get your coat honey..) balance. moderation. use it as a springboard. watch together when you can. play the scenes..... use what works on those shows to teach... I know when Dora first came out, my oldest was about 5 and I thought it was the dumbest show. But wow... it was key ingredient for my other two girls to learn how to sequence events and learn what comes next.

what shows up in my inbox but the latest newsletter from hslda's struggling learners group. LOL check your email for a forwarded email from me for that :)

(((hugs)) on headache.
cinmor wrote:Hmmm...I wonder if the VORT stuff is something I can find around here, close to the University of Mary Hardin Baylor?

Going to go back to the library again and get the Out of Sync Child Has Fun book again, and put together my box of "tricks" to start things with school a little bit differently next week.

I appreciate your help very very much!!! Have a blessed weekend if I don't "talk" to you before then. :)

Julie in MN
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Just got autism dx for dd/feeling frazzled

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:39 pm

cinmor wrote:Hi everyone,
My youngest dd just got a "moderate autism disorder" diagnosis this week. I am praying about what school will look like for her; I'm really apprehensive about putting her in public school, especially due to the district we are in not being great at all. She will be doing kindy next year. Right now, she plays a lot, watches PBS shows some mornings while I"m trying to work one on one with my 9 yo, she will practice her writing with a LOT of coaxing from me, she likes to do math games and patterns, but she knows all her letter sounds, numbers, colors, shapes, etc. I don't know if I should be pushing her to do more or to just follow her lead?

<hugs> on the new diagnosis. I'm sure that is making everything seem overwhelming right now. I love an old post with a link to a "welcome to Holland" encouragement:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 200#p92200

I admit I'm a better-late-than-early gal, but I think just waiting on the academics for your youngest will do her no harm. My oldest didn't start K until he was 6 years 2 months, and now he's an engineer. The thing is that he didn't have ANY academics before starting kindergarten. He seemed almost hyperactive as a preschooler, and yet when he was 6, he just loved the newness of academics and learning went quickly. I am not convinced that learning letters and such is the best "prep" for K. Here was a recent thread about things to focus on before kindergarten, if it helps at all: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 352#p96352
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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Re: Just got autism dx for dd/feeling frazzled

Unread post by MelissaB » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:43 am

Hi, Cindy,

Go to Temple Grandin's website for autism.

Blessings to you ~
Melissa B.
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

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