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Everything posted by mlynn

  1. Right now we're researching parts of Germany and cities we might want to live in. I'm looking for recommendations for cities that are in a forest area, near a forest area (within 30 minutes), or in/near mountains with a population between say 70,000 and 500,000. I've found a couple but I'm curious what places other people recommend. Population could be slightly smaller or larger, but I prefer to be in a place that isn't super small.    Thanks!!!
  2. Cities near forest or mountains

      Thank you for the suggestions! 
  3. Cities near forest or mountains

      I REALLY want to go to the Harz area! Your comment is so helpful! I appreciate the town suggestions. That is so helpful. The area sounds like a dream to me. 
  4. Cities near forest or mountains

      Thanks! I will look it up. It sounds beautiful!   Budget will depend on a few circumstances so right budget isn't a factor. Once I have that sorted out and a list of a handful of places I will look into that part.
  5. Cities near forest or mountains

      Can I ask about what "better climate" means to you? I hate hot weather (over 80 or 85 degrees F) and definitely prefer a cooler climate. Though I know temps in the 80s are not entirely unavoidable. But if such a place exists where those temps are less common, I'm all for it!
  6. Thank you for the info! I do have a few questions about the Ausbildung. I’m going to send you a message. 
  7. As the time gets closer to our move (in at most a year, could be less depending on the job situation) I want to start looking for jobs. I have two degrees in design but I have been working in education since 2013 with a couple years gap while being home with my children. My experience is in nursery, preschools, and most recently as an educational assistant in a kindergarten. So ages 12 months to about 6 years are the ages my experience has mostly been with.    I want to work in a kindergarten (the German version, I know it's different than in the US) in Germany. I've of course been looking at jobs, looking at requirements, etc.    So I have a couple questions.   What has been your experience trying to find jobs in this area?    Will my lack of degree in this field be a problem? I know some positions want you to have an ausbildung but not all require it and I've certainly seen other posts of people who have gotten this or a similar job without the ausbildung.    For reference, I'm not opposed to getting an ausbildung but would prefer to find a job without this or find a job where I can simultaneously get this qualification.   Are there any websites that you like best for job searching in Germany?     
  8. I forgot to mention I’m not opposed to obtaining the German qualifications. 
  9. Thank you! This is helpful!    I’ll definitely be looking at bilingual schools. I do speak German and am taking courses to become fluent.    That pay isn’t too terrible. I made less than that working full time (full time was considered over 32 hours in this school)  in a similar job here in the US. It’s certainly not a job you go into for the money!    Thank you for the advice! 
  10. Thanks! That is really helpful! I have about a year. I’m around B1/B2 and am taking courses to improve that. 
  11. I’m curious if anyone has experience with autism and education in Germany. In particular I am looking for POSITIVE experiences and areas of Germany where people have had positive experiences.    My son is going in to first grade now but he would be going into second grade by the time we move. It’s super important to know my son does not receive any academic support in school. He is very intelligent and is at the same level or beyond his peers in each of the core subjects.    He is learning German so this isn't really a concern. He'll likely need some time to become fluent but I have no concerns about him learning the language. He is mostly in the listening phase of learning but he has been starting to describe familiar objects with short sentences.   He does currently receive about 10 minutes per day to work on social skills that consists of him playing games and talking to another kid. This could be supplemented outside of school so we don’t require this in a German school.    He speaks VERY well with a large vocabulary and will gladly have detailed, lengthy conversations with you. This is great but also means he will attempt to persuade you out of things he does not like to do with solid reasoning. In school this mostly shows up in tasks he has already mastered and no longer wants to practice or in entirely unfamiliar tasks. He needs a teacher who doesn’t bend the rules for him. Of course, that takes a lot of patience but that is really important for him.    His biggest struggles are in the fact that he is a RULE FOLLOWER. He will hear your instructions, rules, or outline/schedule and expect that to be how things go. In this way school has been great for him because the day flows in a particular order. Lessons happen in a predictable way. The problem is more when something unexpected happens/major change in routine. This can be prevented by saying “today we have an assembly instead of our reading lesson" or whatever change it is. So he knows ahead of time. I mention this because it's a simple things that can help him in the day that doesn't technically fall under "extra support" but is something that is helpful.   The MOST important thing he needs in school is a teacher that cares about him and is strict in the sense that they won’t bend the rules (of school work and things like that) for him.   So, with this knowledge, are there areas of Germany that are maybe more suited to accepting him in schools?   Will school be a non-issue because he does not require academic support? Or will we encounter problems trying to enroll him in school?   Does the diagnosis alone cause a problem where we then need to prove his abilities?    Private schools and international schools are not an option.   I did have some recommendations to look at areas with better inclusion rates so that should the need arise for extra support this can happen within the regular school. This way we can apply for inclusion, even if that just means they help him with giving him a schedule so he knows what to expect and can tell him about any upcoming changes in routine for the week. In Google searches I found that Bremen, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein might be areas to consider? What do you think?   Thanks for any info you can provide on your experience or any advice! 
  12.   That is really interesting though! I have always assumed that where one country borders another there may be a different common language, just as there are very different dialects in different parts of Germany. I'm sure they are great places to live. I don't doubt that.   If you are trying to convince me on Italy, I just don't know enough about it to consider moving there. 
  13.   I'm so happy to read about your positive experience! I've heard this from a couple other people (not on here) as well. So it's encouraging now to have a handful of positive experiences to look to.      It's also encouraging to hear that these meetings, even if only occasionally, continued. In my own experience in the US we have one official meeting at the beginning of the school year to discuss any areas where my son my need support. From there the only meetings that take place are if I request one or if my sons needs were to suddenly drastically change, which hasn't happened.  Otherwise you might get an occasional email if it's important or something happened that might need to be addressed but that was pretty rare.    I'm happy to hear about your positive experience though! 
  14.   Thank you! That's really helpful. Those are really difficult experiences, I'm sure. Thank you for sharing the area these instances occurred so we can be aware. Niedersachsen isn't an area we are currently considering moving to. But still, it's good to know so we don't arrive entirely unaware! 
  15.   Is this based on personal experience? I'm just curious if you can elaborate some more or if this is just a general opinion of the school system. I have seen the comments on some negative experiences. I've also received multiple messages of support and encouragement with information that is helpful in guiding us to find a city to live in that will be great for us. 
  16.   This is not out of the question but we would definitely prioritize going to Germany. I do not know any details about Austria beyond the language though so it would depend heavily on what living in Austria looks like. 
  17.   I know your response was with good intentions. I only bring up the differences because autism is a spectrum and there is a large variety in needs between children with this same diagnosis. The major difference being that you brought up your relative who has a need for assisted living of some sort. This is not my situation and does point towards differences in level of support needed which are not something I need to consider. Thank you for taking the time to consider my situation and offering your opinion.
  18.   Maybe. Or maybe I'm just pointing out that I've read enough the negative and I would like to hear some positives now. I don't need more negative stories and comments, especially ones that are based not in experience with autism in Germany but rather a 3 month exchange in high school.
  19.   You are correct. The system in place in Germany regarding special education is different than other countries. But again, my son doesn't require extensive support. In fact, he receives no extra support regarding academics. As far as requiring a "strong assertive family" I would say it is most definitely important for anyone to advocate for their child with special needs, no matter where they live. This can be difficult, daunting, and frustrating at times but that is true of life anywhere with special needs. You've pointed out the needs of your family member in the UK.   Here in the US, children with special needs require just as much advocating. And often times they are left behind for many reasons. Maybe because they don't have access to an occupational therapist because they live in a rural area. Or the school system has failed them and doesn't care to provide the support needed/required. Or maybe they spend years waiting for diagnosis, with more months and more years on waitlists to access support. Or maybe they struggle because health insurance won't cover therapy or won't pay for the wheelchair they require or health insurance decides they know best and won't cover a life changing medical procedure. Not to mention the thousands and thousands of dollars families spend on medical care for their special needs children per year. Sometimes families are spending thousands of dollars per months because health insurance won't cover their care. And then if they require assisted living for that child when they reach adult-hood they might spend years on waitlists to get into assisted living. But who is paying for that? It's not cheap. Or maybe they end up homeless. Germany is different but they do have some things figured out FAR better than the US. 
  20.   We have not considered any location other than Germany because I am a German citizen. (I did not go to school in Germany though.) Certainly we could go to another country since being a German citizen gives us that ability to do so but this is not something we are considering at this time. Instead I am looking for positive experiences and advice on locations where people had positive experiences. 
  21.   This is really interesting to me! I can absolutely understand reasons for choosing an international school like only being there for a few years or for language, among others. But I'm glad to hear local schools will be a good choice and in general have a positive reputation in Germany. (Especially after reading too much negativity.) I've always thought of German schools as quite good. 
  22.     There are multiple reasons I'm not really interested in private schools or international schools. I will say, I love Montessori and would be fine with that but it definitely depends on the school and teachers along with the fees. So far I haven't seen a single private school in Germany costing less than $10,000/year. While I'm an involved parent with my children's education, I don't see being able to also work at the school on top of full time employment and the other extra appointments that come along with autism (which happen regularly even though he doesn't receive extra support in school) as an option. It's a great option for those who can cover tuition in that way, but unless my full time employment is at the school (I work in education) and they provide a discount for working in the school, I don't see it being an option.     As far as international schools go, I don't think it makes much sense since this isn't a temporary move. I'd rather my children be in school where German is the language spoken full time so they are immersed in the language as much as possible from the start.   I do appreciate your response and will continue looking into schools that might be a good fit, such as Montessori, especially if they offer scholarships or tuition is reasonable. 
  23.  Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. This eases my nerves quite a lot. You make some really important points. I feel more confident that we'll have a positive experience finding a school and we will be able to make sure he too will have a positive experience. 
  24. I'm trying to make sure everything is in order for moving to Germany in about one year. Or I'm at least trying to make sure I know what to do when we get there to make the transition as smooth as possible.    In the US my son sees an occupational therapist. It took 3 years of asking my sons doctor for a referral to another doctor. 6 months on waiting for that appointment. That doctor then gave us the referral for occupational therapy where my son was put on another waitlist for another 6 months. When we move to Germany, I'm wondering what the process would be should he need to continue occupational therapy at that time. (At this time I do not know if he will be done with his occupational therapy or if he will require more time.)    Do we need to go to his regular doctor to have that person refer to an occupational therapist or can we make an appointment with an occupational therapist directly?    Thank you for any information you can provide!!!