Sheppard Pratt or KKI school for 3rd grader

Anonymous
Help please with views, if your kid goes to those schools! Here’s some detail -my DC was diagnosed late (long waiting lists at Childrens national for a neurospych, perhaps my reluctance to admit the problem), so DC ended up being sent to SESES for “emotional disability” (DC used to hit). We now have an autism/ ADHD diagnosis, with anxiety to boot, caused by the overzealous disciplining at SESES (again I blame myself, they were just doing their job, they are not geared to autistic children). Unfortunately, at SESES DC picked up a bunch of bad habits like foul language and lying which we are still working on, and he became completely intolerant to sitting in a classroom (kept eloping). On the positive side, we have put hitting behind us. More recently, we are on meds, which have made DC a calm child (!). Last month, CIEP approved funding for non-public, and we just got rejected from the Lourie Center and Ivymount (they’re worried about needing 1:1 aide to keep DC in class), and we are still waiting to hear from KKI and Sheppard Pratt. Which one would you choose, or if you think both are inappropriate, would you homeschool? DC tests within the official range for gifted children on standardized tests (e.g. DIBELS of 243 this year, MAP-M in the top 1 percentile in K), but DC’s working memory and processing speed are at the 5th percentile. More important than academics (which I can always supplement on), DC has low self-confidence and feelings of failure, and poor social skills which frustrates DC a lot. So KKI, Sheppard Pratt, homeschool, or another school - and if so, which?
Anonymous
What are the supports your child needs in the classroom?

I looked at SP-Rockville and found that it could not meet my childs needs. First, he needed a private space to regulate which they did not offer. They would take children into the hallways. Second, they offered an outdoor component. I don't remember exactly what it was but it was part of the curriculum throughout the year. My son strongly dislikes the outdoors so while he would have gone that was a battle that just wasn't worth it to me to have to fight weekly. Third, they could not offer an academic peer group.

While I waited for placement, I homeschooled. I ended up enrolling my kid in a virtual elem school. Classes functioned more on a college schedule than a traditional elem school day. He went to english and math on M/W and History and science on T/H. Each class was an hour and there was homework. But it meant that he really only had 2 hours of classwork and about another hour of homework each day. 3 hours of school was great. The part that was missing for him was the social piece. This was during Covid so it was missing for everyone but when I thought about homeschooling him for the long term, that was the piece that was absent. I work full time so participating in the co-ops wasn't an option for me. I considered hiring a full time day nanny to work 9-3 who could take him to co-op classes plus therapy appts.

KKI wasn't recommended for us so I don't know anything about them. We ended up at RICA and are very happy. I know they take 4th graders, not sure about 3rd grade but if you're interested it might be worth asking about. Had we not been accepted to RICA I probably would have hired the daytime nanny.

We also were denied by Lourie which I thought was too bad. Such a great program!
Anonymous
OP: Thank you so much for this helpful and thoughtful post! This is DCUM at its best! I also heard about boarding schools like Calo in Mo targeted to specific trauma which apparently are very effective (DC is adopted and has attachment issues), as well as more general ones closer to the DMV area but DC is so young and I’m not sure how we will do apart… I wish there were more day options locally… RICA is a higher level of restriction, and it does receive very positive feedback, but I’ve heard is also very hard to get into. Glad your DC is doing well there!
Anonymous
Supports DC needs: ABA (sorry forgot to answer), help with writing, help with following steps and competing tasks (focus), but mostly help with social situations, that’s his weakest area.
Anonymous
Many people have had great success with Calo. If you can get funding from your adoption it would be something to look into. The good about MCPS is that there are a wide variety of SN programs. The bad is that there are a wide variety of programs so MCPS is very rarely willing to consider funding a residential program. And in most cases MCPS will pay for the educational component but not the therapeutic, room or board aspects. In some states like CA, the schools pay for all of it!

I don’t think RICA Rockville is any more restrictive than the other non publics you mentioned. The other schools I was referred to were Foundation and Laurel Hall. Foundation was horrific and I walked out crying. It was nothing more than a holding facility. Laurel Hall was a good fit but Frederick was too far. Admissions and I talked about what would happen if he couldn’t get on the bus at the end of the day and I had to come pick him up. I told them if they called me at 3:30 and told me to come get him, depending on traffic, I might be able to be there by 5. They were not happy with that idea. I think Laurel Hall is an option for people who live in northern MoCo but not a great option for people that live in the southern portion.

What about Katherine Thomas? Or Phillips Annandale? I don’t know the schools that incorporate ABA. Compared to many areas of the country we have a wealth of options—it does suck when none of the options available seem to be the right fit.
Anonymous
Thank you again! I hadn’t thought about the Calo bill being split into educational and therapeutic, it makes sense that the cost can pile up very high very quick, I see it now. On RICA, you’re giving me more and more comfort - I appreciate the inside view. Agree on Foundation, I have not looked into it in detail but I’ve read about reactions similar to yours, it’s not a place for a child to end up in, it seems. Hadn’t looked into Lauren Hill but it’s far for me too. Katherine Thomas would be amazing but my educational advocate told me they won’t touch DC because of the hitting history (I don’t know why they won’t look at the child as they are now, but would have the history hang over their head - and for how long - but I guess it’s out for us. That would have been a great school if it were an option. Phillips was suggested at the CIEP meeting but CIEP said they won’t include it, not sure why - they only picked the four schools I listed. Maybe when we get back to them after we haven’t found a good fit, they will open up the Phillips option. Has anyone managed to climb back up the restrictiveness ladder? Or do kids just stay at level or go down a level if there are issues? SESES kept saying they try to mainstream kids but I’ve never actually seen anyone mainstreamed, they seem to just drift off the system or go non-public…
Anonymous
In my experience the more schools that reject your kid, the more schools CIEP is willing to refer to. In short, they start getting desperate. Try not to let them refer to Foundation. Your child will be admitted and then CIEP will say we found placement. Our tour was the week of March 20, 2020. I got the email acceptance on Friday morning. By Friday afternoon MCPS announced they were shutting down. I was so so grateful for the reprieve.

My son has been at RICA for 3 yrs. He is being transitioned next year. I know of a few other kids that have been mainstreamed back to a comprehensive school. It mostly happens for the HS kids but can happen for lower grades. He will start in the Bridge program and we will see how things go. There are students that have gone from Bridge to general IEP support. So it is possible to climb back up the ladder.
Anonymous
Thank you so much again for giving me hope! And some excellent ideas!!!
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:Thank you again! I hadn’t thought about the Calo bill being split into educational and therapeutic, it makes sense that the cost can pile up very high very quick, I see it now. On RICA, you’re giving me more and more comfort - I appreciate the inside view. Agree on Foundation, I have not looked into it in detail but I’ve read about reactions similar to yours, it’s not a place for a child to end up in, it seems. Hadn’t looked into Lauren Hill but it’s far for me too. Katherine Thomas would be amazing but my educational advocate told me they won’t touch DC because of the hitting history (I don’t know why they won’t look at the child as they are now, but would have the history hang over their head - and for how long - but I guess it’s out for us. That would have been a great school if it were an option. Phillips was suggested at the CIEP meeting but CIEP said they won’t include it, not sure why - they only picked the four schools I listed. Maybe when we get back to them after we haven’t found a good fit, they will open up the Phillips option. Has anyone managed to climb back up the restrictiveness ladder? Or do kids just stay at level or go down a level if there are issues? SESES kept saying they try to mainstream kids but I’ve never actually seen anyone mainstreamed, they seem to just drift off the system or go non-public…


I visited Phillips Annandale last year when my child was in 4th. It was, IMO, a place that would cause trauma for a young child. There was a kid in a padded room where a child was screaming and throwing himself against the walls. My child has behavioral difficulties but nothing the school system can’t handle, so I was looking primarily to address severe learning disabilities, so someone else with different needs may have another perspective.
Anonymous
Thanks for this - we are certainly not anywhere near screaming fits and hitting walls… very good to know!
Anonymous
Do you know which KKI campus? They are all a little bit different.
Anonymous
Powder Mill
Anonymous
Anonymous wrote:Powder Mill


My son doesn't share your child's profile, but we loved our visit at KKI Powder Mill and it's very much worth your time to check it out. They have a very strong behavior support team and a small, welcoming environment. I was very impressed with the visit, the teachers we spoke to, and the admission director's willingness to answer questions.
Anonymous
Avoid Sheppard Pratt School in Rockville.
There is a very racist person who is running the business.
Very abusive school.
Anonymous
Powder Mill is a lovely school with a great staff. They incorporate aspects of ABA but it runs a lot like a neighborhood school (with lots of support staff). I’m not sure if there are any children there with your child’s profile. I’d definitely visit if they ask you to come though. It’s a great school.

Please check back and tell us where you ended up. It’s so helpful when people come back for others who are in the same boat.
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