Big Decision

April 10, 2008

Today was my CPSE meeting for my son.

I always wake with a heavy heart on these morning.

Last week I was given the reports from the therapists and have gone over them at least 8 times with a fine tooth comb, making notes, highlighting, circling, etc.

Monday the therapists and I had a meeting so that we could go over the reports, discuss where things had changed, and so that we were all on the same page. It is really hard sometimes to read the reports because while they paint a broad picture of your child’s progress, the test numbers are there and most of the time they are lower than actual.

Looking over the paperwork for the last time last night, I decided something that I had mostly planned since he was 2.5 years old. I decided it would be in his best interest to hold off Kindergarten for a year and put him in different preschool to give him exposure to a different curriculum.

This morning I headed over to the preschool after dropping off Handsome. We spoke about enrollment, I grabbed the paperwork, dropped my daughter off at my girlfriends and headed to the meeting armed with the knowledge that I would not be sending him to Kindergarten.

It is always strange walking in, I know the therapist and the Chairperson and the child (mine) we are about to speak about. There are 4-6 other people there to discuss my son and together we are to come up with his new IEP.

Today I was just waiting for the moment when I could say my big decision is “I’M NOT SENDING HIM TO KINDERGARTEN THIS YEAR!”

As soon as I said it I saw eyes rolling to each other, and breath being held. I started my explanation of the tests and how as I read the tests I had circled about 25 places where he was only at a 3.2 year old – 4.5 year old level. I asked them why we would rush a kid into Kindergarten if he wasn’t ready. He is going to have to do a minimum of 12 years of school so what if he starts this year or next year?

They tried to play devils advocate and offer all kinds of solutions and concerns.

Since he is so academically advanced would this hinder the advancement? No because the Pre-K has a very structured academic program.
Would he feel like he was around a bunch of babies if he were to stay in a Pre-K setting? He is classified as a Preschooler with a special delay so talking to younger kids (at his speech level) may actually give him confidence.
We could have a Para follow him around the class for the day. No, he already has a SEIT follow him around for the 2.5 hours he is in school and he would prefer her to not be there.
We could start him in Kindergarten and then hold him back again if he is not ready for 1st. No, I actually think this would do more harm than good. His friends moving on and him staying back? Why repeat Kindergarten?

I stood my ground and understood why there were concerns but I truly believe that even if he was main stream this would not harm him.

The chairperson told me that if he was not academically where he was she would try to steer me in another direction but she knows that I constantly work with him.

She also gave me a wonderful compliment in that she has never met a mother who knew her child more than I do. “Every parent knows what’s best for their child, but I never met someone who knew their child like you do.” I do try. There is nothing more important to me than my children.

I am excited about his new Pre-K and can’t wait to see how he progresses over the summer.

The chairperson also told me that at anytime I feel that he would do well in Kindergarten or that I made the wrong decision (no matter where we are in the school year) she will put him in kindergarten.

So positive. I wish for everyone to have such a positive CPSE experience.

Article in FamilyFun in favor of delaying Kindergarten.

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