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Successfully moving on

For those of you new to the blog who need a recap (or for family and friends who can't keep our saga straight)--my son was in the state's Early Intervention program this time last year. Being seen by an occupational therapist, speech therapist, and social worker for a variety of issues...not talking, sensory issues, motor problems, social/emotional/behavioral problems. He was evaluated by our local school district and then has been in an early childhood program 5 days a week the entire school year.

But I'm happy to report that he's being considered for dropping his special services. That's how much progress he's made over the last few months. Really, it's like a different kid.

Next year, he'll still be in a school district-supported preschool program. Only with far less supervision and more children than his current class. Everyone in his new class next year will be in the program because they meet at-risk criteria--being watched for problems. Though it's a far less restrictive and more normalized environment. He'll be socializing with peers who are more age-appropriate, he'll not have any sort of IEP most likely, and he'll not receive any extra therapy to start the semester.

If you saw the different between last year and today, you'd see why. He's gone from a moody, tantrum-throwing non-talker who struggled with new situations, new people, and new routines...to, well, a fairly model kid unless we're talking about his sibling rivalry with his sister.

He's polite, he takes turns, he asks probing, curious questions. He speaks in elaborate sentences and tells stories. He plays well with others, he's considerate and helpful. He is far less easily upset. He can draw and make crafts and blow bubbles.

Granted, some of the amazing progress is just natural growth. He's older. He's more mature. He's learned a lot. But I speak for both Mama and myself in saying that we have nothing but glowing, positive things to say about the work his teachers and the other staff have done with him. For him. Communication has been excellent. His first experience with school was a totally uplifting one that has made it a key part of his life. He now enjoys the time spent doing crafts, the music, the stories, the interaction with classmates, the new things he's trying. If for no other reason, I'm happy we acted when we did (finally) because his preschool experience is giving him a ready-for-Kindergarten leg up where he will be far more prepared for his first day of "real" school because of what he's been through so far.

We're a bit nervous about the new program for next year. Getting him the help he needs if and when he needs it. We're nervous about the transition of him leaving teachers and friends he loves dearly. But, overall, we're fairly confident he will do well because of the hard work the school has put in.

There are still some hoops to jump through...an evaluation, a meeting. But it feels right.

My two general closing thoughts are this: thank you so much to the Early Childhood specialists out there who truly make a difference in the lives of not just my child but so many kids. And, if you're a parent with any questions about your child whatsover, please DO NOT hesitate to have your child evaluated. It's probably the best decision you can make for either peace of mind that nothing is wrong or access to help that will make not just your child's life better...but YOUR life better, too.

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