Benji has been going to a pre-preschool, Stepping Stones, at Kindering since January, receiving early intervention in motor and speech. This is mostly paid for by the state (our taxes at work!) as part of what’s called “early intervention.” The goal is to help kids be ready to succeed when they reach kindergarten by fixing issues while they’re very young. Benji has made huge leaps, especially in language use especially, but somewhat also in physical skills.
This has worked really well for us, but the kids age out of early intervention at age 3, a milestone rapidly approaching for us. The therapists have evaluated Benji and confirmed that he’s within the normal range for motor and speech now — which is great! What a huge improvement! The only area Benji qualifies is in articulation, meaning how well he enunciates what he says. Right now he talks a lot, using relatively complex ideas, but most people can’t understand much of what he’s saying – that is, even less than you’d expect for a kid his age. Little kids do tend to be pretty incomprehensible.
Anyway, this dramatic improvement means that Benji will not qualify for the school district’s preschool program, which would be the next step if he still needed help. Now we’re pondering what to do next.
Option 1: The Kindering teacher invited us to stay at Stepping Stones after Benji turns 3, and Benji already knows and loves those teachers. But I’ve noticed that kids who turn 3 soon outgrow the class activities: The class is geared for 2-year-olds, and much beyond that age, the kids seem to get bored. After age 3, the kids are just ready to move on anyway. So even if we did stay, it would be for maybe 6 months, maximum, and probably much less.
Option 2: Even if we don’t qualify for school district services, we have the potential to send Benji to the school district preschool as a “peer model,” basically a normal kid who shows the early intervention kids age-appropriate normal activities. Tomorrow we have a meeting with the school district to see what our options are, regarding preschool and any other intervention services for Benji. We’ll find out then about the availability of peer model spots in their preschool. Also, this is much cheaper than private preschool.
Option 3: Finally, we do have Benji signed up for a regular preschool starting in September — we set that up before we got involved with Stepping Stones. We’d have to cancel that soon if we decide to not to go there. The caveat of that school is that it’s run by a lady out of her home, and she’s retiring after next year. Only this one year is guaranteed, and it’s likely we would have to find a new preschool for Benji in fall of 2016. Plus, while this isn’t the most expensive preschool by any stretch, it’s going to have a significant (though manageable) impact on our finances.
Until tomorrow’s meeting, we won’t really be able to make any decisions. But right now, I’m feeling that Benji would benefit from going to the school district preschool, with all the specialist teachers, even if he doesn’t receive services specifically. Benji’s speech therapist agrees with this idea. We’ll see.
Never get comfortable. Just when you think you know what’s going on, that you’ve got a routine, it’s time to change again.