Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Soccer and Kindergarten

Slow and steady progress.  Woohoo

Last Sunday brought two challenges that Ching and I weren't sure how they would turn out.  Noah's soccer team had picture day, and then a little later, a game to play.  Noah's refusal to have his picture taken and play soccer are well documented. 

But, he surprised us!  We had told him of both events the evening before.  It's hard to say how much that helps, but I think it does.  When it was time, we got him dressed and went to the picture taking event.  Well, before leaving the house, he insisted on taking his little digital camera so HE could take pictures of everyone.  So that's what we did.  The parents thought it was cute, and then a couple of the other kids got their parents' phones to take pictures, too.  That's our boy - a natural leader, heh. 

Ching had to go with him when they went to do the actual pictures, but he got in line, had his picture taken, and then stood with his team for the team pic and didn't make too many terrible faces! 

We came home for a few minutes and then headed back out to his soccer game.  He was actually excited to be there and before the game started was kicking the ball with a couple of his teammates.  When the game started and coach asked if he was ready to go play he said YES - and went and played!!!  Of course, his play is mostly running after the other kids who have the ball, but he did manage to kick it a few times.  Not bad for his first game ever.  They sub out every four minutes or so, and every time he was happy to come out and get a drink and then go back in for his turn!  At the end he was just plain ole excited he had played.  Practice was yesterday and he had a blast there, too. 

Sunday night, when putting him to bed, I sat with him for a few minutes and talked about his big day.  He said soccer was fun, and I explained to him that Ma and I thought he'd have fun playing, and that we're so happy he did. 

The other big event last week was getting him officially registered for kindergarten.  It's been a long process.  First all the evaluations, then the meetings, the recommendations. 

He's going to be in a regular kindergarten classroom at our neighborhood elementary school.  He'll still get speech therapy once a week.  And, he'll have 35 minutes or more a day of assistance from the school's special ed person. 

This is all good.  I'm glad that the consensus was to let him try as normal a school day as possible and then if that doesn't work we can always adjust how much support he gets. 

Next year is a big change, twice as many kids in his class, only one teacher, and a 7 hour school day instead of 3. 

We know he's going to so absolutely sad when this school year ends.  So hopefully by the time fall comes around he'll be ready to try his new school and class!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Parenting Is Hard

Noah wakes up happy and ready to go just about every morning of his life.  Yesterday morning, we could tell he was a little upset when we heard him on the monitor.  Ching went up there and he told her he had a bad dream.  He had dreamt he had made a mess on the floor at school and Ms. Karen would be mad at him.  Poor boy.

One of the things they discussed about Noah in his evaluation was how he doesn't really like new things, and also, that if he feels he's not doing something the right way, or if he thinks he might get in trouble, he tends to shut down for a few minutes.  Because we don't do tons of new stuff at home, they've seen more of that from him at school than we have.  We've known he's not brave about things like swimming or riding rides at amusement parks - sometimes he'll try and sometimes he won't.  But we didn't really see it in terms of being afraid to fail. 

Yesterday was also Noah's first soccer game.  Over the past few days, we spent a lot of time with him outside kicking around the ball and trying to make sure he understood he can't use his hands to pick up the ball.  He got on his uniform and seemed happy to go. 

Then...  we got to the soccer field.  He wasn't having it.  He kept hiding behind Ching and just refusing to even consider it. 

Now, the night before, it dawned on me that Noah really has none of the concepts of soccer as such.  I'm not sure he really knows what a team is.  He doesn't know about kicking the ball in one direction and into the goal.  I tried to show him videos of kids playing soccer because he's such a visual learner, but he didn't want to watch any.  I was hopeful that if he watched maybe the first half of his team playing he'd get the general idea and then be happy to go run and kick the ball.  They make it super easy on the kids his age.  He's in the under 5 group, some of them played last year in the under 4s.  Noah loves kids, running, and balls, so we thought soccer was a no-brainer. 

There was a little set of bleachers right by where his team was playing, so we went and sat over there.  We tried everything to get him to go out there and play.  I told him it was ok to go try.  Told him he'd have fun running and kicking the ball.  Then he went into jerk mode and we told him he'd have to go home and go to bed if he didn't go try.  Sigh.  I got so frustrated with him. 

So he didn't play yesterday.  We knew this might not go smoothly, but we didn't imagine he wouldn't want to go run and play. 

After we got home and things settled down, I had him come stand in front of me so we could talk.  (I do this sometimes after he's been in trouble and I'm trying to explain why to him.)  I told him we were sad he didn't play, but it was ok.  We told him it's ok to try new things and we want him to have fun.  It's so hard to know how much he understands all of that. 

I think WE understand better that we'll be encouraging him to try new things a lot in the next few years.  We have no idea how much this stems from his communication issues, and how much is age related, and how much is just part of his personality.  But we're learning. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Assessing Noah

To Ching and I, Noah is a smart, determined, undeterred, stubborn, sweet, immature boy. 

We're never sure that's all a recipe for success in school. 

Over the past month or so, Noah's teacher, speech therapist, the school psychologist and a social worker have all compiled reports on Noah's development.  This includes a set of questions sent home to Ching and I that were statements you answer with "always/often/sometimes/never."  I'm not a big fan of those types of evaluations, but they have their place. 

Today, I met with all of those people and we went over the reports in an effort to formulate a plan for Noah succeeding in kindergarten next year.  What I appreciate most about all of this is that their assessments of Noah align really, really well with how Ching and I see him.  That's a good thing. 

One of the interesting things about Noah is that his overall picture is a little complicated and atypical.  I often wonder if he'd be different if he weren't an only child - not that there's anything to be done about it.  There's no way to know why his speech is delayed the way it is.  I think it's a mix of things - he's excited and in a hurry to say what he has to say.  But, he also isn't overly concerned if you don't understand him, so even if you ask him what he said, he's already moved on to the next thing. 

I had been looking forward to the psychologist testing to see if the results were what we thought they'd be.  Thankfully, some of those assessments are non-verbal.  Of course, he did the best on those.  But even on the verbal ones his intelligence came through.  

Other than his speech issues, he's easily distracted (even for a boy his age!).  Add that to a tendency to not do things he doesn't want to, and there could be real issues next year. 

We know he's going to be in a regular kindergarten class next year, which means lots of kids and one teacher.  (Not sure about there being teacher's aides in the classroom yet.)  Because Noah isn't entirely typical, we think it's going to be helpful just that his teacher next year has all this info from his IEP to know where he's at and what to expect from him.  Without the IEP I think he could be misunderstood. 

The next phase is formulating an actual action plan to get him the help he needs next year.  He'll continue speech therapy, but he'll also get some one on one assistance in the classroom.  He needs help staying on task and sometimes with understanding instructions. 

As I've said a few times, I'm not the biggest fan of public schools in general, but we really are grateful for the people who have worked with him and taught him so far.  I know it helps that he's happy and outgoing, it takes the edge off his stubbornness.