Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kindergarten Shouldn't Be So Hard!

Today, Ballerina had a doctor's appointment.  It was a scheduled thing -- nothing (in particular) is wrong.  But the appointment was over surprisingly early.  So early, in fact, that I dropped her off at school before heading home.

When I dropped her off, I had a conversation with her classroom teacher.  She had taken a video to show me of Ballerina in the kindergarten classroom.  It was a video showing me her standing in front of the class, using a pointer to point to each word, and she was reading a story.  When her turn was over, she sat on her square on the carpet.  She actually SAT there.  For nearly 5 minutes.  She REALLY sat and behaved.

Unfortunately, from what she says, this is NOT typical.  She has a tendency to want to jump from square to square.  She has a hard time focusing on what they are talking about in the classroom.  But she's making an effort.  And she has made some friends in there as well, who help her when her behaviors start to pop out -- they remind her (nicely) to sit still and to sit "criss cross apple sauce".  And, at home, she likes to talk about "Jessica" and "Maya" and "Mason".  Apparently, every day is their birthday (according to Ballerina).

So, now we are getting closer to making the placement decision.  As I've said in a previous post, I have signed her up for Kindergarten Orientation in May, where I'm secretly hoping she will display all of her behaviors (but I'm not going to help that to happen).  I am also going to visit her next week when she's in the kindergarten classroom, to see for myself how she is doing there.  I realize that her behavior will be different when I'm present, but perhaps I can make myself "invisible" until she is done.

Ballerina's placement meeting is in just over a month.  In that meeting we will be determining whether she will enter a typical kindergarten classroom or an Early Learning Center (special education) classroom.  As I've mentioned several times before, I really would like to see her in the special education classroom at the start of the year and then work her way into the typical classroom as the year progresses.  I just sent a lengthy note to our contact in the Autism Office for our schools detailing my concerns and outlining my plan for integration.  I feel like I need to make sure they know my feelings on this subject because when we sit in that meeting, it always feels like the decision has already been made.

I really want to do right by her.  And I believe I know what that means.  I just hope I'm right and that the "powers that be" agree with me.

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