I should clarify that Isaac wasn't ornery about going to school today at all. In fact, he was down right jovial while getting ready for pre-school orientation today. He recited all the things he should remember on the way to school.
"I can't want to hit, mommy. I want to share with my friends and play with them."
"Right. And where do you put your hat, coat, and backpack when you get to school?"
"In my cubby."
"Yep, that's right. You're not going to throw them on the floor. And you're going to answer when people ask you questions, right?"
Well, he didn't answer questions, but he did everything else. I think he was a little overwhelmed at the new faces also there for orientation. As was I. Looking around I first saw two other children- both significantly younger than Isaac in every way. I overheard a few conversations about diapers. Isaac's been potty trained since before he turned three, and these children are to be in the morning class with him. One wasn't even three yet. "Where's Kara?" he asked. It didn't help that the substitute teacher he will have for the first four weeks of school is also named Kara, but with a little clarification I think he understood that his Kara wasn't there and might not even be in his class this year. I made passing chit chat with who was there of Isaac's teaching team as was all that could be done with the chaos of new students. I tried to express the level of progress Isaac has made this summer, but it probably was hard to believe when the child would barely say two words to any of his teachers/helpers. He did, however, manage to try to reciprocally play with almost every child there. He sought them out to take part in what they were doing, but it's hard to take turns with two and three year olds with no school experience and a classically autistic pre-verbal 4.5 year old when you are four and have spent a whole summer playing just fine with developmentally typical peers. For the record, I know I sound a bit snooty right now.
Red flags shot up for this mom who has worked pretty darn hard this summer to bring this kid up to speed. Sure, at first I was thrilled that he would be in the morning class for routine reasons, but now I'm really concerned that being with virtually non-verbal and diaper-clad kids is not the right fit for Isaac this year. The child is working on simple math and spelling. He learned his letter sounds in less than a week. He's been running around playing firemen, made-up spaceship games, and doctor with his friends all summer. While I don't think he's ready for regular school yet, I know that I don't want to back track by placing him in the wrong special ed class. So I sent an email to his social worker at school requesting that she call me to discuss this very thing. I honestly feel so strongly about it that if they deny me the afternoon class I might pull him from the a.m. class and continue working on things at home and doing play group. However, I know that they based their decision on where Isaac was in June so I don't blame them for putting him in the a.m. class. It's just that three months later he's in a totally different place, and that's not momentum I want to lose.
I'll keep you posted on how it goes. Needless to say I'm feeling a little ornery right now. It did not help that Foods For Living and Meijer had practically no gfcf food on sale. A bag of pretzels should never cost $8- no matter how good they taste while stress-eating on a park bench after pre-school orientation. Yes, I was the mom in the gfcf aisle loudly remarking that "there goes your college fund, Isaac" while throwing a bag of Glutino pretzels into the cart today. Sigh... more iced coffee, please.
The social worker just called knowing that I wanted to switch. She agreed that it was a good idea so Isaac will be in the afternoon class tomorrow. That was way easier than I thought it was going to be. Apologies for any and all drama. I'm still drinking too much coffee today, though.