Life as a mom who has her hands full
When my almost 5 year old son was 3, his preschool began to get worried. He was a late talker ( after 2) and although his speech was very good, he had difficulty with conversational skills (don’t all men??) He did tend to “echo” phrases back to you instead of actually responding, but I just thought he was still “learning”! Language problems were discussed and the dreaded word “autism spectrum” was even thrown around. I became increasingly distressed to say the least.
I had him evaluated with the county school district’s early childhood educational system, but the evaluation was going to take 3 months to complete, so I made an appointment with a neurologist. The neurologist evaluated him for 20 minutes and then concluded that he must have a language disorder but that he was not autistic. (Relief!!)
We patiently had him evaluated with the school district, and had his hearing tested. All the while, I maintained the belief that while he was a bit behind, he was still making progress. I just thought he was a bit immature for his age and that in time he would catch up. When the 3 month evaluation ended, they concluded the same thing. He was just a bit immature and in time, he should catch up.
Now he is 5 and doesn’t have any language issues. He talks fine, and carries on conversations pretty well (or as well as a 5 year old boy can!) He is still a bit socially immature and has some minor disciplinary problems in preschool, but we are lucky that he still has one more year to go before he goes to kindergarden.
This whole experience was a little more than unsettling, but it really got me thinking about the school system and our little boys. It seems to me that since our experience we have met more mothers whose little boys have been through the same process. Why is that? I believe it is because we expect our little boys to behave more like little girls. We expect them to be extremely verbal, conversational and interested in arts and crafts. We expect that by 3-4 they will be sitting still in circle time, and will sit and follow directions with ease.
Maybe that is not what little boys are made of. My little boy is extremely bright, but sitting in circle time is just not that interesting to him. He would rather play baseball, or pretend that he is being attacked by a giant squid, than drawing a picture or singing in music class. But is that so wrong? I realize that children like Aidan are difficult for the average school system to teach, because they don’t fit the “norm”…but maybe it is the norm that needs to change and NOT our children. Aidan is carefree, silly, and confident. I don’t really want to beat those qualities out of him in an attempt to have him sit in circle time.
The jury is still out over whether Aidan will do well in kindergarten or not, but you better believe that I will not loose too much sleep over it anymore. If they can’t teach Aidan, then I know that I can. I have begun to look into homeschooling approaches and I may consider it, if he struggles next year in school. But for now, we have a whole year to mature and grow…and a whole year to enjoy being a little boy. And I will let him play with frogs, roll down the hill in the yard, make a mess with ice cream, and karate chop the bushes…after all, he is a little boy and I am proud of it.
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