Within the next few weeks Bug will go back to school to start kindergarten testing. I am buying school supplies, stocking up on new clothes and plan on taking him shopping for a new lunch box of his choosing later this week. Having already completed Jr. kindergarten last year; I do expect this year to be easy for him. But instead of focusing on his grades and report cards; I’ve decided to focus on his goals. Bug is a smart little guy. His vocabulary seems to be building every day. But like him; last year was a learning experience for us all.
I came across this article a while back which taught me a new lesson about being a ASD parent. Its not the grades that matter at this point; its the goals. Lisa Quinones-Fontanez writes about how we should not put to much worth into report cards for our special needs children, but put stock in the environment and progress they are making.
My once mellow meek little boy was coming home on “yellows” and “reds” in his daily reports. Messages from the teacher always consisted of the words “rolling”, “floor”, and “lack of focus”. Well, that pretty much sums up most children with ASD. Short term attention spans, constantly moving bodies and a lack of focus. What I didn’t understand was why she kept making negative comments about it. He is diagnosed ASD and with that diagnosis is the understanding that he probably has some sort of attention deficient disorder (he will soon be tested to confirm). So instead of complaining about his behavior, why didn’t she help fix it?
It was only around spring break last year when I learned she was not following his IEP. Furthermore, his behavior was so bad it was effecting his grades and effecting his goals. “R” for regression started to show up on his progress reports and by the last day of school I was looking at a child that had made no noticeable progress in his academics the entire year. At his last IEP meeting we made the unanimous decision he needed to repeat kindergarten.
I think of kindergarten (and Jr. kindergarten) as a learning ground, not for math and science; but for learning how life works. You learn to wait your turn in line, how to share, how to take turns, and even how to ask for help. Progress shouldn’t be measured in A’s, B’s and C’s; it should be measured in “Mastered”, “Emerging” and “Progress”.