To all the parents out there...
I have a child who began in my preschool class last winter. It took me several months last year to realize that his tantrums and out of control behavior were not 'bad parenting' or 'spoiled child'... or a lack of good teaching skills. Over the summer I couldn't stop thinking about this kid (and my others) and spent a lot of time reading and searching for answers/strategies. I became convinced that he had severe sensory issues (no cognitive issues)... but how would I get him help? I'm discouraged from telling parents "I think your child might have ____."
At the same time, I have another student who is "obviously" autistic, but labeled DD (Developmentally Delayed label expires when they turn 6/no more IEP) . I've yet to figure out how to get her properly labeled for kindergarten. I could legally request a reevaluation before 6, but "that's not how it's done here" and there are a few good points to waiting until they're 6 (but not for all kids!). One year of early intervention (lost/gained) is huge... like compound interest!!
Both children will be in gen. ed. kindergarten next year without support because they are too high for a cluster/self contained. Classroom assistants are difficult to obtain and one to one assistants nearly impossible. I have another child who doesn't speak (severely apraxic) but cognitively age appropriate, a child with high functioning autism, a child who is educable mentally handicapped, a child with down's syndrome who signs... all labeled developmentally delayed and will most likely go to kindergarten where a teacher who may or may not have ever taught young children; may or may not have special training, and probably won't have any assistance to address their needs. There's no middle choice. Does this sound like FAPE?
To all of the parents out there, please educate yourself and advocate for your child. Do not trust the system to do it for you! Even well intentioned "professionals" are spread too thin to be humanly able to provide for all of the children with special needs. There is simply not enough time in the day! I am confronted with red tape and coworkers who are simply and unfortunately focused on THEIR full plate. I am simply encouraged to suggest "consult with your family physician" if I suspect a misdiagnosis. I am not allowed to offer a more probable diagnosis. I want to set my children up for success, but feel my hands are tied.