Sunday, April 14, 2013
Autism Understanding & Acceptance 2013 - Day 10
When a child turns 3 years old, s/he ages out of First Steps and, if still eligible, enters the world of Special Education. Here comes Developmental Preschool! And what a fun first year this was. Thomas was in a class of approximately 12 children, a majority of whom qualified for special services due to developmental delays or other special needs, and the other children were typical kiddos (my favorite nickname I've heard for them is Typpies), a.k.a Peer Models.
He went Monday-Friday every morning for three years. The first two years he was at Templeton elementary school, a classroom we hand-picked for the love and fun that the room emitted. There was another classroom at another school which was visually much quieter, very organized & had a structured setting, but we waited for that classroom until his third year. Templeton's classroom looked like a place where a kid could have some serious FUN. And we think he did. He certainly met his first love, Kathy Duckett, his Speech & Langauge Pathologist (SLP) whom I have to call out here because he STILL mentions you, Duckett!
This is where the academic challenges that lay before him began to show themselves. He was, and still is, a happy kid who can entertain himself ALL DAY if necessary. He preferred to sit off by himself, spinning or flipping a toy, instead of sitting in circle time. Encouarging him to join the circle brought him to the circle for mere moments, unless he was sitting in someone's lap. Every activity had to be assisted hand-over-hand, and if not, he was off to his corner to flip or spin something, or play with a perferred toy. He just didn't demand much, and was a super-sweet and cute kid. (Yes, I just said my kid is cute. I'm not biased - I'm just speaking the truth here.) Everyone loved him, and loved having him in class. And we loved having him there.
Why are these academic challenges? Stay tuned...