I know that Eli is only 17 months but I worry daily about what we will do when he is aged out of ECI.
Will I be able to afford private? Will I homeschool him myself? Will we choose PPCD?
PPCD scares me the most. As helpful as ECI has been, I’ve still had a difficult time fighting to get specific therapies. Our therapists aren’t happy, don’t stick around, the company is difficult to work with and we struggle to get what Eli needs. True, we’ve meet some amazing people through the program that will forever be part of our family…but it still sets the tone for Eli’s education.
A struggle.

It’s going to be a fight. It’s going to be hard. No matter what we choose.
Private therapies are expensive. Our insurance will cover only 20 therapies of any kind a year. Eli gets 20 in a month.
It’s a joke- insurance.
He doesn’t qualify for Medicaid or SSI because they count what we make as a family and we make too much.

Private school is even less accessible.
There is an amazing school in Houston that has a waiting list a year long and a months tuition more than my mortgage payment. Not to mention it’s a good 45 minutes away with no traffic and I have a job that prevents me from getting him there.
It’s very discouraging.
We (my whole family, really) loves and believes in Eli. As cheesy and obnoxious as it sounds, we feel Eli is destined for great things. We want whatever he wants and more: college, marriage…everything as long as he wants it.

This past week my sister subbed at a school in the district I teach in and a possible school Eli would attend if we placed him in PPCD.
As an educator, in a great district, I have high hopes and expectations of the program. As an educator, I worry about the actual people running the program.
I’ve spoken with others in the system in the past with less than glowing reviews about the program.
My sister confirmed some of my darkest fears. She reported conditions that as an educator were deplorable and as a mom horrifying to imagine Eli suffering through.
Some of it was the program and the teachers. Some of it was Down syndrome.
When Eli gets to that place, will he be able to self feed? Zip up his pants? Be potty trained? Speak? Will they try to take away his therapies? He won’t be the only student…how much care will he receive? Will he be able to tell me about his day?

These are scary things to imagine…giving my son to people I’m supposed to trust who have become disenchanted as educators and frustrated by the system themselves (the paperwork, the expectations, the lack of help).
I can relate! I’m supposed to differentiate for 700 students every day while the children who need the most love ask for it in the most unloving of ways. It’s hard and it wears you down after a while.
So what’s a mama to do?

I watch Eli now and see how far he has come. I see how smart he is. But I worry. He doesn’t talk much (but does have words), he doesn’t follow directions well (like “come here” and “no”) and obviously he’s not walking or potty trained. Are these signs of problems to come, or just Eli being a 17 month old?…things he will eventually overcome in time for us to make a decision.

I will say it has pushed me more to finalize our plans with Little Giant Steps (also expensive and not covered by anything!!) and makes me fuss over him more.
I will also say, watching how Ruby has already changed some of his behaviors, and prompted him to try new things is amazing. It makes me excited to see what else his siblings will teach him.

I honestly don’t know very many other mamas who have already made this choice or are very close to having to. What did you decide? Why? Tips or ideas?
I know I have a while but preparing before hand is how I best handle anything.
Perfect timing to be thinking about this in the day I return to work. 🙂
Pray that I can remain full of energy, excited for my students and not let my desire to be with my children take away from my students.


8 Replies to “PPCD?”

  1. When my son, who will be 5 in December, aged out of ECI, we enrolled him in our districts PPCD class. He was going for a few hours a day and getting his speech, occupational, and physical therapies there. After about 1 month we decided to remove him from the classroom and just drive him to those therapy appointments every week. In our district the PPCD class does not interact with the other students at all. This would mean he would spend the better part of his day interacting with kids who were also struggling developmentally. The main reason we wanted to enroll him was so he could be in a classroom/school setting, and get use to that environment before starting kinder, but because the class size was so small, and they didn’t integrate them into the actual “school-setting”, we decided his time would be put to better use focusing on speech and potty-training, at home. We may have chosen a different path, had the setting been different in our district, but we feel our choice fits best for our situation. I think as Eli gets closer to that age, you will have a better idea which environment will work best for him and you’ll make the best choice for him and your family…that seems to be true for every stage.

    1. Yes!!!! This is EXACTLY the way our district does it as well. It’s a stressful environment, no real attention, loud and lots of screaming. And they always want to taper down his therapies. But I feel like “what other options do we have?” If I’m working…

  2. What does PPCD mean? Is it a school term for you?

    Owen is 4 and he’s in Pre-K. Last year was his first full year of pre-school. I was afraid to send him–I mean who knows my boy the best? ME! BUT, I also knew that he needed more than I could give him, so off he went to school. He loved it. He had a great team and he learned a ton, especially maturity. His classroom was small and had other students with IEPs but that’s what works best for him. He is non-verbal, so I needed to work with his team to create a communication system that worked best for all of us. He gets OT and Speech during his school day. He has learned the school day routine and follows directions. He is working on potty training (slow process for us–he’s a bit stubborn!). He loves school and I know he is enjoying himself. I’ve active with his classroom and I think that helps me be less anxious about sending him out into the world. They know they can’t hide anything from me.

    It sounds to me like Eli is being a very typical 17 month old–Owen didn’t like following directions either at that age. Even now if it’s something he doesn’t want to do, he’ll ignore us. It’s part of being a kid!

    Feel free to email me or find me on Facebook if you want to talk more!

    Good luck at work!!!

    1. Thanks girl. Yeah PPCD is the pre k program. I’m so glad that it’s worked out for you guys so well. I’m just nervous because of what I’ve already seen… :/ it’s stressful, loud, etc
      I know there is a huge value in routine and the social aspects that school provide but I have reservations about how much the school actually wants to help Eli.

  3. I am not sure what PPCD stands for, but Rachel is in a public school pre-k. her classroom is comprised of typical kids and kids with disabilities. she is the only one in her class with down syndrome. eli is still VERY young at 17 months to be looking at what he will be like when he is three. and when his is three, you can’t even really guess how he will act in school because it’s that different. Rachel thrives at school. she loves the routine and her classmates, the activities and tasks. it’s much more than I can give her here at home. I get a note home every day on how she was, how she ate, if she rested, etc. her teacher will email me if there is something she wants to talk about. Rachel is not potty trained and because of her medical issues, i’m not sure when that will be. she can pull down her pants and kind of pull them up. she does not talk but communicates with sign and we are working on getting her a communication device. she gets more therapy with better therapists there. and after being so scared about her starting school, it’s been the best thing ever. if you know where eli would be placed, I suggests contacting the school and requesting a time to sit in on a class when you probably when eli turns 2. that way, you will have time to make some decisions if you do not like what you see.

    1. Thanks girl that makes me feel a bit better. I know it’s super early to think about any of it but I can’t help but worry. I literally cried about it yesterday.
      And being in the system myself, I see benefits but I see many more issues. Like that in general they will try to get rid of services for Eli. And that he will not be with typical kids- instead the majority with autism. It stressed me out- I don’t want to call out any school or any program but some of what I have seen already isn’t what I want for Eli (loud screaming, not enough help, stressful environment).

  4. I have a 7yr old son named Cameron. I remember distinctly the panic I was feeling when he was about 2 1/2 yrs old. His older brother’s elementary school did not have PPCD (we are in CFISD) so we were going to have to send our two boys to different schools. Our older son was having problems with focus and attention span already and we were having issues with the way the school was handling him as a typical child so I was very fearful of how Cameron would be treated. With all that said, we decided to put him in a private school for special needs children. Although we have had to make many sacrifices financially, it has been a wonderful experience and he has learned and grown in so many ways. I definitely think that it is worth the time and effort to research the PPCD program because you want to be fully informed. But you will know what is right for your child when the time comes. We are currently receiving speech therapy through SBISD after school so you can still receive some services through the public school system even if your child is in private school so keep that in mind as well.

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad it worked out for your family 🙂 we made an appointment with a local school (kinda far) to try to see what it would take to put Eli there. So we will see! 🙂

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