Back to school

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 8:07 PM | comments: 0

Simon went back to school this week, and it occurs to me that I haven't really written about him in awhile. So here's the update.

About the time Simon's "special" preschool ended in the spring, he started to see an ABA therapist who came to our house twice a week, for two hours each time. This was entirely out of pocket (and the bills somehow haven't been making it here, so now, ouch), but it was worth every penny. It's not just Simon who benefits, but us as well. We're better equipped to understand how to relate to him, how to discipline him effectively and we've seen that he can focus on tasks. His wonderful therapist also saw a lot of things that indicated something I was hoping for, that despite the developmental delays, there's very obviously an intelligent little boy in there.

Simon also spent some time in a Montessori school, for three hours a session, a few times a week. He really enjoyed that, which doesn't surprise me, because the method is a combination of structure and self-directed learning. That's something I see in him that is very much me, that he often has no desire to do something just because someone expects it of him. It's a social contract he has little use for, and I know it made me a miserable child in school at times. If that carries over into grade school for him, I feel bad for what he's in for.

Now that the school year is back, he's actually going to school twice. In the morning, he goes to regular preschool, with 17 other kids. In the afternoon, he goes to the smaller (8 kids or less, I think it was) class with kids who have similar developmental issues. It's a little inconvenient, because Diana has to go out and get him in between for about 70 minutes. He's also tired out of his mind by the end of the day, and sometimes a hot mess. Still, the afternoon gets him the individual attention that certainly helps him, but the morning puts him in a much bigger social context, which I think he desperately needs.

Where is he? It's hard to say, because all I can do is compare to other kids, because I'm not a professional. On gross motor skills, he seems to have come along, but lacks confidence sometimes in things like jumping off of a two-foot platform. For fine motor, he's much better at using eating utensils, iPad games and dressing, but he clearly has a long way to go for writing. He knows his alphabet and a few words, but I don't think he's connecting them to what he can speak. His speech is the thing that seems the most behind, despite a ton of progress. That's the hardest thing for me... seeing the progress, but knowing he's not where his peers are.

Ultimately, my hope is that he can start kindergarten on time next year. My largely uninformed opinion is that it could go either way. I can see the reasoning to hold him back a year, but I also think that could backfire because the smart kid inside with the extreme pattern recognition and memory will get bored when he does catch up. Again, I can certainly relate to that.


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