We've been playing a little revolving door game trying to find the right preschool fit for Quinn. He is in a public special needs program, which is great at teaching him to follow rules and learn the ways of a classroom. However, the needs of his classmates are so great that there isn't much peer interaction, which is a real need of Quinn because he remains mostly uninterested in other children.
At his therapists' recommendation, we set out to find a "typical" preschool where Quinn would see - and hopefully model - more normal interactions. The first attempt was the excellent language preschool that just wasn't equipped to redirect him all day, and decided against enrolling him. The second try is an evangelical school with a special-needs program. Things were great until the assistant director who deals with SN kids retired at the end of the year, and was replaced by a woman who has owned a preschool but never actually dealt with SN kids. She sees his challenges as disciplinary problems that can be solved by punishment. So we yanked him out of there, but - long story - we're trying again, but without her "help." His OT will go with him to school tomorrow and offer some ideas to deal with some behaviors that are disruptive and possibly dangerous: poking kids in the eye and banging or pushing into them. He never does it out of meanness or anger, but out of a need for deep sensory input. Still, it's a problem.
On the one hand, I totally get it. If Quinn was in a class with a kid who seemed to be acting aggressively toward the other kids I'd be freaking out. And yet being around kids is the only way he's going to learn to be around kids. Such a paradox.