Fly Wyatt! Fly!

Today was my third time that I sent off one of my youngsters to Kindergarten. Of them all, our fun-loving boy Wyatt was the most ready to start this grand adventure.

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When Wyatt turned two, I started to realize that he definitely had a speech delay. His doctors convinced me that I should “wait it out” because he’d probably outgrow it…but in a way that only a mother could know, I knew that there was a big problem. When he turned three, my concern grew by leaps and bounds. At that time, he had no discernable words at all. He had some nonsense words that I (as his mom) knew what they meant but there was basically nothing that anyone else could understand. The rest of his speech was a sort of babble-speech…something that my family dubbed “Wyatt-ese.” He would speak to all of us in a language that only he could understand, and then look at us like “why aren’t you answering me? I’m talking to you!” At that time, we began the process of having him tested for his speech and he (eventually and after a bit of a struggle) was accepted into the Special Needs Preschool at our local school.

This program ended up being a godsend for him and our family. Absolutely fantastic teachers, an incredibly caring speech therapist, a strong positive-reinforcement approach to behavior, and even extra help as needed from the fine motor specialists that were often in his room.

He was three and a half by the time his first year of preschool started and during the first week of school, his speech therapist asked me to make up a list of words he would say that I could understand. I came up with a list of 10 words. By the time Christmas rolled around, that list had grown to over 100 words. By his second year of preschool, he finally had enough vocabulary for us to know that he also had speech articulation and speech modulation problems and those were the areas that his speech therapist began to target. When he turned five, we decided to enroll him in one last year of preschool…mainly to give him the extra year to mature a bit more and to give him a headstart when he did go to Kindergarten.

At the beginning of his last year of preschool, I really doubted myself and our decision. Did we do the right thing holding him back? Would he get bored? All of his teachers and specialists agreed that it was the right decision for him, so I decided to put my worry aside and let the year proceed as it would. We were given a huge blessing last year when a new teacher took over the preschool program…someone with over 20 years experience of teaching special needs children and she was beyond wonderful. She recognized that Wyatt was getting a little bored (even though his behavior still had minor issues to work with) and she pushed him academically. He grew and blossomed with her as his teacher and we find now that he is more ready for Kindergarten than any of our other “non special needs” chidren ever were.

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Wyatt has now “graduated” from speech therapy and is 100% ready to begin his academic years of school. It’s so exciting to see him prepared to take on this new step in his life. All I can think is that he is going to soar! And I can’t wait to see how he is going to succeed.