Today we are going to talk about school for Kemett! This was a question asked to us several times leading up to May.
First, Kemett has been in school at our local church for the past two years. This year he started going 4 times a week because I started working. He’s in a 3’s class and is doing great. Being around typical kids has really pushed him. We have been working very hard on social interaction with peers this year. Kemett has grown immensely in this area.
We have had some hard decisions to make, as we were trying to decide what was best for Kemett next year. We decided to get him evaluated for early childhood education at our public school. We had put this off because we liked his current school. We decided to do it this year just to see what they had to say. Andrew and I’s big thing was to make sure Kemett was put in an inclusive classroom because we want him to be pushed! Kemett went through a long evaluation process- 2 in person and multiple observations. His evaluations came back and he was evaluating at 4 years 1 month age! He needs help with adaptive skills- toileting and washing hands, and of course his gross motor skills are lower. But our boy is smart! Which we already knew.
Up until this point, the school district has housed all the kids in one elementary school, and not the one he’d attend. They have changed that rule for next year and kids will attend their home schools (which is a huge plus for us!)- we want him to be at the school he will attend for the next 7 years and it’s right behind our house. His school district also does not have an inclusive program, which has been a reason we didn’t want to send him to public school, but this year they are making this a new program and starting with Kemett! We are thrilled!
We had our ARD in early May, and it went so well. We feel so supported and heard. Kemett will be in general ed 4 hours and SPED 2 hours a day. He will eat his lunch in sped and work on the items in his IEP. We got the accommodations we wanted, and there will be no food in the classroom. They will secure lunch boxes as well. They will let us know about school parties and birthdays. This will be an experiment. We have decided that Kemett will need to learn to be independent in life, so he will participate in birthday parties at school. It makes me incredibly nervous, but as you’ve read this week, Kemett is understanding his body more and more.
We have loved his current school, but it was coming to a point where we knew public school would prepare him better for kindergarten and beyond especially with the supportive services he needs. It is a bittersweet move for us. His current teacher has been amazing and done so much to educate herself about Kemett and accommodate him in her classroom. We will miss our tiny school!
School is hard for me as a parent because I worry about Kemett, I advocate for him almost daily, and talk with his teachers almost daily about what is going on. We troubleshoot different problems, we text and email. I know this will be how it goes until he graduates. It can be stressful, exhausting, frustrating, and satisfying when we get something to work. I get by because of the times when I get to hear Kemett spell his name, or find out he entered a group and asked to play with them. These are things I thought he might do, but have been worried about since he was born. Kemett is showing us that he is so smart, a fast learner, has a great memory, and is social. We just need him to be social with his peers, but I see it happening! This is all because of his teacher, his speech therapist, and the work we do at home (especially right now his PRETEND study which we will talk about in another post). I just hope that next year his new peers grow to love him as much as his current peers do. I know he will miss his friends at his school, but I do hope he will make new ones quickly. I hope he will be included by the other kids and asked to play. I hope they will be patient with him as it takes him a little longer to process things. I hope the parents are as understanding and amazing as the parents at his current school are to us. There are a lot of fears for both of us entering this new phase. We will be navigating this new world together, and hope we are accepted with open arms. Kemett lights up a room with his hugs and smiles, and hope that this continues for years to come.
Next year Kemett will go 5 days a week, which for a working mom will be helpful, but I will miss our Fridays where we didn’t have to rush anywhere. We are going to enjoy our summer because next year I will see less of my sweet Kemett. I do know that he will be in good hands and will be learning and growing everyday.
We are so very proud of the boy he is becoming. He is thoughtful, kind, loving, compassionate, a feminist, and smart!
Thank you for following us on our journey and for your support! Please let us know if you have any questions.