“My Story…” Monday: A – Another Evaluation

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do, Just A Boy, The (Hard) Next Step, Making a Friend, The Autism Diagnosis, He Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read)


So, A. was 4 1/2 years old and he joined the four-year old program in our Connecticut school system.  It is a phenomenal preschool program offered through the public school system here.  It is there to provide support and services to those students with special needs (of which our son was one) and also enrolls “community children” to serve as peer role models within the classroom.  I could (and probably should) write a whole post on why I think this is a fantastic model for a school but, for now, let me just say that it definitely works.  Also, because the teachers are extremely well-trained and qualified, the competition for those “community children” slots is fierce.  We didn’t have to compete, though… since A. already had an IEP showing he had special needs, we got right in.

I want to give you a little picture of our son at this point…  He could talk.  He could run and climb and jump.  He had exceptional fine motor skills.  His academic skills (letter and number recognition, story comprehension, puzzle solving, etc.) were all at or above grade level.  But, were you to see him in a class of peers, you might notice him.  He was the kid who just didn’t “mesh” well.  He wasn’t throwing a tantrum, but he would be playing by himself.  If he tried to initiate a conversation (and it’s kind of unlikely he would), it would be awkward and often met with silence on the part of the other child.  Really, though, it’s more likely you would see him talking to an adult and, in that situation, he would do well.  If excited, he would be jumping– non-stop jumping.   And his arms might be waving all about.


As his mother, it was fairly heart-breaking for me.  I adored (and still do!) this little boy so very much.  To see him all by himself like that hurt my social little heart.  I have always been the girl who attracted friends.  I am the one who heads into a meeting or conference and it is my greatest fear that I will wind up alone… but I never do.  I was the one who would get offers from multiple groups to join them for lunch.  This isn’t me bragging– please know that.  I am just the kind of girl who is near-desperate for approval sometimes.  I am so eager to be LIKED.   Fortunately, I am NOT awkward socially, so it’s generally a non-issue.  Still, it’s been pointed out to me that perhaps it’s a great sign that my little guy enjoys his own company enough that he is largely undisturbed by playing alone.  That’s certainly a better way to look at it.


A. was doing well in this new Connecticut program and we loved his teachers.  I hadn’t really met his therapists yet, but, for the first time, he had a male therapist (his OT) and this was nice for him.


We had a notebook that we would send back and forth, his teacher and me.  I would write a little about what was going on with A. at home and she would tell me about his days at school.  It was a nice way to stay in constant communication.


A’s school was in the afternoons and I would spend the mornings with him, and our newborn, doing various activities.  One thing that my four-year old really enjoyed was when I would write out math problems for him to do.  He had been doing this for awhile.   At this point (early September of his 4yo preschool year), he had begun doing three digit addition with carrying.  On a whim, I sent in a page of about 30 of these problems that he had completed that morning with a note that read, “Thought you might like to see how A. enjoys spending his mornings! :) – JL”.


His teacher called me.


Based on that sheet, and the fact that A. was already a very fluent reader, she was wondering if I would allow her to make a referral to the school system’s Gifted and Talented coordinator.  In all her years of teaching preschool, she told me, she had never made a referral… the “gifted” kids were generally sorted out around first grade, not pre-K.  But she thought A. might benefit from some ideas the gifted coordinator might have.


I agreed.


And we did something we had grown very accustomed to… we waited to hear.

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