As a mother we want everything to be perfect for our children. And if it can’t be perfect we want to do everything we can to turn the situation around for our children. At the end of last year, I shared how we had Emma tested for Autism because we wanted to know exactly what we were dealing with. We learned that she didn’t have Autism, and she was diagnosed with Mixed Receptive and Expressive Language Disorder, Speech/Sound Disorder, Speech Apraxia and Developmental Coordination Disorder.
A couple of weeks before our IEP Meeting, Emma’s teacher contacted me and asked if our plan was to send her to Kindergarten next year. I confidently answered yes…and I noticed some hesitation on her part. So I asked her what were her thoughts and what she said hit me like a TON of bricks…
She explained the things that Emma was currently excelling in and those that she needed more work on. One of the major things she was delayed on was her letter/number recognition, and reading. Going into Kindergarten students are beginning to read, and know sight words and she just wasn’t at that level yet.
Immediately during this conversation I became ANGRY…I was at work and I started crying (an UGLY cry) because I felt like I failed Emma. I was angry at the teacher because it was so late in the year and I was NEVER told that she was practically falling behind, when I talked to her and saw her progress report Emma “Exceeded Expectations” for her goals….so I thought we were on the right track. I was ANGRY with the way this whole process was handled. I was just ANGRY, HURT and ultimately had feelings of failure!
I’ve had plenty of things in my life that required me to reevaluate and try a different way, but this hurt me to my core because it was my baby! And I couldn’t talk about it without crying! I have NEVER in my 33 years just felt like a downright failure so this was a first!
I came home and cried more because I felt like Emma was ready but of course I started second guessing myself. I am a VERY present parent, I come to all the parties, conferences, I also was a volunteer last school year…whatever they’re doing I am there! But I couldn’t get over this overwhelming feeling of guilt and failure!
And honestly, it took me down for a couple of weeks. I was so stressed out…
I talked to a few teachers and educators to get opinions on whether or not to hold her back, and also things that we could work on at home to keep Emma thriving and eventually to the level of her peers. A late night talk with my husband is what eventually helped me snap out of the funk that this entire situation put me in. I knew we had to do what’s best for Emma, and first was create a plan.
Create a Plan at Home and at School!
Things We Immediately Changed…
Since Emma is going to repeat Pre-K, its never too early to start working on things that we know are in her curriculum for this year, next year and preparation for Kindergarten!
Daily Homework….I don’t mean homework from school! Everyday when we get home from work we do something educational. Whether that is reading together, working on her writing, sitting and talking (speech), going over her number and letter charts, coloring…SOMETHING EDUCATIONAL!!! I had to be honest with myself, we weren’t doing enough and this was the wake up call that we needed. My husband and I both got on board and we immediately created a plan of what do to do.
Educational Games ONLY on the iPad…Emma is a tech-geek (hey what can I say…Mommy and Daddy are the same way), she LOVES her iPad. However, even though it had educational games on it, she was also watching YouTube Kids (spare me your judgement). I wiped it clean and started over with ONLY educational games that worked on the areas that she needs help in.
Incorporated her Favorite Toys in Educational Time…Emma LOVES Shopkins! So to work on speech we “play” Shopkins…now this is something we do often since she carries her Shopkins around in her bag. We can be in the car, waiting room and Emma will bring out the Shopkins.
Talked to Therapist (OT, PT & Speech)…to make sure we are all on the same page in what we are working on. If she is getting the same “structure” from all of us the repetitiveness helps her retain the information.
Being STERN in our IEP Meeting…as I stated earlier I received advice on things that I could get changed by law in my IEP and I made sure those changes were made. I was also very stern in what I wanted and that was a weekly update of what is going on with my child in school…IN WRITING! Emma just got to the point of coming home and sharing about her day at school, so in order for me to know what is being worked on and exactly how she is doing I receive weekly personal updates on Emma.
Its been about a month, since our changes and we have seen a HUGE improvement in Emma! Not totally where we want her to be but making improvements and for that we are extremely grateful! With Summer coming up I am going to make sure we continue on our path of excelling at home with education as well as in school next year.