Friday, January 8, 2016

My Little Cricket’s Delay: Touring Center-Based Early Intervention Programs

First off I have a strong aversion to sending my kid to school. I understand that everyone has a different opinion on schools and daycare and in no way am I trying to push my views on them. I realize that everyone is different and everyone’s situation is unique. For me though I wanted to wait. In fact before I had kids, and when my Little Cricket was young I was in love with the idea that I would homeschool. Alas I decided (for now anyway) to not go that route. With my new revised plan of sending my Little Cricket off to school I decided that a preschool that met two times a week for a few hours a day would work as a good starting point. And I was pretty adamant about not sending my son until he was talking and could communicate what happened during school. My goal age was around three and a half.

Of course now I have a child that isn’t speaking well and is showing some limited social skills and I have to revise my idea of what I want in regards to sending my Little Cricket to school. Everyone… absolutely everyone is telling me that I need to put my kid in some type of preschool. And I have been super hesitant to even consider it up until now. With so many people telling me how to raise my child and how best to help him be the best he can be I have had to weed through a ton of information. I have also had to dig deep and figure out what the goals are to help my son short term and long term. One of the weaknesses he displays is sitting and giving attention to a task that isn’t a preferred task. Classes, library reading groups, or social eating are pretty much impossible with my kid. He just doesn’t want to sit still and focus at all. So in the essence of building his skills and getting him to eventually be in a school setting one of the things I need to get him to do is to sit and listen to someone other than me.

I have tried to see my child in a typical preschool, I even tried visiting with my son a couple days to see how he would do and it was an absolute disaster. Although I desperately want him to go to a regular school in my gut I know he isn’t ready for a traditional preschool. So I decided to tour some Center-based preschools that are available through my regional center. Out of the list they gave me I toured the two that had the best reviews.

I started with the closer one and it was AWFUL. I was there for an hour, the director forgot I was coming so the secretary showed me around. The rooms were dark, small and windowless. I found things to be chaotic and messy. I didn’t like the way some of the teachers were speaking to the children. And those kids, some of them were REALLY delayed. I just couldn’t in a million years picture my son here. I left in tears.

I cry a lot now.

The other school was recommended to me by another mom friend. I walked in and felt way better about this school. The director was amazing, the building was clean and bright. The teachers seemed cheerful and the kids looked happy. Of course I couldn’t help comparing the kids to my son. Some were mildly handicapped or delayed and some were very severe. All I could keep thinking is that this isn’t my kid; that my kid doesn’t belong here. But the more I sat in that room, the more I spoke to the director, the more I learned more about the program the more I could see the benefits of sending my son here. They have small classrooms, one teacher and three children. Their teachers are better educated to deal with kids with delays. Their classrooms are split up into 8 rooms and your child is put in a room depending on their specific needs. They have circle time, they have snack time and they have a social gym hour. Once I stopped focusing on all the negatives of sending my kid to a ‘special’ preschool I could see some of the benefits.

I still don’t want to send him to school.

I still don’t want him out of my sight.

I still don’t want to let go of my baby.

But I don’t have the luxury of treating my son as if he doesn’t have challenges. I have to do what I believe is best for him.

Time to go home and weigh my options. No school for a while, send him to a center based preschool or send him to a regular preschool with a shadow.

I really need to talk to more moms, talk to more teachers, observe more programs and really try to weigh what is best for my Little Cricket.

My head hurts. I need cake.

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