Was at the Early Years Centre this morning with my soon-to-be (next Wednesday!) 6 year old DS for its “Something Special” program offered every Thursday morning. It’s a program where parents of kids with special needs and their children can come and play. The toys put out are more sensory-based than when we regularly go there.
I was speaking with another mom whom I met last week. Her son is entering Kindergarten this September and we have been chatting about how to advocate for your child. She’s having an issue with her son playing soccer. The coach’s son is bullying her child a bit, and instigating bad behaviour in her child. I was offering suggestions of the type of language she can use with the assistant coach as she’s pretty sure the assistant coach is aware of the issue, based on comments he’s made in the past.
She’s a very calm and quiet woman so I was trying to encourage her that this situation she’s encountered with soccer will be great practice for her in advocating for her son in Kindergarten in the fall. The big difference she and I had walking into Kindergarten was that my son has an official diagnosis (of Autism) whereas her son doesn’t yet have a diagnosis.
My kids had been in daycare prior to Kindergarten so we didn’t have to work on transitioning to school at all…especially since their former daycare centre was located in a school. That made it a bit easier for my son. In Grade 1 this September however, he will be attending a special needs class at school AND (hopefully) IBI will have started/be starting.
My biggest advice to parents of children with special needs, diagnosed or not, is learn how to be assertive with the school system. If your child can/may/will benefit from something, ask for it to be implemented. If you work with the school, they will usually try to do as much to accommodate HOWEVER, also empower yourself with your school board’s policies related to special needs and special needs accommodation in the classroom. Request a meeting with your principal (and teacher and Educational Assistant) prior to school starting, and continue to follow up until you get that meeting. Be the “squeaky wheel” but please be nice about it.
Arm yourself with information and knowledge because YOU are your child’s best
and sometimes ONLY advocate!