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is montessori program best for my high functioning austistic daughter


letty99 May 6, 2013

My 5yr old is getting ready for kindergarten in the fall. Thanks to the MNRI program her focus and overall behaviour has improved remarkably. My faith in the public school system is little to non as so called ESE specialist are clueless. I am wondering if anyone has use the montessori school system for children with ASD?

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Coffeemug May 12, 2013

I looked into it and thought it would be a good fit. My problem was that my son wasn't diagnosed until 2nd grade and Montessori schools really want kids to have started in their program prior to 3rd grade, so I'd recommend starting w/kinder if you can. Kinder class was all play-based w/natural wood/cloth toys, climbing structures, etc., like when we were kids. Upper elementary classes, kids created their own books from their notes & drawings for each subject instead of using standard text books & workbooks. This allows for much more free thinking & creativity. Lessons also include gardening and hand-making (such as sewing), in addition to standard academics. P.E. included unusual and fun fitness such as unicycle/circus arts. Kinesthetic learning; much more appropriate environment & philosophy than traditional schools. Also might want to look into Charter Schools in your area (public/free, usually non-traditional, many different philosophies).


bdrejza May 12, 2013

Hello, at the time my then 5-year-old went to Kindergarten, the public schools had transitioned to an all day program. Since he desperately still needed a daily nap, I knew he would not do well in that type of environment. Our only choice was a Montessori school. He had the diagnosis of ADHD. (It was not until 3rd grade that he was diagnosed with Asperger's, but in retrospect, all the signs of ASD were there when he was 5, however no one recognized them). The year was a total disaster. He needed structure and in the Montessori program he was at, there was NO structure. Each day the teachers would set up various "stations" that the children could choose from. Lacking structure caused him (and still does) such confusion about choices to make.

In retrospect, I would have waited an additional year to start him at public kindergarten where structure would have been provided. He still struggles in unstructured settings like PE or at lunch in the cafeteria where there are many other children. I do not know anything about MNRI, however. My recommendations to you would be to visit the Montessori school to see how they it is organized and staffed. You alone know your child's strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else.


Jennifer210 May 12, 2013

I think it is important to look at each school and figure out if it fits with what your child needs at that point. My son also has HFA with speech delay until 4 years old, and when we looked at Montessori when he was 3 they would not accept him because he was not yet talking. Public schools are supposed to provide programs for kids with learning differences starting at age 3. When our son was 3 1/2 we put him in a public preschool for half day, and then in my employer sponsored child care (where he was just one of the kids) for the rest of the day. Each year we moved him to a different place because what he needed at that point had changed. When he was in 1st grade, we kept him at that school until 5th grade. In 6th, we moved him to a charter school, and he wants to stay thru 12th (currently in 9th and doing well with no supports).


sheilab973 May 12, 2013

I rarely reply to posts, but I feel strongly about this one.
As the parent of a 19 year old on the autism spectrum, I would recommend a program with solid structure and predictability. Typically, kids with autism have anxiety and poor internal structure and do best in an environment that provides routine, structure, and predictability--typically found in a public school.
A public school system will also provide more of the related services your child needs--social skills, occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc. Studies have shown that early and intensive intervention can make a huge difference in students' outcome. Find the place that offers that.
My son is also high functioning and has flourished in the public school system because of the structure and availability of related services.
Best wishes to you and your daughter!


mootsietesla May 12, 2013

Hello, I wish you all the best in your difficult decision! I have a child in a Montessori school and in all honesty I believe your child would probably be better served in public school. While the public school is not perfect they have far more experience in dealing with special needs children. You will not get that level of care for your child in a Montessori school as they are just not equipped for it. In addition, most Montessori programs do not teach older children so eventually your child will need to change schools. Best of luck!


racegirl May 12, 2013

As a Montessori Teacher I would strongly recommend a Montessori School. Montessori was started for special needs children. People who say they have no structure either don't truly know or the class room they saw was not a true Montessori. Montessori Is not trademarked so anyone can call their school Montessori. You must check into the school. My Son with autism and ADD thrived in Montessori and I was very sad to watch him struggle with public school. Montessori Schools go all the way threw high school. Your child can get any kind of specialist they need you just have to get the money from they public school. Montessori school supports Higher level brain functions which is what all these children need. Look into Adel Diamond for more info.

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