My (nearly) six year old son is developmentally delayed. He doesn’t have autism, aspergers or down syndrome. He isn’t living with cerebral palsy, has never had a brain injury, and extensive genetic testing all came back negative. He is simply behind.
Part of his delay is due to numerous health problems, hospital stays and surgeries. Every event, illness, and needle poke caused him to regress. This boy has had more medical procedures than most people have their entire lives.
The most noticeable delay is his speech, which came to pass because he couldn’t hear well for five out of six years of his life. We kept telling doctors, but my son kept passing hearing tests. When he finally failed a screening last year, we were actually relieved.
Before this school year started, I met with his Pre-Kindergarten teachers in private. I explained my son’s health history and his delays. They had been great when my nine year old daughter was in Pre-K a few years ago, and I had high hopes they would be wonderful partners in the game of catch-up my son has been playing. I failed to take into account that my daughter sprouted a halo when she was born.
These teachers, who had been perfect for my angelic daughter…well, I’m pretty sure that combined they have been teaching for 90 years. And in that time, I don’t know if they’ve had much experience with a special needs child. It’s nearly the end of the school year and so far they haven’t had much luck at keeping my boy in check.
I’m not going to sit here and say my son is perfect, because he’s not. He’s as ornery as the day is long. He has a wicked sense of humor, which is a particular benefit to this Mom blogger, but to his teachers…not so much. Yesterday, he told me he was pretending to be at a party, which is why he put mulch in someone’s hair. Confetti…Mulch. Potato…Po-taht-uh.
And, when they told me he disrupted snack-time the other day because he wouldn’t stop singing his ABC’s, it almost brought me to tears. Not because he was being bad, but because I can remember when we never thought he’d know his alphabet.
I took away toys, the computer, and TV to discipline him for not listening to his teachers. But, do you know how hard it is to punish a kid for singing, when you never thought you would hear him sing?