Wednesday, December 2, 2009

All Day!

Bubby started a full day of Kindergarten this week. As many of you will recall, I had a hard time deciding what to do with him this year because he's a December baby and also, he has P.D.D (nos), a mild form of autism.

At the end of last year I had told his teachers and the special education director that I wanted him to do a full day of pre-school again because I didn't want to push him and I knew that because of his birthday, I wouldn't really be holding him back.

Well, he grew tremendously during the summer. He made huge advances in speech and motor skills as well as being able to sit for extended periods of time and pay attention. On top of that, I noticed that he tended to mirror the behavior and speech of children around him and I was very afraid that he would go to pre-school with children who were significantly behind him developmentally and start to regress.

I asked for him to do morning preschool and afternoon Kindergarten and they looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. I still wanted him to have the safety and security and reinforcement of preschool but I also wanted him to be challenged and have the exposure to "normal" kids. They reluctantly agreed. But only because I threatened to stand outside the school with my picket signs until they agreed.

He started school and did handsomely. All of my worries about Kindergarten were completely unfounded because not only did he keep up, he excelled. His attention to detail and ability to pay attention serves him well. In many cases, he performs better than many of his classmates! By the time teacher orientations rolled around, the school suggested that we meet for our annual PPT to determine what his goals should be for the rest of the year.

To our surprise, the director of special education suggested that he be promoted to all day Kindergarten since he had met all of his objectives in pre-school. We all thought he would benefit from the repetition of a full day. Everyone else only gets half day so Bubs is getting it full force. His teachers adore him. They ooh and aah and tell me how wonderful and sweet and agreeable he is. It's nice to hear this and it's in stark opposition to what we hear about Birdie!

He is right on par with all of his classmates. He is starting to read and is beginning to understand math. His social skills are exponentially better than ever. I can't even begin to express how amazing this is for us. This is a boy who only 2 years ago was completely unreachable. A boy who had ZERO speech, who couldn't tolerate hot and cold and dark and light. This is a boy who had no sense of self or recognition of others, a boy who was trapped in a loop of repetitive action, a boy who could not see out of his shell.

It's hard for people who know him now to imagine this about him. They see a normal little boy who functions very well. A boy who is heart-achingly gorgeous. But we remember. It's all still so clear in our mind and it's almost like a dream, a miracle that he is where he is today.

Many parents have high expectations for their kids. They want them to excel in reading or math or science. They want them to be exceptionally behaved or have musical talent in order to make themselves stand out. All we ever wanted for Bubba was for him to fit in. We wanted him to just be normal so that he wouldn't stand out as being different.

He will always face difficulties, we will always have the challenges of helping him maneuver the world. I'm so excited to see what he can accomplish!

7 comments:

  1. I totally understand your persistance and actions concerning your son, Bubba. While I appreciate educators to the utmost, their hands are so full, and it benefits our kids if we step in with our help and opinions. Go Bubba! and Go Mommy!

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  2. Licha! You are a warrior mom. It was a pleasure to read about Bubba this morning. Thanks for sharing this bit of your life. I am certain there are other moms out there will be inspired and feeling more hopeful after reading this.

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  3. That's wonderful!

    My parents fought to get me into a public school, while the 'officials' wanted me to go to a school for the disabled. My parents won the fight and I never had a single problem.

    No one know kids like their own parents do.

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  4. Hi. I don't live in America - and know that your school system is different to ours, but I'm not sure how. What is kindergarten? Here it is like preschool (sort of) and is aimed at children aged 3-5. Then they go to primary school and begin in the new entrants. Is that where bubba is?

    It sounds like regardless of where he is, he is doing really well. Good work for sticking to your guns. And isn't it nice when you see your kids both fitting in and exceeding all expectations.

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  5. Woo hoo! Isn't it great to see your child overcome? That is just super! I feared Linus would need "Young Fives" rather than all day kindergarten, but he is just flourishing in preschool. I love it when they spread their wings beyond our expectations.

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  6. I am so happy to hear how well he's doing! Just goes to show Mom always knows best.

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