It’s finalized. Simon will attend full-day kindergarten at the school my other children attend.
He’ll have help, but he’ll be in a regular classroom. He’ll need breaks. He’ll need guidance. He’ll still need speech and occupational therapies. But for the first time, he’ll be doing something academically that my other kids did.
The first two went to the touchy-feely, granola-eating nature preschool. They went outside no matter what the weather. They were given freedom to explore their surroundings and partake in activities mostly at will. They loved it.
But it wasn’t for Simon. Early childhood special education, small classrooms and therapists were what he needed. So we did that. Though I was a bit sad that he was missing out on such a special experience, he didn’t seem to know or care.
Now, he’ll be at the elementary school across the street that partners with the nature center. They still go outside every day. But the day is a bit more structured, and they provide help for kids who need it.
We had a meeting with staff members who will undoubtedly get to know Simon very well in his five years at the school, and I’m optimistic that he’ll do well. I think full days are going to be an adjustment, but once it becomes his routine, I am hopeful that he will love it.
I worry about other kids teasing him and his temper flaring up, but our school is no-tolerance in the bullying department. Kids are taught to be accepting and inclusive from Day One. Then I worry that actually might be a problem for Simon on the other end, as he tends to whack children who get into his personal space or don’t comply with his rigid ideas about how play should proceed.
I worry that his fine motor skills are not where they should be, and he’s really not writing at all. He can scratch out his name, but he can’t write other letters, despite three years of special education preschool. He’s not good with a scissors. Glue on his hands could cause a meltdown. I know these are all typical for a child on the spectrum. But he’s my child, and I worry that others won’t see what he can accomplish with some patience.
I worry incessantly about him leaving the protective bubble of special ed and mixing in with the other kids. He’s in a mixed preschool now, but his teacher is a special ed teacher, and she really seems to get him.
In short, I worry. I worry, I worry, I worry, and kindergarten is a whole summer away.