My five year old “graduated” from pre-K this week. He’s class of 2029, and let me just say that feels so futuristic. I hadn’t even thought of the year he’d graduate high school until I saw it at his little ceremony. It was such a bittersweet moment and even though it’s just pre-kindergarten – how can you fail pre-K, right? – it is by far one of my most proudest moments.
A little backstory: My son was diagnosed as having sensory processing disorder (sensory integration) when he was 18-months old, when I had noticed there were things he wasn’t doing that was typical for his age, etc. Four years later, his sensory integration is nothing like it was – he still struggles with a couple things but he has an occupational therapist that works with him, and has given helpful tips to work at home with him.
At the time, he also wasn’t very verbal. Originally, we thought it was due to tongue tie which was partially at fault. Ultimately, due to the sensory integration, it became apraxia of speech. Basically meaning that his brain couldn’t tell the parts of the mouth how to function to get the words out in a clear and concise way. He has been seeing a speech therapist for four years and while he still struggles on a few letter sounds and is constantly dropping end syllables, we can now understand him without the need of context. (And, no, we never pushed sign language because it was difficult for him – he does know several signs, though).
Due to him being developmentally behind – he is technically on the autism spectrum – I decided to place him into a pre-K program last year for three year olds (pre-K3, how original). I wanted him to start a little early so he could catch up to his peers. At the time, he was in daycare but it didn’t feel like it was enough as far as peer interaction. He could count a little, knew some letters, etc. but as a single parent going through college and working, I did everything I could at home to help him learn and it just didn’t feel like enough.
When he started last year, he was also receiving special instruction/education services but halfway through the school year, we learned it wasn’t even necessary. He loves school and learning! I also think somewhere in there, he loves the idea of teaching. There was something about a school setting that helped him learn more than what I was doing at home with him. Being around other children helped, too. He picked up some bad habits, and we’re working on those but I think the good outweighs the bad.
Here we are in the 2015-2016 year and halfway into the school year – my son made perfect scores on midterm and report card (they were different in terms of what was evaluated – mid-term was more ABCs, numbers, shapes; report card was more “can communicate needs,” “reads stories and can answer questions about the story,” etc). The only things on report cards that he didn’t get “proficient” on were things they hadn’t started yet or were the things he works on with his occupational therapist (“can cut along straight line,” for instance).
To some this is just a kiddie graduation going from one school to another – essentially, that is what it is. But to this momma, it’s a little boy that came such a long way in the last two school years and can tackle anything that comes his way. I just hope that he can continue loving school the way that he does and doesn’t lose that desire to learn. I don’t know how many times I fielded questions about what fog is, what clouds are, how things work. And I’ll never forget that I learned what chrysalis is from my five year old.