Even though William is turning 5 in about a month, he will not be starting Kindergarten in the fall. Through discussions with the school physchologist, Will's teacher, the therapists who see him at school and privately, Ryan and I decided this was the best decision for Will's future success.
This decision did not come easily. There was some private tears shed on my part. Second guessing of myself. Talks with family and friends and professionals. But now, after seeing some things I know fully in my heart that this is right.
Why hold him back? Well, it's preschool. He hasn't completely grasped some of the concepts and skills that will be neccessary in Kindergarten and because of his delays he may not be able to voice his struggles to his teacher (who will be busy with a classful of other students). This, in turn, could become a snowball effect which will cause educational struggles for the rest of his life. By adding another year at a good preschool, this should bolster up his skills, provide additional assistance where he is weak, and give him the confidence to move ahead.
It is better for him to be held back now and start later while he is so young. He won't be as attached to his friends as if he were in 4th grade or so. There's no strange stigma at this age -- many boys start kindergarten late, usually because of maturity issues.
What makes me a bit more okay about all this is William is approximately a year behind in his physical development. After our last talk with the endocrinologist, it appears that Will's body is the age of a 3 1/5 year old, not a 4 1/2 year old. The doctor stated that William is just a late bloomer and will likely even hit puberty about a year or two behind his peers. By holding him back a year he will be age appropriate to those in his class. He won't be that cute, tiny baby faced little kid surrounded by hairy, smelly, pre-teen boys.
A cool thought is that Will probably will be the first in his class to get a driver's license. Nice.
Yes, he will be 19 when he graduates high school, but at this point I'm okay with that.
And who is to say? He could make amazing progress and skip a grade or even graduate early? I know I was a candidate to graduate a year early because of my credits, but decided against it since I loved high school so much.
I talked with Will's teacher this past week on the phone about how he was doing in school. He is making progress, but his speech is definitely an obstacle. We were in agreement that the school therapists should be in contact with his private therapists to be sure they are working together and seeing the same issues.
William has friends! This was a big relief for me. I ask him about friends at school but he doesn't have the language to tell me about them. His teacher filled me in: There's another boy in his class that has more severe delays and apparently Will has sort of taken him under his wing. They do speech together at school and he models the sounds first. He gives the little boy pats on the back and includes him. This makes my mommy heart swell. And I was told there's a girl who is like the 'mother hen' of the class. Will likes to follow her around, she likes to have him nearby and looks out for him and in return Will helps take care of her to be sure she has what she needs. I was told he has other friends as well that he likes to play with.
His social skills are improving. His verbal skills are improving. So much of my little boy is making progress and even if it's not a fast as I would wish -- it is improvement and it is steady.
We are blessed to be in such a great school district with good early childhood education programs. We have been given good insurance that pays for Will's private therapies. We have wonderful therapists who work well with Will. There are a lot of benefits to being in Ohio and even if I'm not a fan of this place I am willing to stay for the betterment of my children.