Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
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I see both sides of this. I have a daughter with special needs, which lead me to becoming really interested in special education and I now work in a school with special needs students. I've done the meetings from both sides of the table.
On one hand, preschool teachers are trained to be looking for areas where kids are a little behind and then to help them catch up. It's one the reasons that kids who attend preschool usually have an easier start in K than kids who don't. At the same time, the system has gone a little nuts, and kids with natural human variation are sometimes seen as being Behind.
What is interesting to me in your post is that the really big areas -- speech and language and cognitive development -- sound like they are doing fine. He sounds happy and well adjusted. It sounds like he is fine playing with others and fine playing by on his own. Well done for getting him to this point in life so well! As far as feeling like you are messing up, please take a big deep breath and remember that the most important things we can teach our kids is to value themselves and be kind to others, which you are clearly doing.
What does the school see as his strengths? Since they experienced concerns, they should have also expressed his strengths.
Are their concerns about art concerns about fine motor skills? Or exactly what? Last year I observed the transition planning for preschoolers who were identified as having special needs and will be starting K this year. Not once did any one mention their art. Also, if they hold up other students art to show you his in comparison, ask they only compare him to other little boys, who typically lag behind girls at this age in fine motor skills.
On the hopping and so on, these are gross motor skills. I think this is a combination of genetics and environment, and not surprisingly, kids get a double whammy. Less athletic parents provide a less athletic environment. I think gymnastics sounds great, and you might check into swim lessons this summer. Neither of my kids ever got good at catching balls (in spite of us throwing them at them a lot) but they are both GREAT swimmers. While it is good to address weaknesses, I do wonder why we think children are supposed to be good at everything.
Another thing to consider is how your son does when things are explicitly taught to him. So you taught him to draw a stick person. Did he catch on? Remember it later? Create his own add-ons or variations? To me, the fact that you taught him this isn't nearly as informative as what he did with the information.
As far as the meeting, take deep breaths. Try to be polite and listen with an open mind. Let them know what you are doing to him develop. On one hand, I become a better parent by listening to input from others. At the same time, you and your DH are the experts on your kid. You are the ones who love him. While the preschool staff care about him and really do want what his best for him, 10 years from now when you, your DH, and your son are talking about the decisions you've made as parents, the preschool teachers aren't going to be there.
but everything has pros and cons