Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kindergarten... Again.

(image found here)
A few weeks ago I got word that JT's teachers (both) were recommending retention next year (aka repeating Kindergarten).

At first I was really upset. I mean, his report cards are actually good. He's rocking math, science and social studies - he received 'performing at K level consistently' on all 3 of those subjects. His behavior is in line, too. The only hold up is reading and writing...

And then they want him fully mainstreamed. The hope is that with a year of extra time he will be likely mainstreamed fully by first grade. They want to increase his mainstream time throughout this year to support that.

If you go online, there are so many studies about how retention is so bad for kids, and tons of parents weighing in on why other parents shouldn't consider it. There are specific articles addressing special needs and retention and how bad of an idea it is.

But then I started digging around a little deeper. On forums I found posts by parents who had decided to retain their autistic children for the same reasons we were facing. Not one single parent regretted the decision. They all talked about how much it helped their child. I found tons of parents who did regret NOT holding their child back.

So I thought about it. Reading and writing are huge. In first grade, even math problems become word problems. If he didn't have that foundation, everything would slide downhill. He needs a strong foundation before we move forward in order to be successful. What good would it do to move him forward and have him already behind? We would be constantly playing a game of catch up, unable to focus on current academics because we're trying to address the last thing they did.

So, he will repeat Kindergarten with the same teachers as this year. Teachers he knows and loves, and that know and love him.

I've already seen the draft IEP, and they have every goal (seriously, and then some) that I could possibly have asked for besides one small thing: social skills. And they are willing to add it as soon as I give it to them. Reading and writing are HUGE in there. I am so pleased with the document - I am in shock at how great his goals are, and how well his team obviously knows him. So awesome.

So again we'll be banking on a class of kind students to help him out. We'll hope the teachers can challenge him and give him new material when necessary so he doesn't get bored. And cross our fingers that increasing mainstreaming goes well!


  1. I wish we had held Amanda back in some ways. Her reading and math skills were ahead of her class but her ability to write and respond the way that they wanted her to is not there.....

  2. I am really glad that you are now comfortable with this decision. I imagine it's tough when it really isn't your decision. But it will probably be for the better and it will take the pressure off of you to teach him to read over the next few months. Hopefully JT will succeed this year - I bet he will. Good luck!

  3. Kate -It is a big decision . My cousin has been a kindergarten teacher for 30 years - and an excellent one . And she takes holding children back seriously and takes alot into considerarion .I would really listen to the teachers - theysee so many things during the day . We held out son back in 4th grade and I wish we would have done that when he was younger .

  4. I have two boys with autism (now ages 9 and 7) and we had both of them do Kindy twice. Both my boys are August birthdays, so it was really a fairly easy decision. The school did question me on my wish to have my younger son repeat Kindy and now I see why. I read that study that you cited with great interest, and I question how those results really represent the wave of autistic kids that you have growing up now. But I digress...the point I wanted to make is that my younger son, in particular, sounds a lot like your little guy. We all sort of felt that he was so close to being able to do so much more on is own, with just a little more development. And I can cheerfully say that this has been proven very true. Cam is finishing up his 1st Grade year and he's doing very well. Oh, he's still autistic and he does receive one on one support throughout his day. But I firmly believe that the extra year was a game changer for him.