View Full Version : Public school services for 3-4 year old kids with Autism diagnoses

02-29-2012, 09:58 PM
I'm trying to gauge if the services my son is receiving are on par with other school districts. Can anyone share what kinds of classroom experiences their ASD preschoolers have/had?

For reference, currently my son gets 20 hrs/week of classroom services, in a room that has 13 students with autism diagnoses. There is one teacher (who is also a SLP), and three aides. There is another identical room, with the same staffing ratio. They are in the process of adding a 3rd room, but they are only hiring one teacher, so each room will be 8 or 9 students (for now) with one teacher but only two aides. One O/T is shared among all the rooms.

There are 3 levels of autism classrooms in his school, with the middle level being the one described above. The students in the middle level are verbal, but need a lot of prompting/behavior intervention/visual supports. Once they are ready, they move up the next level which is only 12 hours/week and where the classrooms include general education students as well as students with other disabilities.

Anyways, I worry. I know public schools can't keep up with the increase in students with this diagnosis. Every time they add a new student, the kids in the rooms (including mine) start acting out more to get attention. Which disrupts progress he's been making towards his goals. Do most people just give up and switch to expensive private clinics? Fight the schools with lawyers to pay for outside services when you feel what is being provided is inadequate? Or is what I'm getting already beyond what most public schools offer?

Thanks for any advice!

02-29-2012, 10:43 PM
Our district doesn't have preschool classrooms that are specific for autism. In fact under the age of 5, all kids needing special ed services get an educational classification of "Preschool Child with a Disability" (PCWD) instead of a more specific disability category.

As a preschooler, DS got 10 hours a week in a special need preschool classroom - 4 days week for 2.5 hours a day. The class had 8-10 students, half had special needs and half were typical peers. DS received speech, OT, and APE in the classroom setting.

To supplement this, we did about 15 hours a week of ABA/VB therapy at home. We also did private speech and OT. We went to an autism playgroup once a week. We did a movement class and swim lessons to work on strength and coordination.

The lack of a preschool program specific to autism was one of the reasons we choose to move DS up to Kindy at age 5 and not do an additional year of preschool. We knew he could get more appropriate services as a school age child instead of a preschooler.

03-01-2012, 10:23 AM
Our system also doesn't have a preschool autism classroom. The only option was a class that housed all special needs.

I think we had less than 10 kids, 1 teacher and 2 aides per class. The ST, SW and OT came in weekly to do group work and then DS was pulled for individual sessions as well.

I wasn't thrilled with the class or services, and we did pursue private therapies, so if something had to be cut-back, I didn't mind reducing his time in that classroom.

03-05-2012, 02:23 PM
DS was in an integrated preschool. There was one classroom for kids with more severe issues (any issue—ASD, hearing loss, developmental delays, physical issues, etc.) and then everyone else was placed in the integrated class for all or part of the day. DS started out in the mornings in an inclusion classroom (about 13 kids, 1 main teacher, 2 aides) and then the afternoons in a segregated class of only the students on IEPs (so there were many fewer students, I think 5 at the most but still three adults at least). It was a total of 30 hours/week.

03-07-2012, 12:13 AM
At 3 years old DD1 was in the Early Childhood program which was for kids with any kind of disability. She had anywhere from 6-8 kids depending on the day of the week and what time of year as some kids came later in the year when they turned 3. This was mon-thurs for 2hrs 40mins. There was one main teacher, 2 aides, an SLP who worked in the classroom and outside the classroom, and a OT who was sometimes in the classroom but most of the time outside the classroom. We did private speech and OT weekly as well. We kept her in EC another year since she has a summer birthday, was behind in everything, and thought she could do better with fewer kids for another year. Then we also started 20 hours of ABA therapy at home. Once she turned 5 she went to a regular K4 class ( and had to switch schools because only one of the neighborhood schools has the EC program) with one teacher and 1 aide. She would get pulled out for speech and OT.