It's been ages since I've posted in this community, but I thought maybe I'd ask for a little advice and hear some people's experience. I'm not sure if anyone remembers me... My son Richard was diagnosed with a severe speech delay in January 2006, just shy of his second birthday. He had yet to speak his first word and was somewhat behind in other areas because of this. We were placed in the Early Intervention program, which was truly a wonderful thing, and a few other programs which weren't quite as mentionable. He started speaking in May of that year, and has progressed in leaps and bounds since then. Basically, what began as a 65% delay turned into about a 30% delay a mere year later when they did the January 2007 evaluation, just shy of his 3rd birthday. At the age of 3, as many of you may already know, the early intervention program ends and the public school system begins. Since his delay was beyond the 25% mark, he was still eligible for help, which means he is eligible for enrollment in public pre-k with any assistance given as needed to boost him to the appropriate levels. Since his birthday was in March and the school year ended in May, we were given the option to let him go to school for a couple of months (which rapidly turned into a mere couple of weeks thanks to government bureaucracy and paperwork) before summer began, which we declined. We signed him up for a local school for this coming fall... Starting this Tuesday, to be exact. Now, despite his speech delay, Richard is extremely bright. Almost smart enough to get into Kindergarten... if only he could communicate properly. At not quite 3 1/2, he knows his entire alphabet, forwards, backwards, inside out and upside down. He understands the phonetics of it as well. He knows all of his numbers through 30 and some beyond, again in order and out of order. He can read certain words and can even type some on the computer. He's got his shapes and colors down pat. He has the craziest memory I've ever seen; he never forgets anything. He remembers things from nearly 2 years ago. I'm almost worried that school will bore him, quite honestly... but I know he needs the social interaction to boost his communication and social skills. He has progressed so much since his last evaluation in January, I'm almost certain he's below the 25% delay point now, but I'm not going to turn down the free assistance when it's given to us. He'll be given another evaluation in October and if it's found he doesn't need the help, he'll likely be yanked out of school. But, I suppose we'll worry about that then.
So anyway, that's the basic background, getting you all the way current. What I am curious about is this. First off, for those of you who have sent a young child who is used to always being around family members to school/day care, how did you handle it? Especially when the child isn't exactly capable of fully understanding what's being explained to him? Most of Richard's communication comes from identifying and asking for objects, repeating what we say, or creating a sentence out of things we have said to him. Basically, nothing he ever says is original. He never asks us questions or begins a conversation, and when asked a question, he'll likely repeat the question back to you or just say no. It's hard to tell when he understands something, or if he even cares. Also, Richard is pretty nervous and shy around strangers... He's gotten a lot better though. He'll warm up to them given time, but does best when we're around to cling to. Personally, I think he'll do OK, especially because there are other kids around, but my husband is really nervous about him flipping out when we leave. What would you do?
Oh yeah... he's a pretty big boy too. 42 lb., about 43 inches or so tall... Which for both is about the 100th percentile or above for his own age group and about the 50th percentile for a 5 year old. So what I'm getting at here is that he's likely to be the biggest kid in class, although maybe one of the youngest in the 3-4 age group. And he is also extremely strong with a semi-aggressive temper at times. He's normally very passive and sweet, especially around us, but sometimes he can have a mean streak that will just blow you away. Do any of you have experience with this and the teachers? How do they handle aggressive, large children? I don't want my kid to be the next kindergartner in cuffs, ya know? He's not always aggressive, but sometimes the way he handles things is a bit... different. For instance, if he gets hurt, his initial response is to get mad rather than to be consoled. Did that table hurt you? Let's beat that table up then! It's not something that was taught, just the way he is. I just don't want it to be a kid or a teacher.
TIA for all your advice. I apologize for being long and rambly... it's what I do. :)