Saturday, August 18, 2007
What happens when your kid's not "normal"...
It's August - it's that time of year when most parents have carefully screened and chosen the perfect preschool for their toddlers. For some, this process can be competitive - the top schools require applications, photos, etc. of potential "candidates" for their classrooms. Can you imagine what it must be like to get a rejection letter from a preschool? Utterly devastating, I'm sure. Unfortunately, I won't be experiencing that stress this year because Will won't be going to a mainstream preschool. As of September 5th, Will will be enrolled in a special education program at Buffalo Hearing & Speech in downtown Buffalo.
Will is still experiencing significant delays in speech and comprehension. He's received therapy through early intervention since he was nineteen-months-old but he just hasn't quite caught up yet. We're hoping that having him in a structured classroom setting with a lot of one-on-one attention will trigger that little brain of his into catching up. The goal is to get him these services now so that by the time kindergarten rolls around in a couple of years he'll be caught up and will no longer need special education services.
As a mother, this has been truly difficult for me. "Special ed" - the words just make me shudder. I remember making fun of people in special ed when I was younger. Didn't we all? How many times have you made fun of someone being on a short bus? In my acting class every week, jokes are made during comedy improve about "special" people. It makes me ill - that's my kid they are talking about. Coming to terms with and accepting the fact that my kid is now in that group has been truly difficult for me. I'm just glad that he's too young to understand the negative connotations associated with being in special ed.
Thanks to reminders from a good friend of mine who is dealing with similar issues with her son, I've tried my best to keep things in perspective. Not to minimize what's going on with Will, but I know there are parents out there whose children are really sick - very sick. We're talking things like cancer, heart defects, true mental retardation, etc. - illnesses that are physical debilitating that may actually claim the lives of those children. I remember visiting kids at a local hospital with Ryan a couple of years ago, and there was a little boy Will's age (about 18 months at the time) with cancer! CANCER at 18 months old! Come on! How is that fair? It is in the moments when I'm having my own personal pity parties that I try to think about and pray for those families. They have REAL problems. Will is just in special ed.
We continue to pray daily for Will that one day things will just click and that he'll become one of those normal kids who never shuts up. Until then, I'll gladly take Will to school everyday (I'm not putting him on a bus - he's three) and I will continue to report on his progress.