Let it be

March 31, 2008 at 9:59 am 3 comments

     When C was finishing preschool, we experienced much angst about where to start him in kindergarten. The well-respected private school with small classes, earthy mothers who grew their own food, and teachers who believed in experiential education? The regular public school, complete with therapy services, a traditional school setting, and other children with special needs? I eagerly visited all the possibilities in our town, hoping the right school for C would reach out and grab me. You’d think we were making a decision between Harvard and Yale, given the weight it seemed to have. Yet we knew having the right environment, the right teacher, and the right feeling would make or break C’s educational experience from the start.

     Our little town was blessed with a myriad of choices, one of which was a Waldorf school. The important aspect of Waldorf education in terms of how it relates to C is that they don’t concentrate on reading until around grade 3. Since C could read already, I thought perhaps this style of learning might be good for him because it would push him to focus on creativity, fine motor skills, and less structure – all things he struggled to grasp.

     As I discussed our options with C’s preschool teacher, she bluntly shot down the idea of Waldorf education for C. “Reading is who he is, what he loves. Why take that away from him?” She was right, of course. In trying to make him more well-rounded, I was, in essence, considering forcing something on him that likely would have been miserable for him. It was my first lesson in the delicate balance between helping him gain skills and letting him be himself. From that point forward, instead of trying to make him something he’s not, I focused more on what he is.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , .

Happy Birthday! Risky Business

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Good Fountain  |  March 31, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I understand what your initial thinking was. I too fell into that. I used to think it wasn’t a good thing that Chee loved the alphabet so much and that it was my job to help her branch out and learn to love other things. For a time, I put the kabosh on ABC-related activities with her.

    Then someone suggested that rather than force her to like other things, use her love of the ABCs to do that. What a brilliant idea of course.

    It really has been best for me to work with her love of the ABCs rather than work against it.

    Excellent post.

    Yes, that alphabet can be a great motivator! At one point a therapist told us to put all that fun stuff away and let him have it only as reward, but we didn’t go nearly that far – I couldn’t stand to do that to him! At it has worked in his favor – his love of words and numbers has really helped him in school. Hopefully it will continue to do so.

  • 2. jesch30  |  March 31, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    and what he is is fabulous…

    🙂 He certainly is…

  • 3. FXSmom  |  March 31, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    In our society that is very hard to do. People have a hard time even accepting who they are and maximizing that. He’s lucky you came to that realization while he was so young. It took me years before I did. 🙂

    That all being said, we are still doing therapies and still trying to give him skills he doesn’t have. Not with the goal of “changing” him, however, just with the goal of helping him get through his life happily and successfully, whatever that means for C.


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