Very active 3.5yo is too aggressive, asked to leave preschool

My 3.5 year old just got asked to leave his large play-based preschool. Their concerns are that he is too aggressive with his peers and requires too much one-on-one support to get through the day safely. He is a very active little guy and flaps his hands when he's happy or excited. He is just starting to talk a lot more, but I did take him for a speech eval at Seven Bridges last month and he scored in the average to above average range. We have started doing OT with a provider at Full Circle. She has only just begun working with him and has not diagnosed SPD. We met with our pediatrician and she doesn't think he's on the spectrum. What else should we do? How do we figure out if it is SPD or if he is on the spectrum? What other resources do folks suggest?

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I would go to your school district and request an assessment for speech, OT, and psych. My son had a speech delay so he was getting speech therapy through my insurance. They thought he needed OT so he got evaluated and needed that too also through my insurance. I heard they can get these services for free through our school district so I applied. I told them about his behaviors- hyperactivity, repetitive actions, etc, and they suggested he do a psych eval. The district determined that he had autism which myself, husband, pediatrician, & speech therapist all thought otherwise. Nevertheless we enrolled him in the special ed program preschool for fear he would be kicked out of the private preschool we initially enrolled him in and he’s made huge strides in his behaviors and speaks appropriately for his age. We also had him see a developmental pediatrician who gave the official diagnosis for autism (high functioning) and then we started ABA therapy through insurance. He currently still does OT and attends a social skills group at Seven Bridges Therapy which has been amazing. I’d have to say of all the therapies, his Preschool Program and social skills group made the most improvement. Good luck!

Honestly, it's probably that the school is not a good fit for your son.  We went through and similar situation and all the bells and whistles of tests and therapy and in the end, switching schools did the trick.  I know that is easier said than done but it you may want to consider a smaller school and maybe just a whole new school environment for him.  When we stopped trying to make our son a fit for the school and instead find a school that was a fit for him, it was actually less exhausting for all of us.  Good luck!

Agree that you should go to the school district, and also recommend you self-refer for evaluation at the Regional Center (there are several, you can google to figure out which one is for your area). The school district cannot diagnose, but they can determine that your child is qualified to receive an IEP and services, like early intervention preschool, under certain categories like Autism Spectrum Disorder (but again, it's not a medical diagnosis - unfortunately you need to pursue that separately in order to get insurance to pay for services). DREDF is a great local resource for your special education rights. Your pediatrician might be more inclined to make the referral for testing once they hear that the preschool fired you, that's a pretty big red flag. But if they don't, get a new doctor or self-refer, depending on your insurance. And, with all due respect to well-intentioned people who post on BPN saying not to worry, that everything is fine - please listen to your gut if you think something isn't right. I leaned heavily on BPN to convince myself things were fine, and that delayed my son's diagnosis to age 6. Labels open doors for services and help guide you with how best to parent. Sending you strength and hugs.

You can get him evaluated at the Regional Center in San Leandro. My son was diagnosed with autism through my Kaiser insurance- they have a special unit in SF that only does that- but my understanding is that the regional center can also. The main thing is to not give up, if you think something is up you have to advocate for your child. Good luck.

You may be able to have him evaluated at the Regional Center. If they cannot do it- they don't provide services over age 3- they should certainly know who can. They may just send you to the school district. Special Ed classes could really help with the right teacher. My son was diagnosed with autism through my Kaiser insurance- they have a special unit in SF that only does that. If you have insurance, they have to provide services for people on the spectrum in the state of CA. If he's not on the spectrum they may have other services that would help. Sometimes you have to demand your rights. As great as my insurance is I've had to really push back to get the help we need. The main thing is to not give up, if you think something is up you have to advocate for your child. Good luck.