A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Friday, May 16, 2008

preschool graduation

My four year old graduated from preschool yesterday.  There is something silly about a graduation ceremony for preschool, as if it is a huge life accomplishment... I somehow don't think that twenty years from now, when applying for a job, he will say, "Oh, and I graduated from preschool" as part of his qualifications.
However, for Steven, it IS a big deal.  Not the graduation itself, but in progress made.  See, his preschool is a special education preschool for children with speech problems. Steven has apraxia, which is basically a motor planning issue. The act of speech, while basically effortless for most of us, actually involves a great deal of planning, which then must be implemented in the act of speaking.  Steven has had a very difficult time in this area.  See:  http://www.apraxia-kids.org/.  When he was two, he had maybe 4 or 5 words.  And to make matters worse, there were some words that he had been saying (such as "eat") that he lost and was then unable to say them.  We started teaching him sign language, so that he could communicate with us, and that was a great success.  When he started preschool at age 3, even with over a year of speech therapy, he had 10 words, but about 50 signs. 
Now, he can carry on a complete conversation, and his vocabulary is huge.  He rarely uses any signs now, except as an accent to his speech, like most of us wave our hands around when we talk.  There are still some times that we have trouble understanding him, especially when he is tired, but I would say he is about 90% intelligible.  It was amazing yesterday to watch him, and think back on how he was a year and a half ago.
He will actually attend preschool through the summer, thanks to extended school year services, but he will start kindergarten in a regular class, with only minor supports and speech therapy twice a week, instead of the four-day-a-week intensive stuff he was getting in preschool.  I am very excited for him. Way to go, Steven!

1 comment:

Sue in the Western Great Basin said...

That's great to hear about Steven's wonderful progress. And I want to tell you that I still remember my preschool graduation! Little cardboard and crepe paper cap, marching around in a circle... I swear I remember more about that (and enjoyed it more too) than either my high school or college graduations! I hope he retains this enjoyable memory too.