mmm, Montesorri School and the doctor

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
mmm, Montesorri School and the doctor
6
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 9:16am
Sorry i havent been around to read posts. I have had my hands full with some things. One of them was Catie's Psychologist appointment on Thursday. I asked some of the questions you guys threw my way, and i thought you guys would be interested in finding out what he said.

Although he hasnt exactly ruled PDD or Asperger's out, he has called her "gifted", "a gift", and "special" during this last visit. Nothing new was really discussed, but i did go back and ask the questions that came up.

"When you said preschool, did you have something specific in mind??" His answer was one word and direct "Montesorri". I nodded my head and he said "You have heard of it?" and i said, Well, someone mentioned that last week as i was wondering where i was going to find a school for a 3 year old. So i looked it up on the web and read a little about it. He said "That is great! I highly recommend this type of schooling for her". When i mentioned we cant afford to send her to school 8 hours a day, he suggested starting her out for part time, 5 days a week. And then when public school starts, to enroll her that as well. For instance, if Montesorri is 3 hours a day in the mornings, take her for the 4 hours twice a week in the afternoons to the public preschool. He said that way, she gets the teachings of montesorri, and a little bit of structure in the public. See how she does, and if she seems not to do well, pull her out of public. he again highly recommended enrolling her in Tumbling classes and swimming lessons. He said to over whelm her with socializing.

He also said that she is so far behind socially and speech wise, but that she is SOOO advanced intellectually, that it is "appearing" as though she has PDD. But he is pretty sure that if we bring up her social skills and speech, these tendencies will go away. He suggested private speech therapy.

I have called my insurance company, and this is the kicker. They will pay for speech therapy if it is caused by an illness, but NOT if it due to developemental delay. Well, she is developementally delayed due to chronic ear infections and tubes when she was younger. So, i have a call into her doctor to see if maybe through "wording", i can get a recommendation for speech therapy. Still waiting for her to call back.

As far as discipline. I explained to him our battles, and he suggested "overcorrection". For instance, she is still messing with the front door. He suggested taking her by the hand, standing about 5 feet from the door, and walking towards the door singing "dum dee dum doo dee" and then when you get about a foot from the door, to yell STOP! Then bend down and touch the carpet and say "GOOOOOOOOOOOD carpet!!" and then reach up and point to the door and yell "BAD! BAD DOOR!!! BAD!!! NO NO NO door!!!" Then to repeat it from 5 to 10 times. Then he said the MINUTE she places her hand on the door, to repeat the excercise. After several times of having to do this, start placing her in time out.

Now, i explained her violence when in time out. He strongly recommended that i continue to place her in Time out, in her room. BUT... he said after a few minutes, take a blanket and go into her room. Shut the door behind me, and sit in front of the door on the floor with my legs crossed. Place the blanket on my head, covering my face. And then speak softly to her. "Catie, when you are ready, you may come and sit in my lap and we can talk about this." i looked at the guy really strangely... lol... "A blanket on my head????" He said it has something to do with connection and having her being consoled with out her feeling like she is giving in... etc. i dont know about that one. I still havent told my husband about this one. He would look at me like i was on some form of drugs!! lol Needless to say i havent tried it yet, but i havent had to put her in time out either.

he also said "use a reward only program as much as possible. When you need to transition her from one thing to another, understand not only do you need to distract her, change her attention, you also need to change how the chemicals in her brain is working. Offer her candy, cookies, stroke her with a feather, keep a favorite soft item in your pocket, etc. But dont offer her a cookie that you dont have on you, or candy in 5 minutes when you get home. You have to keep these items on you at all times." I brought up that with myself coming from an overweight family, and us having diabetes in our family, i really dont want to use food as a reward. I dont think it is justifiable to give my child candy simply because i want her to do something. I think that as a parent, she should do it "because i told her to" I can't see myself watching my child stand in the middle of the street, and i go digging through my purse for something to distract her. you know??

He said i need to change the way i think. Since we dont have a "normal" child, all "normal" parenting goes right out the window. Both Dh's and my parents were spankers. And even though it didnt happen very often, and we WERENT abused, spanking seemed to get the point across when nothing else did. Even my mom said last week "when you didnt listen to the first 5 warnings, all i had to do was pop you on the rear and you straightened right up. i never had you continue to do what i was scolding you for. Spankings seemed to solve the problem." Well, with Catie it doesnt. And the doctor said it wont. To tell my parents, and anyone else who seems to have an opinion on it, that Catie is different and she isnt the "normal" child. :sighing: ok, fine.

As far as schooling, he said "Catie marches to her own drum. She is extremely independent and that is why she has no anxiety as far as seperation and fear. She does things at her own pace, and you have battles with her when you try to get her to do things at YOUR pace. She wont do something until she has made up her mind she is ready to do it. Your job is get her to WANT to do it. (ugh) Public school will give her MOST trouble. It is very structured, and Catie wont react well to it. With enough socializing, she may come around, but again, i feel she is best in Montesorri school."

So i did some calling around. I called a Montesorri school about 20 minutes from here. They said they charge 600 full time per month, or 250 for 3 hours a day 5 days a week. Which doesnt sound really bad. Now, my husband didnt go to the last 2 appointments with me, so when i brought this up, his first question was "Why are we going to pay for something that we get free through the public school district??"

I have a friend in California who is a teacher. And once she heard all of this, she said "Helen, you are going to have to accept that your daughter will NEVER be in a normal school setting again. Just get over that now." and she gave me a great analogy for my husband.

"Let's say you had a lifetime supply of free ramon noodles. Yes, it feeds you. It fills you up. But if you have 300 bucks and there is a grocery store down the street, wouldnt you rather have steak and potatoes?? After a while ramon noodles will get old, and boring. This is Catie and public school. She will become bored, she will act out, she will fail because she wont apply herself. Just because it is FREE doesnt mean it is BETTER. Your job as parents is to feed her brain, make sure she is challenged, and to educate her to the best of your ability. and if that means private schools, that suck it baby, cause that is what happens when you have a kid. SOme are born need extra medical care, yours was born needing extra educational care."

So, i told my husband the scenerio, and he seemed to understand it better. We have an appointment today with a Montesorri school. I will try to post tonight and let you know how it goes. I sat down last night with a piece of paper and our budget. We CAN afford to send her part time. We just had a budget planned for getting a second car, and buying a house. So, i had to show him we can still do the rest, but it will just take a little longer. And it is all about priorities. So, he is finally going in open minded.

It is a little hard on him since he doesnt do the bills and i do. So, i have to SHOW him.

Sorry this is so long, i wanted to update you guys. oh, i almost forgot. My father wants me to go to another doctor and get a second opinion. When i asked him why, he said "well, because that is only an opinion. We all knew she was smart, but i have never heard of a doctor recommending private school." So i told him "think of it this. I am willing to try what this guy says because it 'makes sense'. If she goes for a few months, and nothing has changed, then yeah, i would agree with you. Autism wont just go away. no amount of socializing or private schooling will make her change. But i have NOTHING to loose by trying this. If this is what he says it is, then socializing her will solve the problem. If i go from doctor to doctor until someone tells me she is Autistic, has AS or PDD, and she actually ISN'T, that is a hard label to get lifted. I dont want Catie misdiagnosed. And at this point i have NOTHING to loose. Once she is diagnosed, it will be harder to get her life insurance, medical insurance, etc. So why not try this doctor's way first."

Would you guys agree with this???

Helen

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 8:31pm
Well, I'll just say this, go with your gut feelings. If you want to try this out and see if it works, then do it. If you don't feel that it is working for you and Catie, then you can look into that second opinion. A lot of professionals wanted to put my son on medication but I am looking into alternatives before we even consider that route. Why do it if you don't have to? If your daughter can improve with the given suggestions then why seek a diagnosis/label for her? My son was diagnosed but that was because he did need the treatment and services for autism (aspergers). Otherwise he would have never received the help he needed. I think you will know after trying this whether or need to seek more information or another opinion. Try it and listen to your gut, and do what you feel needs to be done. Never under estimate the intuition of a mother.

bless

bugs

Avatar for maresgood
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 9:07pm
hi, I just read your post & I think this psychol. has the right idea about Montessori but some of his other ideas seemed a little out there. My dd as I mentioned, loved the 3 yrs. she was in Montessori. Her teacher who had her masters picked up right away that she had attention problems esp. when it came to sitting still in circle & focusing on one thing. She told me early on that she thought she had ADD. Any good teacher will refer you if she feels that she isn't adjusting, fitting in, unable to sit still for a short period of time, etc. We changed my dd to public school because of the cost factor & because I felt she needed special ed & would be able to get the help she needed. She HATES public school & still misses the Mont. school (whenever we drive by she makes a comment) so try it & see if you like it. Also try the psychol. recommendations for about 3-6 months and if there isn't any improvement then I'd get a 2nd. oppinion. Good Luck- MaryAnn
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 2:05am
We went to the school today and i have to say i think i really liked it. They were VERY hands on. I brought Catie in with us and she had a blast. She was all over the classroom, checking out all the different puzzles and games. She carried a globe around the class room for alittle while. Plus they had birds, and fish and a huge turtle in the classroom. They said their teacher/student ratio right now is 1 to 6. But they normally like it 1/8 or 1/10. But they wont have it anymore than 1/12. Her classroom in public was going to be 1/17, with 5 of those students being from Early Intervention.

They quoted me 245 dollars a month, for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. And 5% off if we pay on time. Next door from the school is the home of a local police officer. And he owns a horse and a goat. So you can pet the horse from the parking lot of the school. The director is a former 911 operator. So all of the teachers have their finger prints on file with the state, and have heavy background checks. And he has strict security, including signing all children in and out, and matching IDs and signatures on pick ups. He and his wife run the school.

They both seemed extremely nice, and they felt Catie would fit right in. She was doing normal things like quickly going from item to item because she couldnt decide what she wanted to do first.

i have a good feeling this is where she will be attending. I just want to do some kind of check to see if the school has ever had any complaints against them. I have a major problem with trusting people with my child. He did however say the school has been open for 14 years, and they had just moved into a new larger building. And all of the landscaping was being done by the parents of students who offered to pitch in and help to keep costs down.

I agree with both posts so far. I think i should follow my instincts and try this for a while. I dont think it could possibly hurt her. We can only try it for a few months and see.

As far as one of the things this Psych has suggested. When i am trying to tell Catie what is space she is allowed in and what is space she isnt, "the GOOOD carpet, BAD BAD DOOR!" scenerio has seemed to work pretty well. It has worked with Good Good Sidewalk, BAD BAD Street! And we havent had any trouble with her running into the street yet.

So, thanks for the support you guys. I had to sit down and show Dh that even though 250 bucks is alot of money, and it will take longer for us to get a second car, and a house, etc. That her schooling is more important. We have had one car for 18 months already. We have been renting for 5 years. But Catie will only be 3 once. And it is important that we try to get her caught up now, before she REALLY starts having trouble in school and acting out. This is just more important.

And he agreed. So, i think we are looking into placing her in Montessori School. We just want to make sure THIS is the right school for her.

Helen

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 3:46pm
Helen -- You mentioned how parents have done a lot of the work at the Montessori school. You may be able to get a tuition break if there's something you or DH can do to help out. One of my good friends has a child in Montessori and it's been a real financial struggle for them. They had originally worked out the her DH (who is a stay at home dad) would do janitorial work in exchange for a tuition break. Then they found out that her DH is an actor. He came in and helped some of the older kids with a play and drama unit they were doing. The staff was so thrilled with him that they've asked him to teach drama 20 hours a month with different classes at the school. That work will pay for their child's tuition.

On another note, your doctor is right when he says that traditional parenting and discipline techniques won't work with your child. Many kids on the spectrum, especially the EXTREMELY bright ones, don't see themselves as a child to your adult. They see themselves as on the same level as you. So "because I said so" is not going to work. But a lot of times, logic will work. I know, because many times, just explaining to my son Chris (10 year old, Aspie) WHY something is a rule will make him accept it, even when "because I said so," doesn't work. Also, enlisting your child's help in coming up with a list of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors can work, because then she will feel that she has some control. You may find that her rules may be even more strict than yours at times.

Good luck. Reading your posts has reminded so much of where we were six years ago. Believe me, it does get better. Chris is still challenging, but he's also one of the most delightful, exciting and interesting human beings I am privileged to know.

Elizabeth

mom to Chris, 10, AS

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Mon, 06-16-2003 - 6:22pm
Thanks Elizabeth,

I am actually very excited about introducing Catie to school and such. I have already made plans with my neighbor to take that 3 hours a day and make some rules with it. Absolutely NO housework, errand running, chores, etc is to be done in that 3 hours. that is MY time. I can read, work out, have my doctors appointments, etc. during that time. Then i wont feel so neglected all the time. Plus my neighbor and i have made a pact to start working out together and she wants to introduce me to yoga. I would LOVE to have a moment to sit on the floor and say MMMMMMMMM... ;)

I also called today and enrolled Catie in Tumbling/gymnastics. She will go once a week for an hour, for 30 dollars a month. Not too bad. And it gives her some time to be able to bounce off the walls. i am looking forward to it. it is year around, and right now she will start off in the mornings, and then once we enroll her school and she starts school, she will go to evenings.

I am actually looking forward to this. I have found the "good carpet, bad door" approach seems to work with her on alot of things. I havent had a chance to try the time out yet. But overall things are getting a little better. I am just glad they arent getting worse.

I have now pulled out her potty, and we are now going to try to get her into potty training. This Monterssori school has a 75 dollar registration fee that is non refundable, and she has to be potty trained. So i have until the end of August to get her trained. And we have a plane trip at the end of this week, Catie and i are going to California. Then we all go to Texas for the 4th. And then we have family coming up in August, and another family member coming up sometime between now and then. So, we have a busy schedule, and then to start her in gymnastics, and try to get her potty trained.

Thanks for the support, it is nice to know i am not alone. Everyone has been great. I appreciate it. Thanks for letting me know that it gets better. Maybe not easier, but better.

:)

Helen

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-17-2003 - 7:05pm
Montessori. Hm. We did try it -- and it was not a roaring success. The thing about Montessori, at least the school we attended, is that they provide a variety of hands-on activities that are supposed to be used in a particular way. Typical kids seem to automatically do what's expected (for example, sort objects by color, move objects from one place to another with the tool provided). Tommy did NOT. For instance, he was supposed to sort bits of colored plastic by color, but instead used them to make colored "glasses" to see through. At this school, that was NOT ok. First do it their way, then do it another way. And he just wasn't interested in doing it "their" way!

Lisa