Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Rambling about Emmett

Just when I think I have scaled another peak on the mountain that is Emmett and his speech, I get my flag out to plant it and find another mountain in front of me.

Last week I got a letter from the Children's Hospital in the Big City. The developmental pediatrician has advised us to get some tests done and they are being scheduled for the Spring. Emmett is to have genetic testing and a MRI. We head off to our doc to fill out the forms on Friday. I am pretty sure I am going to decline the MRI. Emmett will need to be sedated for the procedure and I don't feel the risks of putting him under outweigh the benefits of knowing what this scan will tell us, if anything. The genetic testing may actually be helpful, and it is just a simple blood test so that I will go forward with.

In addition to all of this we are making preparations for Emmett to enter Kindergarden next Fall. I have been thinking about his education a lot. At first I thought I would home school him since he is so bright, but he has made such tremendous progress with his communication skills by being in preschool that I really think he needs to be around the other children. We also wanted to put him in French Immersion (for you American readers, since Canada is officially a bilingual country you can choose to put your child in school where he or she will learn to speak French from kindergarten in full-immersion style.) Our therapist advised against French Immersion since he doesn't even speak English fluently. He will have a teacher's aid with him in the class room and his speech therapy will continue through school therapists. We will lose the developmental therapy.

We had dinner at my mother-in-law's last night. In her classic way she started planting seeds of doubt in my mind about the choices I am making for Emmett. She is a professor at the University in our city. She asks her colleagues in the faculties of Psychology and Education about Emm a lot. She told me last night that an Education prof told her we should keep Emm out of Kindergarden for another year and place him in day care instead. This teacher has never met my boy.

Of course I got defensive because I felt like our privacy had been invaded. I had to remind myself that my mother in law is only doing this because she cares for Emmett and wants the best for him. I sometimes get the feeling that she doesn't think I am qualified to make these decisions because I don't have the level of education she does.

She said that the kids will be extra mean to him because he can't speak and that will continue all through his educational career. Now, I know how cruel children can be. I was tormented from grade 1 to grade 9 and I had no speech problem. I don't want to hold Emmett back--he is already bigger than a lot of kids his age. I think that making him the biggest and oldest kid in the class will set him up for problems more than his communication issues will. Won't his classmates learn to communicate with him? Won't they then follow him through school knowing how to communicate with him?

I hate feeling this way--I want so badly to do the right thing and now I am not sure at all what that is.


Ted & Laura said...

okay really long comment emailed to you instead lol!

Ami said...

Is it possible to enroll him part time so he can play/be around other kids, which he seems to like, but have that time buffered by long periods of being at home/out in the world without the fear of being bullied etc?

As for French immersion (or any other kind, I suppose) an ability to speak fluently isn't the same as the ability to understand the language.

I don't have solutions or answers for you, and I'm aggravated at your mother in law for sticking her nose in, even though she does have the best of intentions. I guess.

It sounds like you have done a lot of thinking and weighing of options, and will do a lot more. I know that whatever you decide, you'll be constantly evaluating and willing to change what's not working. So nothing is permanent, instead you can continue to do for him exactly what he needs.