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Teaching a Special Needs Child- Jr.'s Story

Jr's First Day of School
By age two he could hardly utter a single word. My instincts told me something was wrong however many doctors and advisers said that many kids struggle to speak then typically an explosion of words came later. But it wasn't just his unclear speech that sent red flags there was more because other than speech the youngster passed all of the developmental milestones on time. By age three he was evaluated and approved to start pre-k early under the diagnosis as a special needs child with Oral Apraxia (speech delay), sensory integration disorder, minor tactile defensiveness (only with strangers), CLD (child with a learning disability)and CAPD-Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Additionally, we moved and thus we began at square one with the evaluation stage, IEP etc. He was put in an integrated classroom with all normal kids with the addition of 4 or 5 CLD kids and went through pull-out therapy (when they take the kids out for special speech or occupational therapy). After two schools years of pre-k I felt frustrated and uninformed about what was going with my child in the classroom and I decided that something needed to change. Was this an inner conviction I felt or just my own insecurities creeping in its ugly head about my son or the academic system, and how the two relate, I don't know. I felt that Jr was already coined as the trouble child, the one teachers might struggle to deal with. The child put in the back of the class, kept at a distance, trained just well enough to survive but not given the adequate chance to excel even if it were possible. (By the way this is not the fault of the teacher but only due to the minor amount of information about these disorders, the brain, and our understanding of it all) And how would I ever know because I can't be in the classroom with him? Could this really be happening to my child? After spending a couple of days in his class watching from a distance I realized-he just doesn't fit into their system and needed MORE! I had already invested many hours into dealing with specialists, getting him approved for private speech therapy (at $63/half hr), speaking with doctors trying to get them to change the coding for his diagnosis' so insurance would help and not to mention the 40min drive there and back twice a week AND the long hours at the kitchen table practicing letters and sounds. After insurance expired and the second school year ended I thought, 'Lord, is this really your will for my child?' Now we homeschool, he likes it, I like it. We're learning how to learn together; me to teach and he to learn. Its fun, its quality time, its at his pace, but most of all I now do not fear what lies ahead for my child because ultimately its in God's hand, but at least I know that we're in line with what God's plans are for our future and we have peace. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,"declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm, to give you hope and a future."

See: Parents Hold the Key

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