Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crazy Tuesday

Today started out early and ended late.  I tried to pack as many things in one day - not on purpose - as humanly possible.

I started the day with Kindergarten conferences for both Cainan and Finley.  Finley's was first (at 7:30am) and I got a great report from her teacher.  Finley has come a long way.  She is reading on grade level now, math on grade level, has gotten up to speak a few times in class, has made a lot of new friends, and is doing just great over all.  The transitional test came back as "will benefit if there is room in the class".  Hmmm.  So -the three outcomes of the test are:  "highly recommended", "recommended" and "will benefit if there is room".  Finley fell in the last category.  Basically -if you took the test, they still think your child would benefit from an extra year, but it isn't necessary (is what that last category means).  There were 42 kids who took the test, and 30 kids fell in the "highly recommended" or "recommended" sections.  Finley's teacher said that this hasn't happened in a long time.  There is only room for 23 kids in the class.  So - out of the 30 kids who REALLY need it (Finley not falling into that group), 7 can't even go.  Then there is the other 12 kids who "would benefit" that won't really even be considered until a lot (alot ) of kid's parents say "no thank you".  (I am using a lot of quotation marks - bare with me).

So - now we are back to a gray area.  For the last 6 months, we have had is drilled into our head that Transitional was the right placement for Finley next year.  The teacher had not changed her mind, even in March.  But here we are - end of May, and Finley has caught up.  She came out as a 5 year, 11 month old on the test - which is about spot on for her age.  That is what threw her into the "would benefit" category.  She has good logic, and she knows what is going on around her.  The test is for maturity.  She isn't the most mature - no.  She is the baby of our family, and she is one of the youngest in her class.  But she is more mature that a lot of kids who took the test.  It isn't an academic skills test - that isn't why they go to transitional.  It is all about maturity, and readiness to take on the rigors of first grade (and beyond).

I talked with Finley's braille teacher, and she is still in favor of the extra year.  Mostly to get her more proficient in braille.  Finley is doing great in Braille, but she just started this year, where a lot of the Braille teacher's other students started when they were 4.  (Connecticut doesn't do that - so that is why we didn't start until Finley was 5).  So that would be an added benefit to the extra year.  Her braille teacher said she will back any decision Mat and I make.

Darn it.  I wanted her to make the decision for us. 

Cainan's conference was 2nd (at 8am).  He is also doing pretty well academically.  Math - his only struggle is counting by 2's past 20.  In Reading - his struggles are the sight words.  He only knows half.  The teacher is sure that his memory problems come in to play there.  This is something we are well aware of.  His transitional test came back as "recommended".  He aged at 5 years on the dot.  Considering he turns 6 next week, his maturity level came back a whole year behind.  For us - this makes sense.  Cainan loves to play.  School work is secondary.  So - another year before he goes off to first grade to be a kid and get used to going to school full day - a plus.  Cainan is definitely going to transitional.  He needs it.  Black and white - no gray.

After that I helped my neighbor Lisa cut squares for a quilt.  It was a lot of fun.  Each class makes a quilt, the kids designing the quilt squares.  She nominated herself to put it together, so I am helping her out.  I can't wait to see the finished product.  I was supposed to go to Garden club, but due to having to pick the kids up early, I had to skip that this week.

Next came Arlington's dentist appointment.  Cainan had to go with us because of the darn half day kindergarten, but he did fine waiting.  Arlington had a great appointment - no cavities and all looked good.  She does have a crowded mouth, and an orthodontist appointment is in our future.  Braces are probably not that far off.  She has two teeth that can't decend the whole way because of the way her teeth are. 

After the dentist came a small break for lunch before I had to leave for Hartford, CT to talk to a class about Finley.  I talked to 30 special education teachers about Finley, our foundation, and what it is like being a parent of a special needs child.  It was great.  I got a lot of great questions, and had a chance to learn a lot as well.  The teacher gave me a hanging basket of plants as a thank you and asked me to return again next year. 

I was home by 9pm after all the travel, and I was glad the day was over.  I am happy to report that tomorrow proves to be a much more easy going day.  Except that Mat is traveling to NYC all day.  There is that.

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