Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Has anyone...

Ever heard of or succeeded in enrolling fairly newly adopted elementary age children in school only a few days a week?  I'm curious if that may be an answer to some of our issues...  I am without a doubt sure that I could easily receive a recommendation letter from at least two adoption social workers as well as a psychiatrist or two that it is in the best interest of the child to remain in the home for a majority of their care for the purposes of bonding and adapting to family life, while not neglecting the large impact that a school setting provides such as positive language and behavioral role models and educationally based therapies.  Especially in an inclusion-based setting.

Yet I keep going back to the 180 school day requirement and I know that this is obviously not something that's commonplace around here (nor is adopting institutionalized disabled children... unless our 4 count and one more on the other end of town...).  I get the feeling that if it's not been done here before I should probably be able to back up whether it's legal and if it has worked for someone else in the past if I intend to bring it up as a possibility.

And so I ask...  Would love to hear feedback if anyone has any.  You know, helpful feed back... not the kind that we can't publish :).  Or contact me off list at meredithcornish at gmail dot com.  Please feel free to pass the word along that we're asking if you have friends or other communication networks where someone may have experienced this.



  1. I have known many homeschooling families here in WA that have their kids go to the public school for a few days a week (or a class or two, in middle/ high school). Homeschoolers also still qualify for therapy and sports through the school district.

    You didn't actually mention homeschooling in the post, but since you've mentioned it before I figured that's what you were thinking for the days they were home.

    The laws vary from state to state, but maybe FL is similar to WA. I would guess the recommendations from "professionals" would help, too, even if the law wasn't clear.

  2. A little off topic for the question you asked, but I was wondering if you've ever looked into equitherapy in your area? (Horse riding therapy basically). My mom and I used to work with children and an organization here in Texas, but I'm sure there's probably one in your area. It can really help with communication, mobility, thought processes, behavior, and so SO many other things. I actually had the privilege of working with a little boy who had never walked or spoken who was about 10 years old. After riding and working with the horses for a little while we were honored to see him take his first steps, and begin to speak! There's something about the connection between children (or even adults) and horses that provides a great balance, and fosters growth in areas which may otherwise be left untouched. It also gives the kids involved such a sense of pride to be able to do something that not all the other kids can do (ride horses).

    Anyway just thought I'd throw that out there!

  3. I think if you homeschool some of the time and Public school some of the time its called dual enrollment. should be perfectly legal. call your superintendents office and ask abotu it

  4. We have something in MO about kids who can't attend school full-time (due to medical or other reasons) have other options. See here: and here:

    The full list of relevant statutes is here:

    I know that's probably completely useless info since you're in FL, but maybe it will give you some ideas. :)

  5. If it's all written up as part of the IEP--bonding and learning time at home with Mom--what can they say?! There is GOOD reason (and probably studies) backing up the need for severely delayed and institutionalized children to spend LOTS of quality and quantity time with Mom. Our Sw even strongly recommends that the first year a child is home they be homeschooled to facilitate bonding and attachment! We will def. keep Katya home the first year due to the multitude of appts and needing the bonding etc. but are open to enrolling her elsewhere if need be after that due to her high level of needs. If she needs to go to school where she has access to people fluent in sign lang. why should I deny her that while we are still stumbling along to learn it?!

  6. Yes,

    If it is written in an IEP or 504 (and the majority of your kiddos would qualify for an IEP) you can make any modifications that it is felt needed for the best Free APPROPRIATE education. If the most appropriate place right now is 50/50 school home to facilitate bonding and learning, then that is what should be done.

    As a former Spec.Ed teacher we did have a few kids on part days. Some had private ABA threapy, some had to leave early for therapies, some were allowed more then 'standard for truancy' absences and/or a few came to school 1/2 days due to other reasons.

    You may have to battle the school to put it on the IEP, but then again- you could ask for homebound instruction if needed as well. (instructor comes to the house for a set period of time- usually and hour or two a week) to help make sure kiddos are working on skills for re-entry to school. It is often used for kids that have had surgery, facing medical treatments, or have weak immune systems that can not attend school fulltime, but are well enough for educational services.

    One of my DDs has very very mild CP, but also battles high fatigue levels. If needed, we are prepared (and the school) to write her 504 for 1/2 days as needed. That allows the school to comply with federal rules and allows us to meet her needs.

    Check out for legalities of IEPs/504 and disability rights. It is a FANTASTIC resource for parents to know what is and is not possible under the law.

    Also check for special education advocates in your area, they will help with making sure the IEP is working for your child (instead of just for the school) and also may be able to help with schooling concerns you have for other kiddos.

  7. There maybe two ways to go.

    The first is through the IEP. An adjustment to a child's schedule, such as you suggest, can be a very appropriate way to meet a child's educational needs. Ask to have it put into the IEP, you can start with a three half days a week, increase to a full week of half days, and when you think she is ready to increase ask for another IEP Team Meeting to move up to full time.

    Some states, not sure about Florida, allow homeschooled children to attend public school part time through either dual enrollment or through policies that allow children to attend up to a certain number of courses. If your district has this, you could have her attend for morning meeting and maybe one academic lesson, then come home.

    Good luck!

  8. There is horse therapy available in this area (brevard county). if you are interested contact me at popperjamie at