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Old 12-20-2010, 03:46 PM
 
5 posts, read 18,289 times
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We are looking at the Loudoun/NOVA area to relocate with our 2 sons. We are exhausted from lackluster education and lack of therapists in our area for our youngest son with high functioning autism. Can anyone tell us if there is an abundance of therapy oriented preschools in Loudon/Leesburg/NOVA area? It seems Loudoun is tops for education in VA if expense is not an issue. How does the school's administrations recieve one with needs? Open arms?... or...standoffish for fear of state test results. Some of our researching finds VA has IDEA (or parents rights) as do most states, which in some areas, are about as good as the paper they are printed on, and we don't want to have to bring our attorney too. Just want to fall into place. We were using Charlottesville as a "plan B" possibility as they have UVA and it seems they have more preschools, although maybe not the same great amenities as NOVA. Any parents with little ones on the spectrum in NOVA? Thanks.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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I don't know how you decided that Loudoun County is tops for education; I think many people here would quibble with that, and most would give that honor to Fairfax County. However, with respect to preschools for kids with HFA, the Auburn School, which currently serves grades K-8 for kids with Asperger's and HFA, is currently in the planning process regarding opening a preschool. Check out their web site - theauburnschool.org.
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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It might be easier to know what area you are moving from. Most will find that the schools here are superior to other parts of the country and that the resources for all students (those with disabilities and those with abilities) are immense in both Loudon and Fairfax County. You might check with both county schools to see if your child would qualify for preschool services.
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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Thank you very much for your input. But I was hoping to get a "feel" of what other parents have experienced moving to this school system with a child with Autism. Some school districts provide willingly and easily while others shun you for fear of dropping their test scores. I have called and researched and am now looking for example cases. Not too worried about the general quality of the education in VA as we are coming from Florida's schools which are 40 something in the US (not good).
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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Okay, I deleted my post because I was responding about schools in NoVa in general, not preschools. But I'll leave it up here this time. Ignore it if it's not helpful.

We have experiences with both public and private schools. The private school option for special needs kids is very expensive, over $28K/yr. There are private schools with lower tuition, but they don't specifically address spectrum kids and most times won't accept them into their program. They simply aren't equipped to serve that population. My daughter's commute to school is about an hour each way, every day. This is some of the best money we've spent dealing with her mild/mod Aspergers and ADHD, but the distance takes its toll.

The public schools are a mixed bag. Ideally, each child is entitled to equal access to the same education, blah, blah, blah. The reality is most spec. ed. programs are only as good as the principal and teachers who administer them. Obviously it varies from school to school and even from classroom to classroom within the same school. Your child has a diagnosis, so I assume you all have an IEP. That should put you ahead of the game. But even so, I would advise you to prepare yourself for the fulltime job of being your child's advocate. (I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know in that regard!) Even after my daughter had a diagnosis and an IEP and I had discussed with her teachers what needed to be done, sometimes it wasn't. I have nothing but sympathy for a teacher with thirty kids in her classroom, but my concern is whether my child is getting what the school is legally required to give her. It required a lot of communication and reminders and conferences.

Did my daughter get a good education during the time she was in public schools? Yes, she did. Did I have to stay on top of the school and occasionally her teachers to make sure her IEP was being followed? Yes, I did. She had some outstanding teachers who went above and beyond to educate her, even before she had her IEP. She also had a teacher who didn't tell me how OCD her meds were making her in the classroomeven though I was photocopying for that teacher every week.

Faced with the prospect of sending our daughter to an overcrowded middle school where they couldn't guarantee special ed services year to year because of budget cuts, we decided to enroll her in a private school for children with learning differences. It was one of the smartest moves we've made.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:18 AM
 
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Thanks for the input. We hear many say that the NoVA schools are extremely crowded, although good. Having said that, we've thought maybe the Charlottesville area could be a better pick since it is still good VA education and they seem to have UVA pushing for Autism research.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:00 AM
 
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If that works for your family, I would move there. The lifestyle and pace of life is MUCH more relaxed than it is around here and the traffic here is beyond description. Good luck.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:23 PM
 
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Loudoun Preschool Autism-
As a former Autism teacher in this county - I DO NOT RECOMMEND LOUDOUN COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR THIS DISABILTY AREA. Go to Fairfax county. It is much better and much more progressive. They use the principals of ABA in all of their classrooms from Prek thru HS. I use to work there too. Loudoun county public schools is seriously lacking in providing appropriate programming, trained staff and ongoing training for this area of disability. You will waste precious time if you attend LCPS. Invest in a ABA therapist and academic tutor in addition to your schooling. It will pay off in the long run.
Best Wishes
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