Kindergarten

Much to my chagrin, Charlie had the nerve to continue growing up all summer and this week he started Kindergarten.

For some, this would be a big step, but for us it’s more of an inch. Charlie will continue spending most of his days in the Early Intervention classroom and will go to the Kindergarten classroom in the afternoons for social interaction.

At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. I am a big fan of inclusion–I worked as an inclusion teacher for two years–because I know how much a child can benefit from being in an inclusive environment. I did a lot of soul-searching, however, and decided that the thing I want most for Charlie is for him to be part of his community. While I believe academics are important, I don’t think that’s where Charlie needs the most work. I’ve already taught him the basics of reading/letters/letter sounds.

So this year he’ll be working hard on self-care. His teachers will be focusing on making him a part of his routines–that whole independence thing. In the afternoons he’ll be working on figuring out how regular kids relate to one another and to him. It’s all pretty important stuff.

On the first day of school, the kids from his Kindergarten class walked down to the Early Intervention classroom and got to meet Charlie. The sat on the circle mat and he sat in a cube chair. They got a quick introduction to his wheelchair and how it works. Several of the kids remembered Charlie from when they were in pre-K the year before.

smiling boy in wheel chair

Charlie’s teachers reported that he smiled the entire time the other Kindergarten students were there.

I’m pretty sure I made the right decision on this one. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Comments

  1. Sounds to me like it’s going to be great, for ALL involoved! Yay for Charlie! :)

  2. Sounds like a good combination. My experience is that all of my son’s classmates adore him and want to help him (too much actually!). Luke doesn’t do real well on academics in the gen-ed class, but there are lots of things he can do there. (He is now in 4th grade). Which is why I am in the process of filing a child complaint with the state because the school isn’t following his IEP because they don’t have enough para-professionals for the times he requires one-on-one – like when he is in the gen-ed room.

    By the way, Charlie is WAY ahead of my son in academics – I “think” my son knows lots, but the autism communication thing is holding him way back. I love, love, love hearing how Charlie is advancing :-)

    • I have heard three different complaints about para situations today–it really is a shame since a lot of times that’s the very thing that makes or breaks it for a special needs kid. I’ve heard some ratios that are just mind-boggling.

  3. That sounds like a great situation for Charlie! Stephen started kindergarten on Friday, and he is in a special ed class with 7 other kids. He is “out” for art, music, and P.E., but I’m hoping we can do a little more in the spring (provided his communication skills continue to improve). I love that Charlie is so happy!!

    • Sounds good! I really would love for Charlie to visit the regular class for math since I’ve been completely lax about that topic, but for now, I think things are great and have no desire to rock the boat.

  4. Elizabeth Bibart says:

    Hi Katy! I am one of Charlies biggest fans (besides you of course!) and check in everyday. Thank you for sharing this update, I can’t tell you how much your insight helps to guide me with Oscar, my 2yo with CP. Oscar finally got his wheelchair last week and isn’t very fond of it (prefers me to lug him around all day.) We spent some time looking through your pics of Charlie in his chair, which he enjoyed. The next step will be deciding on preschool, I could not imagine shipping my mommas boy off to strangers, but after reading this perhaps its something to consider:) Again, thanks for your dedication to your followers, we love to hear of Charlie, and you both are an inspiration to me.
    Liz Bibart

    • Elizabeth: thank you SO MUCH for leaving me this really great comment. There are a lot of days where I’m not sure if people get this blog at all–it’s so personal and blogs are getting less and less personal by the minute. But I digress! I am so glad that my blog has been good for you and Oscar, and I can’t wait to tell Charlie all about another boy with a wheelchair who looked at his picture on the computer.

      PS: I love the name Oscar!

  5. My Mom works for a school that has special needs children that come in to classes in the afternoon. Before the special needs children are brought in, the school has a time where students find out what it might be like for a brief period of time… some students might have a blindfold on for 30 minutes, others might be in a wheel chair, etc. It gives the children a respect for those who have special needs and also make them more empathetic and willing to socialize.

    My Mom especially understands this as she is legally blind and has been all of her life. (When I say legally blind, I don’t mean “oh she puts on glasses and has 20/20. No, with glasses, she’s still legally blind, with glasses, the strongest that they have, she still can’t see the big E on the eye chart.)

    Sending positive thoughts for your son’s experience. He has a great smile!!

    • Sounds like they work very hard at making things inclusive–that’s fantastic! Young children are so much better at being accepting–I’m not sure when we start going wrong in that area.

  6. Those shoes are KILLING me with cute.

    I can’t believe he’s in kindergarten!

    • Me neither! And complimenting his shoes? The way to my heart, for sure. I’m pretty sure the boy who doesn’t walk has more shoes than I do.

  7. Such a big boy. Growing up!!!