My 22q heart baby is all grown up and going to school!
The Saturday night before the big day, my dad was giving me a hard time for not having a parent-teacher conference about Josie’s delays. I know he was doing it out of concern for Josie but he did a great job at making me feel like crap when I was already uncertain about how she’d do in a normal pre-k class.
While she qualified in multiple areas for ESE in a public school, there are so many reasons we wanted to go the private route. Mostly because the program we chose is awesome; it takes place primarily outside, is incredibly hands-on and fully play based. No desks in sight. All GINORMOUS pluses for learning. Also because it only meets 3 days a week, that frees up an entire day for shenanigans and Thursday still functions as therapy day.
In an ESE situation, they push you to go full time. I am not certain why, but I am not ready for my 4 year old (ok almost 5) to be gone all day Monday through Friday. I am 1000% positive she can not and will not sit in an assigned seat for any kind of worksheet work for any length of time.
Also, fighting for resources in the public school system to ensure she was being challenged enough and the whole IEP process made me so weary. Not only do the testers over-qualify your child for services he or she needs, I have learned they often under qualify you (and it makes zero sense unless you look at it from a fiscal standpoint). Also, I personally could use a break from treating her like a special needs kid, if at all possible. Josie certainly needs OT, PT and (especially) speech services so she can be more like her peers, if she came out of a VPK program still not holding her pencil right, knowing any letters of her alphabet, her colors, counting, (etc) I’m ok with that. Look how far she has come!
She has a genetic defect in her chromosomes that manifests itself in every gene–every cell of her body. This girl was born without a roof to her mouth and an aorta. Her brain is wired differently.
But in spite of all that, we sent her off to the coolest part-time Prek program anyway. Mainstreamed her. And guess what? She had a fabulous time. Her teacher said she quickly and easily made multiple friends. She participated in everything. She helped other kids follow the rules. She sang and danced and followed directions well and was all around very sweet, social and helpful! The teacher said her delays didn’t stand out at all and she could understand everything Josie tried to tell her because of her gestures, signs and persistence.
Hearing that report was so awesome Monday afternoon!
She is one great kid!
I know that she will not always appear to be on par with her peers. As she gets older the gap will get bigger. Like I said, there are noticeable differences when you get past socialization and singing songs with hand movements. 22q kids generally do well mainstreamed (from what I have read) until 2nd grade when learning focus shifts. Being able to read (which is a general 22q strength due to good rote memory) changes into reading comprehension and lessons become more abstract. We’ll deal with that stage’s difficulties when we have to. Nothing with a 22qer is ever set in stone anyway, but the plan for now is possibly repeating preK next year (with Mary) and homeschooling with Mary with the same curriculum from there out.
For now, I want to celebrate her strengths and let her enjoy being a four-year-old. We are so far very pleased with the reports from her first day of school. We will see how the 2nd day goes tomorrow, and so forth!