Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tough to Hear, Tough to Decide

Most days in life with a toddler pass on by.  The school days, the park days, the good and bad days.  No big milestones, just getting better at the little things, or just melting down over the little things (us and him).

Today we went to the parent/teacher conference.  His teacher and his special ed helper were there. 

Noah has come such a long way this school year.  He loves going to school, he loves to see his friends and kind of play with them.  His communication, while still pretty behind, has improved so much.  He understands how to follow what the group is doing.  He shares well.  His teachers said one day he even gave her a big hug and said "so sorry". 

But, both ladies feel like he'd do better in a special needs class/school next year than the regular one at the preschool he's in now.  That class would have eight special needs kids and four normal kids.  There would be three teachers in the room and Noah would get lots of help and attention.  They were nice and said he could be a leader in that classroom instead of probably struggling a little in the school he's in now. He would go M-F 9 to 12 instead of just M-Th. 

It's amazing to us just how much his lack of communication affects so many other things. 

The school they recommend is where he goes once a week for his speech therapy.  While he's in therapy, I sit and just take in what's going on.  He gets there the same time the afternoon classes get there.  My impression is the kids are good kids, a few are physically handicapped, I think most have sensory or language or behavioral issues.  The staff seem overwhelmed by paperwork and procedures, but are always great with the kids. I think there are maybe three classrooms and it has a great playground we've gone to on some weekends. 

His teachers this year, and his special ed helper, have been really wonderful working with him.  For the past two or three months they've pretty much had one of the teachers handle him one on one when he needs it.  His teacher explained that in the class next year, that probably wouldn't be possible. 

They also really emphasized that getting him all of this help next year will move him closer to needing help less in the future - early intervention and all.  And we are so grateful to even have these choices. 

It's just a little hard for us to put our heads around it all.  Until this morning, Ching and I have never thought of Noah as "special needs".  Noah is such a smart kid.  We usually attribute his off times at school as being immature.  But it's also stemming from his communication limitations.  He gets frustrated.  We know here at home that impulse control is not his strong suit yet.  We just never know where it falls in comparison to other kids. 

This year he's had two main problems (other than a short attention span) one is he loves to throw things, and when he does, of course it sometimes hits the other kids, and he's had trouble pushing kids, because he wants to get their attention and that's the fastest way.  These actions have the unfortunate side affect of other kids thinking he's not being nice sometimes. If that continued next year, it would be a little worse for him.  He has a hard enough time with classmates due to his limited ability to talk with them. 

We're glad there would be normal kids in his special needs class.  We can't help be wonder how the other kids will influence him.  But really, I sometimes think that he has such a sweet heart, it'll all work out. 

It's all also a little funny, because if Noah didn't love being around other kids so much, he wouldn't have been in preschool at all. 

The choice is ours on which school to send him to.  But I think we know which way we have to go.

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