This is how I would describe my current feelings in regard to Isaac and his special education class. Has it done a lot of good for him to be in this class? You bet. It's given him a great background in routines and basic pre-school academics. His teacher is even meeting his above average reading and math skills. I'm very grateful for that. However, in his recent parent/teacher conference it was suggested to me by her and his speech therapist to consider begindergarten next year solely because he struggles socially in school. Now, if you know me, you know that my theory behind some of Isaac's social "struggles" is that he is in a class full of kids who are also below the bar socially. Isaac does reasonably well at play group, on the play ground, and in Sunday school. He even goes out of his way (according to his teacher) to read books to a pre-verbal friend at school. I can't say as I mind him not being the best at small talk if this is the social character of my four year old- reading books to a kid who truly struggles. So how is being in a class with other kids who "aren't ready" for kindergarten next year going to help my child? Enlighten me.
His teacher and I agreed that adding a mantra about talking to his friends at school might be helpful. So on the way to school Friday I broached the subject with Isaac- giving ideas of things to ask his friends. His response? "I can't." Why not? Well, one friend is just "wild and crazy at school. I can't talk to them." Fair enough. "Well, why don't you try asking people what they had for lunch?" "I can't. They never remember what they had for lunch." OK. I don't know how to argue with that.
Today his teacher told me he needed a lot of reminders to use his words. On the way home I asked Isaac why this was the case and he responded, "I can't use my words because nobody listens to me. My friends don't listen to me." Maybe I'm partial, but I've visited his classroom before and can see where this would be mostly true of the other kids in his class. Meanwhile, Isaac talked to me all the way home. I opened his school folder to find a worksheet with adult handwriting on the back saying that Isaac answered questions in an "inappropriate (snotty) tone" with other speech therapy notes. Unprofessional, to say the least, Miss Speech Therapist. It's also completely unhelpful to send this home without any explanation with it. Mind you, this is also the woman who didn't realize that my son was reading. It goes without saying that I take what she says with a grain of salt. My child will be going to Kindergarten (with a capital K) in the fall. I'm so ready. Will we be working on "the social piece" til then? Please, you should know me by now. He'll be ready, small talk and all.