Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Developmental vs. Chronological

We're in talks with our school district about Ellie's placement for next year. Because of how her birthday falls, she is eligible for another year of preschool; but she could also progress on to kindergarten.

We met with the district, county, and teachers [In Ohio, preschool services are provided by the county, so the teachers and evaluators are county employees. Services are provided in the school district, so they are also part of the process] a week or so ago and it's hard to separate the aggravation I personally feel towards [not the teacher...we love her!] some of them with the whole decision making process.

This is where the developmental vs. chronological debate comes in. Ellie isn't like her chronological peers. She's developmentally about three (she turned five in January) with more significant delays in speech. On the one hand, I don't know that she'd gain much more academically by going to preschool for another year. However, it would give her more time for verbal communication and for us to escalate signing for her expressive language. It would also give her more time to develop some OT skills (writing, drawing, etc.) and take more cognitive leaps towards kindergarten readiness.

The other side is that we should keep her with her chronological peers,which could mean kindergarten in the fall. She'd need lots of support, especially with communication [ongoing battle, her signing expressive language outstrips her verbal but can we get an interpreter in the room...nope] so I'd worry that the bar is to high and that it's too deep for her. On the other hand, she learns through mimicry so I think she'd really benefit from exposure to older kids and the academics.

On the selfish side, kindergarten would mean all day, every day and no daycare vs. four half-days with daycare.  The financial savings alone could be channeled into therapies to help with gaps. So while you all enjoy Ellie sleeping in the car during lunch...I'm working on talking to some other parents to get some input.

And I should note that I know there's more to the developmental vs. chronological debate (inclusion, separate, etc.) than what we're facing and I'm certainly one to support whichever a family chooses for them; which is why I'm talking to others so I'm better informed and can make the best choice for Ellie.