There will be no mainstream kindergarten this year.
The follow-up appointment with the psychologist revealed data that the language deficit is much greater than anyone realized. Our little guy has an above average non-verbal ability and a below average verbal ability. He would essentially require 1-on-1 assistance throughout the school day to be sure he would be able to understand directions/rules/expectations. This would not be an enriching school experience. The preschool apologized for not doing an updated language assessment sooner, and said they would have approached this past year completely differently had they known more about his language abilities. So, the bottom line: We have somewhat lost an entire school year.
Luckily, our son has a spring birthday, so retention (which isn’t really the right word, because he won’t be doing preschool again, per se) isn’t terrible. He will be back at his previous school and we are still formulating exactly what this will look like…but a specially designed program is in the works.
Luckily, we now have facts and data to show what areas we really need to work on. However, I personally have been feeling really scattered and unsure of what specifically I should be doing with him right now, though have been trying more and more to engage him and push him more in language and seat work kind of tasks at home. Overall, this has felt plain disappointing. It felt like we sort of had the school part figured out, and all plans were completely dismantled and there’s been this huge feeling of limbo. I also know that his knowledge and intelligence is way more than those tests could show (hello language deficit) and he is academically on par with kids much older with knowing things like addition, subtraction, and the 50 states.
His case conference, which was moved from May, was held last week to start being “creative” as the school put it, with his new school year plan. With 9 people sitting around a table, we came up with a shell of a school day and the teachers and therapists are still making plans for how that time will be usefully spent to remediate his language skills yet still keep up and hopefully expand on his current academic abilities. He will still have ABA sessions in the mornings and that therapist will go with him to his first leg of the school session each day. The school is also pushing our daughter to the afternoon session (she was asked to be a peer model) so the kids will get to be at the same school, at mostly the same time, and ride the bus home together. I do think this will be nice.
We left the meeting feeling a little bit of relief at least in knowing where and when to send our child to school. It is also very nice to know that he is still going to be in a loving and nurturing environment. These people are all very invested in him and want him to succeed. It has taken me over a month to really feel like I have mostly accepted this, though every time I pass the elementary school with its sign screaming “register for kindergarten” I feel frustrated or sad again. Once the school year officially starts next week, I’m sure it’ll all start to feel more normal.