17 July 2014

3 Weeks and Counting

3 Weeks from today, my youngest will start kindergarten. And I'm not sure I'm ready.

It's not for the reasons you'd think.  It's not the thought of him growing up, or being away from me all day.  I'm used to that from his Parents' Day Out program.  Granted, this is 5 days a week instead of 2, but I know that the consistency of being in a 5 day a week routine is going to be nothing but good for him.  Instead, I'm worried because... well, it's Pete.  And he's a very different kid than Teddy, with a bunch of different issues.

It started with behavior problems and other concerns in his PDO program.  He was combative with his teachers, he yelled and screamed, didn't learn his letters, couldn't hold a pencil right.  We thought it was mostly behavior rather than any kind of developmental delay, so we looked into the Regional Intervention Program.  It was highly recommended by both educators and other parents that I knew.  And it WAS good for me.  It gave me a lot more tools to deal with Pete when he got out of control.  And Pete did learn a few things there.  But by the time we "graduated", he was still having as many problems as he'd had before we started.  So I wasn't sure where to go next.

I met with his pediatrician, and she had expressed some concerns about his fine motor skills and suggested we go to Pediatric Rehab.  Ok, I figured.  Let's see what we can do there.  It took a couple months before they could see us and, as they were testing him, we found out that most of his problems weren't completely from stubbornness or bad parenting, but because he actually had something wrong with him - Sensory Processing Disorder. Basically, he needed sensation.  He wasn't getting it the same way most of us do, not feeling things as strongly (physically) or able to feel comfortable in the space around him.  So he pushed the limits to try to create the sensations he was craving.  Sitting still in a chair was tough on him.  He needed to wiggle and move because his body was telling him that's what had to happen.  He ran into walls at full speed so he could figure out where the boundaries were. He made loud noises and acted silly because that's what he felt he needed to do.  So what we needed to do was find a way to get him those things without being disruptive.  So we started Occupational Therapy with him once a week, both for the SPD and because his fine motor skills weren't where they should be at 5 1/2.

They've given me some great ideas for helping him deal with SPD.  Ways to help him get out the need to be active without being disruptive.  One of the things I do with him is have a "Push War".  He pushes against my hands as hard as he can, trying to push them back to my chest.  After we do it a couple of times, he's able to calm down a little.  Also, I try to give him "heavy work", like helping push the (full) laundry basket across the floor, or having to run to the dining room and bring me back one thing after another.  These little things are helping.

What worries me, though, is what will happen when school starts.  I'm trying to get an IEP or a 504 Plan for him so if he needs help with various things, we'll already have a plan in place for him to get that help.  Today, after many phone calls that weren't returned, I stopped by the school to talk with someone about it.  I need a diagnosis from a doctor - what they found at rehab just won't cut it.  And then, with the diagnosis, I need to bring it to the school and get the paperwork started. Then they'll have a meeting to discuss it, and the school psychologist will meet with Pete to test him again.  Only after all of that happens will be (hopefully) get something in place for him.  So I have an appointment with his pediatrician next Tuesday to see what I need to do to get a doctor's diagnosis.  I'm afraid that I'm going to have to go somewhere else to get him diagnosed and who knows how long that wait will be.  I'm worried that it will be October or December by the time we can finally get something in place for him, and by then, he'll be labeled a "problem child".

The one thing going for me is that I know his teacher this year.  It's the same teacher that Teddy had in kindergarten.  I have a good rapport with her, and her teaching style is one that Pete responds to positively.  (It's very similar to the style his current teacher at PDO has, which has worked wonders for him over this last year.)  But for all that I know she'll be willing to work with me on some things, I also know that her hands will be tied when it comes to how much leeway she can give him for things.  She will (I hope) understand that he's not meaning to be a problem.  And I know she'll get in touch with me if there are problems.  But the fear that he'll not get what he needs soon enough is one that won't leave me.

So now I wait, hope and pray.  Wait for school to start and see if he'll be ok.  Hope that we can get everything we need for him to succeed at school before it starts.  And pray that he'll be able to thrive because he's got who and what he needs behind him.

Graduation Day from PDO