Thursday, 8 September 2011

52in52: Get Doo Dah ready for school

Image from here
This is Doo Dah's last year at pre-school. He has already been orientated to his school and is chomping at the bit to don his uniform and attend school.

It was quite overwhelming at the beginning of the year to look at Doo Dah and imagine he would be ready for school by 2012. He was so little and dependent and...well, little. I remember thinking the same thing about Nugget, but Doo Dah has had a lot less one on one time than Nugget got. He is the middle child. The wedge.

I vowed to spend some of this year getting him ready for school. Don't panic! This hasn't been about daily flashcards, I promise. His language skills and letter recognition are more than adequate for him to learn to read when he gets to school. But it did include trying to sort out the 'tonsillectomy or no tonsillectomy' question and seeing a paediatrician for his clumsiness and knock knees.

The paediatrician said he was fine, above average in most areas. A bit knocked kneed*, yes, but there is still time for that, with some hyper-extension thrown in for good measure (runs in the family). She suggested the clumsiness was due to lack of attention, but was a little concerned that he could spell his name aloud but not write it or draw anything. I mean *anything*. She asked him to draw a person and he did a squiggle. To be honest, I was a little shocked myself.

The paediatrician's input lead to a stint at the occupational therapist and a visit to the physiotherapist. The physio confirmed that his gross motor skills were normal, and his clumsiness is due to inattention rather than lack of skill. He might look a bit odd while running and climbing, but he is doing as well as his peers. She discharged us after the assessment.

The occupational therapist had a few more things to work on, so he joined in a little group. He went for five sessions and graduated from his 'school readiness' class today. He can now hold his pencil correctly (those OTs are Nazis about pencil grips!), write his own name correctly using proper letter formation, draw people and basic animals, cut out stuff, stick, colour-in and fold bits of paper to a satisfactory level to be considered ready for school.

He was so excited to receive his Certificate (the only boy in the class who has got the stamp of approval thus far I might add). He beamed in the back of the car all the way home. I was amazed at how far he has come in such a short period of time. He responded so well to the structure and breaking the tasks down into smaller steps (handy to have learnt so much about his preferred learning style before starting school too!).

So after nine months of visiting every health professional under the sun, the Doo Dah is officially ready for school. Now, if I can just get him to sit still long enough so I can work on his lisp...

Have you got a child starting school next year? Have you been doing anything to get him/her ready?

*Not sure if that is an official verb


Anonymous said...

Crikey, I thought we spent a lot of time in doctor's offices! We've got nothing on you. Good on you for putting in the effort, I'm sure he'll reap the benefits at big school. Go Doo Dah! He should be very proud of himself.

sarah said...

My gorgeous daughter started school this year and as a very eager mum I've volunteered for everything I can including reading groups - its been so great to watch all the kids at different levels, some struggling, some flourishing, as they navigate through their first year...getting them ready is also about preparing for such a big shift not only for your kid but for yourself!!

Kymmie said...

Oh Coo, I love that you are so attentive to all the details to ensure he is ready. My son has a lisp and is only just forming the letters of his name. (We're getting there.)

But I still haven't made up my mind about schools. Seriously, I have to be the most UNDECISIVE mother around.

There are three schools. And I can't choose. What is YOUR criteria for a good school? (Trust me, I'm posting about it soon!)


Kymmie said...

Um, you knew I meant INDECISIVE?

(I think he needs to learn to words from someone else other than his mother.)

Oh, and knock kneed? We have orthodics. Work a treat!

Sam-O said...

The Little Man is heading for big school in 2012 also.

We have spent time being assessed by an OT as ordered by the biatch-maternity-leave-fill-in director at his pre school (yes the feeling us totally mutual). The results of which were "who refered you and why?" as I expected.

We've been to Speech because he FAILED his screening at preschool - it showed terrible language, vocab in addition to pronunciation of some sounds. Major curve ball... I was relieved when he was properly assessed to find I was not losing my mind and he only had trouble with the "L" sounds and in fact was in the 97th and 93rd percentiles for language and vocab. 3 sessions and no "L" issues.

He is also clumsy. Like your son it is attributed to moving too fast and not paying attention not his fat flat feet, which are now encased in runners with off the shelf orthotics for extra support.

As for the reading stuff, that's what school is for, I make no effort to contribute to this outside of discussions about letters and signs that he instigates. I think kids are forced into reading and writing too early and need more unstructured play time.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

I've got nothing. I'm feeling a little bit lackadaisical having read your post. Mr4 seems to do everything about right, beyond weeing straight (dear God, WHY can't they find the toilet!) and tying shoelaces. But we have the whole summer to work on that, right?

He saw a Woolworths truck today, confidently read the side and told me it was from KMART. But having seen Mr7 spend a year on letter recognition in kindy and be climbing the walls, I'm not too worried. :-)

Speechwise, I'm waiting for his aunty to come down and assess him. :-)

Mum on the Run said...

He is one lucky boy to have such an invested Mama.
Well done, you and well done Doo Dah.
We have just received Magoo's papers for his kindy for 2013!!!!
Did make me think about making sure we get the scissors and crafts out again next week!
The teacher in me wishes all our parents were as open to therapies (often short term) as you are.
The Mum in me thinks you just plain rock.

postcard pam said...

I don't really want to think back to 4 days ago and the agony of my youngest child's first day at secondary. Now it's like she's been there forever. I'm not too happy about not being allowed a kiss anywhere near school tho'. I have to pull into a layby half way home for a cuddle. Thankfully, she can't last any longer than that herself :)

Erin said...

Pleased Doo Dah can now draw;)
I do have a son who is officially school age next year. Homeschooling though is kind of different. He is showing interest already, so some days he joins in.

danneromero said...

love this post... memories abound thinking of my own kids... way back when...

what a moment... i can only imagine doo dah's happiness with the certificate... kudos to him..

Mama of 2 boys said...

Oh well done Doo Dah! Those are awesome achievements, no wonder he is so pleased with himself. My eldest starts school the year after and already I'm quietly nervous about getting him 'school ready'. It all seems so grown up... as if having him didn't prove I was adult enough!
You must feel really good in yourself about preparing him so well for his first year of big school too though. You're a fab Mama :o) xo

Anonymous said...

My youngest starts school next year. And like Doo Dah is chomping at the bit. We've not had orientation yet - that's next month. I haven't done anything in particular except tell her she's off to school, we can't be late (more for my sake than hers) & that she really need to wipe her own bottom now that she's nearly in big school!
She'll be fine, I'll be quietly sobbing in the corner cafe.
I've included you on my list of versatile bloggers, hop you don't mind.

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

I'm a while off before Little Monkey gets to big school, but all ready I know I'll be not quite so diligent with the preparation I was doing for Monkey Boy. Poor imp.
Good on you Doo dah, you are going to love it.

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