There are many important decisions parents make on a daily, weekly, monthly basis for their children. Decisions that can really have a lasting effect. Choices about the food they eat, the schedules they follow, activities they do, friends they hangout with, and many many more. A bad choice in any of these areas could really mess up their future lives and the next thing you know you are visiting your child in maximum security for the next twenty years. Well, maybe not that severe. But, the choices we make for our children should never be taken lightly. I have learned that there are always positive or negative results from every actions we choose.
We have a huge decision in our household to make for Mr. D. We have been discussing the big kindergarten choice a lot lately in our house. Both kids are “May Babies”, so really you would think that it would not be an issue. Ms. A is nine and in the fourth grade. She started kindergarten just after she turned five. It was really no big deal at all with her. She was ready and biting at the bit to go to school. Ms. A has been very successful in school and we made the right choice. What has surprised me, is that she is one of the youngest of her class. This has made me think even more about the timing for Mr. D.
Mr. D is four. A very big four year old. At the age of one he was red flagged by our pediatrician for his lack of crawling and talking. He was label and provided services under a government program called “Help Me Grow.” We attended the local county MMRDD program and he received speech, physical, and occupational therapies. He did wonderfully in this program and I can not say enough about the services he has received. At the age of three, the county programming stops and the local school district takes over. Our child, who was receiving three types of therapy on a weekly basis, no longer qualified through the school district. I was crushed. What was I suppose to do now. As a trained special education teacher, I knew how important and effective early intervention is to kids who are lagging behind.
The social worker, assigned to Mr. D through the county, gave me one bit of advice on her last visit. She told me to stop everything that I was doing and let him fail. Let him fall behind so much that he would qualify. I was shocked at this advice and she said its all about numbers. I was skeptical and it felt so wrong, but I followed her advice. Mr. D was able to be retest six months later and guess what…….he qualified.
At 3 1/2 I was sending my little guy on the big yellow bus with his sister to school. We were lucky to have a special education preschool in our elementary building. Mr. D was in a class of ten kids. Five children with needs and five who were peer models.
We have been happy with this arrangement. He attends school twice a week for the full day and gets his services there.
Now the education team is talking about Kindergarten. We had our yearly IEP meeting to talk about his goals and future plans. They were pushing kindergarten. I was not!!!! He barely has number and letter recognition, no hand dominance, or pencil/scissor grasp. It made me wonder if the school’s decisions are based on what is best for Mr. D or what the numbers and funding look like for the district.
So I started looking around at my options……my CHOICES.
I made a choice!
Today, I stood in line to sign Mr. D up for Pre-k at a private preschool. The sign ups started at 8 am and it is a first-come-first-serve-deal. I got Opa to come over in the morning to get the kids ready for school and on the bus, while I dashed off to get in line. I arrived at 7:45 and the parking lot was full. I knew this was going to be interesting when the director came out and started passing out numbers. I was lucky and got the sixth spot for the Pre-k line. With my checkbook in hand, forms filled out, a smile on my face, and a copy of his IEP……. Mr. D got in.
The results……He will still be attending his special education preschool twice a week, but the three other days he will be attending the private Pre-k.
So, we made the choice. The choice to hold him back. He will be six years old when going into kindergarten. He will get an extra year to practice his emerging skills and hopefully be ready to start his school career. Is this the right choice. Who knows?
We could choose to send him this year. He could be the youngest in his class and struggle the entire time. This could lead him to be frustrated with school, not like school, drop out, and we would be visiting him………..you now where I am going with this.
Choices…. We hope as parents we are making the right ones. I hope for Mr. D, that we will never regret holding him back.