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Old 03-23-2015, 01:16 PM
 
9 posts, read 9,998 times
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We are moving into the area and I have 3 lovely kiddos to consider We will be entering 2nd grade, 1st grade and 4 year old preschool program. My youngest 4 year old little hero has extensive special needs. He's currently in an integrated pre-school. He's semi-non verbal... he has some developing skills but uses a few works and mostly eye contact, gestures, holding your hand and leading you to what he wants to communicate. He is globally delayed due to his disorder but no behavior diagnoses. He does have medical concerns such as active seizure disorder (that is currently well controlled) and a G-tube (feeding tube - however, it is only used for his medications... not feeding) He's like a little teddy bear Loves kids, loves school but he's definitely very delayed.
NOW I have just had a whirlwind 2 days looking at neighborhoods, houses, etc and comparing commute times for my husband. For quality and life and my abilities to help maintain "normal" life (as best we can... with respect to their brother) for my 2 oldest girls and maintain my son's needs medically and with school, etc - where we live is quite important.
I'm looking for any advice on areas. We have zero'd in on some neighborhoods in Fairfax county that would use Ravensworth Elementary school in Springfield and I seem to gather mixed reviews there. We also found a home we are considering that puts us in Fairfax city area. Both of these areas keep us within a really decent commute time for my husband. ALSO important He is my best friend and when things are medically complicated for my son - we need to be close enough to support one another rather than balancing the major commute/traffic, etc.

We are moving from our Air Force base in the greater Boston area and have had wonderful school systems to support our needs. Our special Ed director intends to call and help sort out school options for us as well. It's daunting as a mom to make these decisions ahead of time that will impact my kids for the next 4 years and our school experience makes a major difference in our quality of life for even more reasons than most. Until this year - we had no time away from dealing with my son's needs LITERALLY until he integrated into some school hours and he has loved it AND WE HAVE TOO

THANKS to anyone who can help comment! I recognize there is no right answer.
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:27 PM
 
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Sounds like you have a lot of balancing to do when making your decision! This is a great place to get advice. It would help us to help you if you gave us a little more information about what you're looking for. Are you primarily asking for advice on schools/neighborhoods? If so, could you give a price range and where your husband will be working (location)? Or are you asking specifically about special ed programs?
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:36 PM
 
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Advice on all of the above
Hubby will work in Falls Church. We are out priced there So no bother looking. We really liked the homes in Signal Hill? I think that's the neighborhood area. It speaks to our aesthetics and just feels quite quant and comfy for our kids... we currently live on an Air Force base where my kids have neighbors to play with constantly. We love being outdoors and having yard (even if it's not huge) is VERY important. We also found a home we loved in Fairfax city which was close to their down-town. It was a lovely down-town area! The homes are much older and the neighborhood doesn't have that same feeling... doesn't have the HOA planned-neighborhood feel BUT it was close to a lovely park which is next to the school and the town was walkable to things like coffee, places to eat, etc. All really nice. It's a smaller home... but well done and great yard. Kinda like retrofitting a new home into an old house there --- verses a newer more open and slightly bigger home in Signal Hill (and the surrounding area/neighborhoods)
Both would put us in different school districts though. My girls both enjoy school and make friend's easily. My oldest has struggled with some reading/math and may need some extra support but she is a delightful student. She has a high-needs classroom now and she seems more worried about what everyone else is doing rather than herself. She does well with structure. Middle child is just that She loves school, delightful student, quite athletic and everything comes easy for her. She's quite bright and learns the ropes easily. Then my son is just my son. No doubt he has the medical concerns... and the gross developmental delays but he's also very social and does so well being integrated with other kids verses just singled out and pulled away.
You're right! MUCH balancing to be done so we are praying and preparing as best we can. We will actually move in July as my husband will start here on July 31st -- but we have some leeway on the details between now and then.
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:40 PM
 
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other things that are important will be finding a good church We will spend a fair amount of time in hospitals/medical needs but that exists no matter what or where. We cook A LOT and are rather controlled about foods... ideally I would live on a farm but that's not gonna happen here. So having fresh ingredients, free-range eggs and even cream line or raw milk - those kinds of things are part of our lifestyle (we have learned over the years with our food allergies just what we can do and handle so I mostly cook all things from scratch with the right quality ingredients! we don't mean to be snobs about it... ) --- so where we live now I use Costco, trader Joes and whole foods for most of our needs and I assume I would use the same here. Those all seem to be reasonable from the areas I was looking. CSA and farmer's market's are always appreciated. My husband is also an avid triathlete and road biker so those things are nice to know... places to bike and such. Doesn't seem like those will be attainable without him driving out to have a good biking area but we aren't willing to consider a longer commute.
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:46 PM
 
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What's your budget?
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:47 PM
 
9 posts, read 9,998 times
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600k
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:59 PM
 
519 posts, read 702,499 times
Reputation: 624
The good news is that Fairfax County schools in general are excellent. That's not to say that every school will have a superb special ed program but your girls, at least, will probably do really well in any of the areas you're looking at. Where are you finding the reviews that you mention? If you're looking just at test scores, keep in mind that greater numbers of ESOL kids will result in lower test scores but that doesn't equate to a bad school.

I will say (and I'm sure you've noticed) that there aren't many areas in NOVA that have a down-towny feel to them. There are a lot of neighborhoods similar to Signal Hill, though, and your budget is reasonable for some of them. In general, the Lake Braddock and West Springfield pyramids are all very good and offer a reasonable commute.

Good luck -- I know how fun military moves are.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:07 PM
 
9 posts, read 9,998 times
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WELL our last move was to England but my then-newborn son was diagnosed with his rare condition after his first seizure WHILE ON OUR 2 WEEK VACATION prior to the move. So we had to squat... the Air Force had to re-work things and send us to NEW England instead all while everything we owned took the slow-boat to England and had to go through customs and then be turned around only to find us 7 months later in Boston. Let's just say we hope this commute is MUCH less eventful. LOL

We have looked around and feel like there are some decent pockets as far as what we would like in a home that also meet the commute needs! Now to help zero in on the school districts so that we can really look for the right home. It's hard! My girls will generally do well and they are good kids My son is also such a lovable kid man... I just hope and pray for the right kinda program for him because the one we have now has been so great (and we moved mid duty on our own dime to get into their program and I don't want to do that again!)

I have looked at ratings but mostly parent comments/reviews. I am a nurse and did work as a school nurse for a while and I'm somewhat familiar with school systems and how ratings certainly don't always mean what they say. BUT I'm only SOMEWHAT familiar
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:19 PM
 
519 posts, read 702,499 times
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You definitely have earned an easy move this time.

So given your budget, it does seem like you've zeroed in on some good areas. I can't give any advice on the specific special ed programs for the elementary schools. I do know that different schools have different specialties, if you will... our base school has an excellent autism program, for example, but kids with other disabilities are sent to other schools that suit them better. So your best bet is probably to just start contacting schools to find out what they have to offer your son. Since you've worked in the school system, you'll probably be able to get the information you need.
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Old 03-23-2015, 02:22 PM
 
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right! And I hope to do that once not sitting in an airport Caleb's disease has a high occurrence of autism but Caleb isn't autistic. He's a rare breed and thankfully our school district now... our director is really keen on helping me find the right school district and calling on our behalf because she knows how it works ya know? She knows more than me, what and who and how to ask things that I don't even know to consider!!
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