Simon's school had an open house today, which was very exciting for him because it meant he got to go twice today!
Our little man goes twice a week, for two hours each time, to attend a class to help him catch up in his speech and motor skill development. The school is operated by the county board of developmental disabilities, and they have an amazing facility that also serves adults. For all of the things that I knock about living here, this is one thing I think the community should be especially proud of, and I hope they will continue to support it next month on election day. The program that Simon is in I believe is at least partially subsidized by federal programs.
To get into this program, experts had to test Simon to see where he was in meeting certain milestones for kids typical of his age. They aren't necessarily looking for learning disabilities, which are hard to pin down that young, just the gap between where he is and where he should be according to averages. His school visits include time with occupational and physical therapists.
His motor skills have always been a problem, in part because we had a tendency to help him too often, and also because he was just a really big kid. It's hard to roll yourself over when you're huge at nine months! What he lacked the most was core strength, so climbing was difficult. It didn't take him long to catch up on this, but he still has issues stepping up with one of his legs. Fortunately, he's able to walk up and down stairs without holding on now, though alternating steps isn't there yet. His fine motor skills have improved a great deal, too, and just this week he's doing a really good job using a spoon now. It helps that he's generally pretty neat for a kid his age.
Speech is coming along, but he still speaks more "Simonese" than English. What's encouraging at this point is that the rate of improvement seems to be quickening. We're hearing sentences now for the first time, like "I see the moon." He seems genuinely motivated to try and use as many words as possible, because he understands it's the only way he can successfully communicate his most intense emotions of frustration and anger. "I love you" used to be just "luh," then "love," then "I love," and tonight he skipped right to "I love you dad" at bed time. That happened pretty much in two weeks.
I think it's awesome that programs like this exist, and I'm glad we can take advantage of them. We're not those psycho parents looking to create all kinds of false security and advantage for our kid, and we tend to agree about the times when he needs to fail at things. But this gives Simon access to experts that help us as well. As a taxpayer, why would you not take advantage of this?
Before Simon turns 3, he'll be evaluated again to see if he is eligible to attend the local school district's preschool. On one hand, you want him to not qualify because it would mean he has caught up a bit, but on the other hand, it's an opportunity that he would get a lot out of. Being an only child, it's encouraging to see him get excited about school, and I hope that remains a part of his personality.