I've been telling Rich for a while that I needed to write an update for Wesley. Well, yesterday was his 6th birthday, so what better time? I went back to see when I updated about him last and I didn't realize that I had dropped the ball there! The last big update you got about him was in Oct 2010. At that time, he was just getting the whole counting thing...he had numbers 1-7...and he was astounding me with his shapes. After months of trying to get blue and yellow, he finally had that then got red right off the bat. He had just started his last year of preschool, although we didn't know that at the time.
With special needs children, you have the option of holding them back a year from starting kindergarten just to ensure that they are where they need to be. We had always intended to take the extra year, we were certain that there was no way he was going to be ready to start on time. There was also some sticky red tape involved with special needs and the labels and junk. Before a child is 6, they can be in preschool under a Developmental Delayed label...they can't get the Autism label before they turn 6 according to the school system...even if they have all the outside diagnosis in the world! Without that Autism label, they can't get services from the Autism teacher. So, because Wesley's birthday isn't until January, he would have had to go half the school year with very little support. This was NOT in his best interest. Fortunately, they decided to change this and we could add autism as a secondary label in order to get the support. (It's all mumbo jumbo to me, just tell me what you are going to do for my child!) Anyway, this opened up the kindergarten option.
At this time, Wesley was still fairly behind neuro-typical (NT) peers, so we were still pretty sure he wasn't going to start. There are so many other things to think about as well. Wesley is a big kid, so he's already the biggest kid in the class, if we hold him back another year so that he's a year older than everyone else, he's going to be that much bigger! We didn't want him to have another reason for being picked on in later years. This one decision was so huge...it would affect the rest of his life! Who are we to make a decision like that when we are but faulty humans?? We really struggled with this...if you couldn't tell. :-) In the end, Wesley learned like a champ for the rest of the year! He could identify and reorder numbers 1-20, he knew all of his capital letters and some lower case ones. He knew lots of shapes! His speech was growing rapidly! He took some of my arguments out of our hands. He would be going to kindergarten!
Of course, the worrying didn't stop. Wesley really has to struggle to learn new concepts...like colors...so how was he going to keep up in kindergarten when they are learning letter sounds. It took MONTHS to get two simple colors down...while he's working on getting the idea of letter sounds, aren't the other children going to zoom past him? We had our IEP (individual education plan) meeting in June and put together some goals to work on for the year. Letter sounds, counting and identifying numbers to 50, naming and identifying vocabulary using pictures, upper and lowercase letters, writing his name, sounding out words, and some beginning math. I was a little concerned about some of these goals. But these will all seem like typical goals for you, but there are also a couple that won't be so typical. Initialing and sustaining play with peers for 10 minutes, and answering simple WH questions (who, what, where, why). It really is amazing some of the things that you take for granted with an NT child...I never had to teach Nick how to play!
Anyway, I was pleased and nervous about starting kindergarten. Then we found out that he was to have Mr. Whaley for his kindergarten teacher...he's been in the room right next to Wesley from the beginning, so he knew Wesley well. I was very happy about this...and then we also learned that Ms Penny from preschool was changing positions and would be Wesley's aide for the classroom! This was turning out wonderfully!! Wesley did well over the summer continuing to learn and polish up some skills, so he had a little jump on his classmates come fall.
Wesley's personality has been showing through so much more too. He's learning to communicate better so that makes it easier. He's such a funny kid! He's currently obsessed with Mario right now. Everything Mario! He has a knit hat with Mario on it that he likes to were...it can be 70 degrees out and he wants "Mario." I am loving the communication...things that I didn't know he could say keep coming out of his mouth. He's being able to tell me things that he wants that I don't know that I would have been able to get otherwise. A couple weeks ago, I was getting him dressed and out of nowhere he says, "How about, BELT!" I had to make him say it a couple of times because this was a new word for me! But he wanted to wear a belt! I just happened to have one that fit too. Nick never really wore one, but his daddy does. Now, he has to have a belt on almost every day. I shudder to think of all the fits that might have been thrown about a belt (without me having any clue what the fit was about) had he not been able to tell me what he wanted! This is one of those moments that will stick in my head.
Wesley is doing fairly well with potty training, still refuses to go anywhere but home and grandparents house and I have to remind him...especially when he's playing video games. Wesley brings home 2 books to read every night and at first, I thought he was just memorizing the books from school until I tested it a little. My baby boy is READING!!!!
We had another IEP meeting in December to go over the testing that was done to determine his eligibility for services due to the fact that he was turning 6...more red tape stuff. Anyway, of course he's eligible, so we went over the goals again while we were there. Wesley has mastered some of his goals! He's gotten all of his letter sounds! He's sounding out words and is reading age appropriate books! Mr Whaley said that he is actually nicely ahead of lots of his NT students! Just what a mom wants to hear!! :-) So, we need to tweak the IEP to add some harder stuff! He's going to be starting addition and subtraction, counting by fives and tens, and we've moved on the comprehension with his reading.
My big baby boy is doing fantastically! I am really impressed at anyone who has made it through this entire post, but there was so much to put in here! I am sure I am missing stuff, but I promise not to take so much time before updating about him again. Thank you so much for caring. Having Wesley has shown me the meaning of it taking a village to raise a child.
Real Life Handsome Lives at My House :)
1 year ago