As you all know, I have been stressing a lot over whether or not to send Austin to kindergarten next year. I am leaning towards holding him back, but I feel like the CPSE chair is going to push to place him in school with an Aide. I just don't think he's ready yet.
So one of the local elementary schools had a program last night to give parents an idea of what kindergarten is like. They went over concepts that the children should know and what is included in a typical day. Cognitively, Austin is very smart and he could excel. His trouble is taking that knowledge and making it functional...meaning using it to complete assignments. They make it clear the kids will be writing and have some reading capability at the end of the year, but Austin's fine motor is so far behind that he can't even draw a circle, much less a square. I just think it'll be too much.
After the session, I went to talk to two of the district reading teachers. They both agreed that if I had any reservations, then to keep him back. It made me feel very relieved that the professionals supported my decision. These are teachers that will be working with him. I think that extra year off will not only benefit him in his OT skills, but will give him increased maturity and self confidence. They also very kindly gave me two local pre-k programs to look into.
On another note, I had to sit there and snicker at some of the questions parents asked. Let me qualify this with the statement, that we live in a somewhat 'uppity' district. Actually, I could probably take the somewhat part out altogether! The reason we ended up in this district is because we found a great house in foreclosure and we could afford it. Given my choice, my kids would be in the district jeff and I grew up in...but I digress. If I had a dollar for each parent that asked...if my kid is gifted, what will you do for him/her....I could have bought myself a steak dinner at 677 Prime (HIGH end steakhouse in Albany). I think the principal summed it up best after the umpteenth similar question...'gifted is a term only to be applied after extensive testing, we use the word propensity towards'....slam dunk, two points for the principal, shut those moms right up. And then there is me...'what about services for the kids that need it, are they in class or pulled out.' He started to go into a spiel about not being concerned if the child needs services, it's not a direct reflection of poor rearing..or something along those lines, and I politely interrupted him and said, he's had services for 2.5 years, it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He seemed relieved that a parent was accepting of that situation. Versus, the moms unlike me...
Then there were the moms that commented on the fact the video of the k-garten class showed a boy in a wheelchair...he appeared to have cerebral palsy. At least two moms asked if he (or others like him) would 'interact' with their kids. The principal explained that all kids are mainstreamed, regardless. I could almost hear the groans. It's sad that there are still parents out their teaching their kids intolerance. Maybe I have such an issue with it because I have two kids with needs, but really, it's 2007, why do people need to continue raising kids to be intolerant. Besides this boy looked like he LOVED being part of the group and participating with his peers...why didn't the parents see that, instead of just his wheelchair. But, I suppose that is a post for another day.
Connor is off to genetics today. Not sure if it's just a discussion day or a testing day. I'll let you know. I am still pushing for the Tuberous Sclerosis testing. I am prepared to fight!