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Information needed regarding special needs child and school.

 
trinidiva
(@trinidiva)
Active Member

Hello all,

I am considering relocating to St Croix with my two children. My daughter has multiple disabilities and requires special educational services. I was fortunate enough to meet a young woman while I was on vacation in PR last year, who hails from St. Croix coincidentally, and she assured me that there are schools on the island that would meet my daughter's needs. I am a school nurse myself and I work in a District 75 school in New York City that caters to special education children. As a single parent, my concern is that my daughter will have access to the facilities and support systems that she needs while in school. I am fully aware that she will not have access to services as she does here, stateside. But, if she can at least have the basics covered I would be content. If anyone can give me pointers or the names of schools and/or personnel that I can contact for more information I would be forever in your debt.

Thank you.

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Topic starter Posted : January 7, 2015 5:41 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

State Director of Special Education Top

Ensure appropriate services and opportunities for children and youth with disabilities.

State Office of Special Education (Virgin Islands)
Jill Singer, State Director
Frostco Building Lower Level Suite 103
1824 Kongens Gade
Charlotte Amalie
St. Thomas, VI 00802-6746

Phone: (340) 776-5802
Fax: (340) 777-1020
Email: cemillin@usviosep.org or cjohns@usviosep.org
Website: http://sose.vide.vi

http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/programs/EROD/org_list_by_territory.cfm?territory_cd=vi#SSE

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Posted : January 7, 2015 5:48 pm
seeya liked
trinidiva
(@trinidiva)
Active Member

Thank you! You are a lifesaver. I was terrified of making a wrong move and there would be no systems in place for my princess. Now if everything else could fall into place as easily, I'd be set! Thank you again.

Trinidiva

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Topic starter Posted : January 7, 2015 6:05 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Thank you! You are a lifesaver. I was terrified of making a wrong move and there would be no systems in place for my princess. Now if everything else could fall into place as easily, I'd be set! Thank you again.

Trinidiva

You MUST (and I'm sure you have it planned) make a PMV during the school year so you can see first hand how the special ed system works here. Hopefully you also read the link I posted to a thread two years ago which was started on the subject. Unfortunately the OP never returned to the forum after her PMV so I assume she felt it wouldn't work for her. But if you click on her user name you can send a private message to her via this site. If you can reach her she may have some good information for you.

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Posted : January 7, 2015 6:57 pm
klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
Advanced Member

Hi Trinidiva! Welcome to the board. I have not moved to STX yet but given my background in education and sped I think I have some info to share.

First off I agree w/ Old Tart 100 percent. You MUST make a pvm during the school year. And when you do, you should set up a time (before hand) to meet w/ the Sped Director of the USVI to discuss your concerns and possibly get tours of schools, on all the islands, that potentially your child could be attending.

Now with that said you will find that there are many people on this forum that hate the public school in the USVI and say private schools are the only way to go. But being that you are a single parent, you may not be able to afford the tuition for 2 children. You must be prepared to pay around $12000 a year for each child. I am in the process of getting a elementary teaching job on STX. Part of the requirements for even a regular ed elementary teacher is we must have sped classes/experience in order to apply and be considered for a job. And I can tell you that here in CA and back in New England where I grew up and went to school, college, and worked/taught you do not need that experience for a regular ed job. So, in my opinion, the USVI is ahead of most of the state's in that aspect. I would not eliminate the public schools as an option. Also as a sped advocate for some of my friends children, you know as well, that sped laws can be quite specific and must be followed. If you choose a private school they can refuse services and tell you to get the services through the public school system. Thus you will have yo deal w/ the public schools anyway, AND you will now be dealing w/ trying to schedule services through 2 schools instead of one.

I hope my comments helped and hood luck with your search to move to your new island home. Feel free to ask any more questions you may have.

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Posted : January 7, 2015 7:43 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

If your princess requires special services such as PT, OT, and/or Speech, you might want to ask if you can speak to one of them. There was a St Croix therapist active on this board at one time. Maybe your subject line will capture that person's attention. 🙂

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Posted : January 7, 2015 9:14 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

Under no circumstances should you plan your move without first visiting stx and investigating the options for your girl. If you cannot afford to take this extra step, you should reconsider the move.

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Posted : January 7, 2015 11:11 pm
jumbie75
(@jumbie75)
Advanced Member

Jill Singer is no longer with the department of education. You would need to speak to the District Director on St. Croix: Ms. Gail Perez at 340-718-7997. She can fill you in on what services are available in the public schools.

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Posted : January 8, 2015 12:01 am
trinidiva
(@trinidiva)
Active Member

Thank you so much everyone for your responses! I feel the love. LOL. I am planning to make a visit in February to get a feel for the place and a follow up in April. If all goes swimmingly and according to plan, I hope to be resident by August. I have no idea where I should go. My princess is non ambulatory and non verbal so naturally, I am extremely protective of her. I don't even have an idea of where I should live. Is St Croix better than St. Thomas? Or vice versa? I was told that if I wanted a more active social life St. Thomas was the place. At my rather advanced age of 46, I think my days for partying until the break of dawn are loooong behind me. (Not that I partied when I was younger.)

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Topic starter Posted : January 8, 2015 1:06 am
klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
Advanced Member

We chose STX as the island we want to move to b/c the cost of living is lower and it is less congested and more "laid back." But since you are doing a pmv you will get a chance to see what they ate like all for yourself. So I really wouldn't't worry about that until after you get a chance to visit them both.

Good luck!

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Posted : January 8, 2015 1:54 am
trinidiva
(@trinidiva)
Active Member

Thank you for all of your responses. Now to figure out where to live and the job situation.

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Topic starter Posted : January 10, 2015 1:05 am
ChrisMI
(@ChrisMI)
Advanced Member

Can I ask what your primary motivation for wanting to move to the USVI is? It would help in terms of giving you more helpful specific advice for you and your family.

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Posted : January 10, 2015 2:15 pm
toninski
(@toninski)
Advanced Member

I work as a physical therapist on STX, but in home health....contact Island Therapy Solutions, who perform all the pediatric therapy. Phone is 340-719-7007, islandtherapypractice@gmail.com. They may be able to assist you, as well as give you information on the therapy provided in the public school system here. We have a very large Head Start program on island. Hope you find the answers you need. We love living here with our three children.

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Posted : January 11, 2015 4:05 pm
klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
Advanced Member

😀 for Toninski!

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Posted : January 11, 2015 4:12 pm
jwsommer
(@jwsommer)
Advanced Member

Hi!! This is Julie Sommer, pediatric occupational therapist at Island Therapy Solutions. I would be happy to talk details with you about the services your daughter needs and what that might look like if you were to move to St. Croix. Please feel free to send me a private message and we can connect by phone or in person when you visit. I also strongly recommend a visit here so you can meet special education staff, tour schools, etc. and would be happy to connect you with some other families so you can learn more!
There are many challenges to raising a child with special needs here, but for many it is worth it.
Julie

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Posted : January 11, 2015 4:58 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

See, I thought a new thread might catch some attention! :@)

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Posted : January 11, 2015 6:20 pm
trinidiva
(@trinidiva)
Active Member

To answer the poster's question for my reasons to wanting a change. I am tired of the rat race. I want my kids to enjoy their childhoods and to be kids. I am originally from Trinidad and I remember that I loved every minute of my childhood. I need and want a slower pace. My children hardly get to see me and I don't want to be a visitor in their lives. Chasing the almighty dollar never held any luster for me and now I feel like a hamster on a wheel, running and not getting anywhere.

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Topic starter Posted : January 13, 2015 3:16 am
klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
Advanced Member

(tu) to Trinidiva!

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Posted : January 13, 2015 5:59 am
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

To answer the poster's question for my reasons to wanting a change. I am tired of the rat race. I want my kids to enjoy their childhoods and to be kids. I am originally from Trinidad and I remember that I loved every minute of my childhood. I need and want a slower pace. My children hardly get to see me and I don't want to be a visitor in their lives. Chasing the almighty dollar never held any luster for me and now I feel like a hamster on a wheel, running and not getting anywhere.

A picture is worth a thousand words: The Caribbean beckons all...
Swan

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Posted : January 13, 2015 6:17 am
trinidiva
(@trinidiva)
Active Member

That was so unfair swans, Lol! Just rub in in why don't you?

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Topic starter Posted : January 13, 2015 3:06 pm
Angelrosefox
(@angelrosefox)
New Member

This post is quite dated, but I have the exact same question  ... we are looking to move to USVI, and have a 7 year old special needs child.  We plan to visit in February to visit schools, but interested in any feedback from those on the island about special needs schooling, therapy, etc.  appreciate any feedback! 

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Posted : January 7, 2019 12:29 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Any particular island?

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Posted : January 9, 2019 8:24 am
Fishbait
(@Fishbait)
Advanced Member
Posted by: Angelrosefox

This post is quite dated, but I have the exact same question  ... we are looking to move to USVI, and have a 7 year old special needs child.  We plan to visit in February to visit schools, but interested in any feedback from those on the island about special needs schooling, therapy, etc.  appreciate any feedback! 

Hi! Just a note, as far as I am aware there is no individual health insurance unless you are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.  So if that is a concern for you then you would need a solid job with that benefit available. 

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Posted : January 9, 2019 4:36 pm
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