It is November and the first progress reports have been sent home and parent-teacher conferences have happened. Caleb is adjusting well to 5 days a week of Pre-K, his speech has improved, we are using sentences with 3-4 words and answering some Yes and No questions without prompts and I definitely see the growth from last year. His teachers and I both agree that we have to continue working on independence. He sticks to them like glue and gets jealous of the younger kids. At home, he sticks to me like glue, and before you ask “yes he is still in my bed!!” (A story for another day when I get caught up on our summer ‘19 adventures)
Somehow, I’ve blinked and we went from 0 to kindergarten! I can feel literally feel Kindergarten breathing down my neck. And it smells like large classes, less support and both mama and baby crying every morning. Maybe I’m wrong, right? After all, we have 7 more months, and the progress we’ve made in the last 7 months has been astounding.
With that being said, I really need to start working on preparation for kindergarten. Caleb’s current elementary school is all about inclusion and their kindergarten class is an integrated class, this means Caleb will be in class with other 5-6 year old without disabilities or delays. The thought of this has led me down the dark tunnel I have worked long and hard to avoid, the comparison tunnel. (The space where I am looking at other children Caleb’s age and comparing what they can do and what he hasn’t started doing yet.) I’ve started stressing over his delay in writing, will his new teachers understand his language, is he ready for an integrated class, will we have to consider an alternative school, will he be ready to do homework.
Holy crap! I hear there is so much homework!
What if his little buddies are ready for kindergarten? Will they move on and leave him “behind”?
To combat my anxiety, I’d already gone out and purchased kindergarten prep workbooks, we’d spend an hour or so on these with me frustrated and him whining and fighting. I also purchased the same pencils they use at school and ABA, I’ve emailed his caseworker at ABA and asked to make handwriting a priority in his programs, sight words have been printed and placed on the walls in the house and then right before I made a call to see if I should enroll him for additional occupational therapy I gave myself a reality check. (But not before blaming myself for not doing this sooner, because let’s face it…Mom Guilt takes no days off)
What am I doing?!? And Who are you doing this for? Is this for Caleb or is this for you? For your pride? Your ego maybe? Where is the gratitude for the progress? Do you remember where you guys were 7 months ago and now, you’re in a panic about 7 months into the future? This is after all the definition of ASD. There are delays. He learns differently. He isn’t like everyone else. And that’s ok….I thought I’d made peace with this. (Or had I only accepted it when he was with other kids who were like him?)
These are the questions I had to stop and ask myself because with my personality there is a slippery slope between preparation and panic. Preparation, planning and patience is what Caleb needs to thrive. Panic and pity parties don’t serve either of us and just make for wasted time. I knew how to advocate, research and be a voice for Caleb. His teachers actually made not of that in our meeting. She said “I’m not worried about Caleb getting what he needs next year, he has an advocate. YOU! And I will also make sure he has what he needs from my end.” Why couldn’t we just stay in Miss Molly’s happy world forever and ever??
Somehow, I’d let this thought of “being left behind” creep in and I have no idea where it even came from. This was Kindergarten and although there was work to be done. There was always work to be done. That was lesson #1 when this bomb dropped down on us. There will always be work to do and that should be the focus. Our work, our journey, our path which will always look slightly different than anyone else’s.
Kindergarten will be different and maybe 1st grade too.
Middle school will be another transition and High School for sure.
There will probably be a handful of other transitions in between, maybe new schools, definitely new teachers, and absolutely new friends.
The consistency will always need to be ME and the advocacy for what’s best for Caleb, therefore there was no time for panic…only preparation. There will be no child left behind because there is no race.