Thursday, June 04, 2009

Kindergarden preparedness

Andy had his concert tonight, singing with his class. It was a little rougher than anticipated. The noise was getting on the nerves of several of the other kids.. so you can imagine the state poor Andy was in. I stood with him for the first few songs, coaxing him from the bleachers to his spot on the stage.

Mommy won't be there to coax him in three months. Mommy won't be there to hug him and comfort him when the cafeteria gets overwhelming. Mommy won't be there to get him to his feet and into his place.

I wont be there.

None of the other kids needed to be coaxed, hugged, and have Mom beside them to get them going. And once he got going? He was great. Perhaps not perfect. He didn't seem to know the words the way the other kids did. He wanted to run around more than the other kids did. Getting him to stay in his spot between songs? Oh, right.

How do you explain this problem to people? How do I get the school personnel to understand? Do I really have to slap him with a diagnosis to get them to listen to what i am saying? am I not saying the right things, in the right way? Does it take a label to get people to really look at anecdote and think about evidence?

What do I do if Andy isn't ready for kindergarden?


Niksmom said...

I think this is a pervasive problem in our educational system; so many years of assumptions made that "He'll catch up" or "He's just a little quirky; he's fine!"

Sadly, you may have to get an actual diagnosis/label before school is willing to look deeper/harder. You'd think te fact that you aren't a first time mom and theat you already have a child with identified disabilities they might put a little more credence in what you are saying.

Good luck and let us know if there's anything you need (ok, that we can provide, I mean!). xo

farmwifetwo said...

The answer - Yes.

Why should your child receive the time, the supports, the $$$ without a dx that other parents that have worked tirelessly to get the dx receive???

There's too few supports and too few $$$ and the school's will not work without a dx.

Otherwise you wait until Gr 3 before support is given, they do the dx and you lose control of the process, or you have him end up in a Behavioural program b/c he couldn't cope.

I fought 18mths through the medical system - school wouldn't do it and the medical system said he had a dx already they weren't doing it again - when I was told at SrK that "speech and language delayed with global delays" is a LD and therefore they didn't have to do anything until Gr 3. In the end it was changed to "a mild form of ASD" at the end of Gr 2... just think of the nearly 2yrs of time we lost... or verbally NLD w/ S/L delay.

Due to the unending work I've done to get both boys what they need in the school system... truth is I don't sympathise with the rest of the world... and neither does the school system.

S. Who's end of gr 4 and end of gr 2 IEP's were the BEST ever!!!!! FINALLY I think they "get it".

Joeymom said...

And having already been through that fight for one, I think the fighting you had to do is wrong. But I definitely think you've given us plenty of great stuff to think about here. You always do when I get comments from you! :)

I think ALL children's needs should be met, not just the ones with a 25% delay in an academic-affecting area. If Andy only shows a 24% delay, he gets zero services under IDEA. We know this, because we are already facing this problem with Andy's speech issues. OK, 22% delay. But that means zero service.

Children shouldn't have to be stuffed full of labels and medicalized to receive simple accommodations that cost the school exactly zero dollars. Those are what we've been asking about and for, and so far, been ignored.

I've already have him eval-ed by the school, we've been through ChildFind twice. I think it has made this situation worse, not better.

I'm concerned about your school saying they didn't need to do anything about LD with global delays until grade 3. That is not the case here, if you have a 25% delay, you qualify, and that's that. They put you in special education. You need a diagnosis at age 8 to be categorized (the developmental delay label disappears) and that was just lowered to age 6; but without a medical label of a specific LD, you run the risk of being shuffled into the MR category by "default." Also, our schools cannot diagnose a child with anything. They can only identify needs. Only the medical system can provide a medical diagnosis.

Hence out appointment with the(private, not school) psychiatrist on July 3.

Trish said...

Your last question was what should you do if he's not ready - and I would say the answer is don't send him!

I don't know the details of the situation or what state you are in, but there are always options - another year of Early Intervention, delaying entrance to kindergarten, in PA you don't have to enroll your child until age 8 and even then you can choose to homeschool, look in to online charter schools.

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that you are in charge of your child, not the school.

Another thing we have in PA is RTI (Response to Intervention) and any parent can request their child be referred to the Instructional Support Team for a screening. They can start interventions without any special ed involvement and then do a formal evaluation if the child doesn't respond to what they do.

I hear your anxiety and know that I dealt with all of those same feelings when my son was 5 and we chose to wait and then again when he was 6 and we were making the actual plans; I'm happy to talk more details if you want to email me. Good luck!

Stimey said...

You know that I totally get how you feel about this. I felt like this with Jack before he started kindergarten. And it's been a tough year. But even after all of that, I don't know that we would have held him back if we had the chance to make the decision again.

For me, I don't really care about a diagnosis. I just want to make sure my kids get what they need. Although you know that it can be a pain in the ass to get one. Especially, I'm sure, for something like SPD.

If there is one thing I know, though, Andy will be okay. And he will be okay because he has you advocating for him and looking out for him and watching the school. You will make sure he gets what he needs. I'm sure of that.

But that doesn't make it any easier to watch them falter where other kids don't, huh? Big hugs to you.

ghkcole said...

Wow, you do have a challenge in front of you, and I'm sorry to hear it. For one thing, I feel many of the same anxieties that you feel, so I'm probably the wrong one to answer your questions. But as an elementary school teacher, here is what I think. The first and most important line of defense is the teacher. I know you don't know who will teach him, but when you do, that is where you will be able, I hope, to go build understanding and consensus, and establish a relationship. When you talk about school personnel not getting it, I think you probably mean administrators. Administrators who don't get it are so frustrating and disappointing and maddening, but they are not the ones who will know your child best and spend the most time and energy helping him. I am going to hope upon hopes that your son and mine both get kindergarten teachers with lots of experience and wisdom, flexibility and creativity, compassion and love. Then, we will be able to talk to them, and teach them about our kids. We can give examples, anecdotes, articles, suggestions. We can forge a team. I hope. I really, really hope. I know that isn't much, isn't all that you are looking for, but when it comes to the question of diagnosis, I have a lot of faith in you to navigate those waters, as hard as they are, and work that out the best possible way... you are such a terrific mom, with such good instincts... what do YOU think? Big hugs to you.