My son, Cole, turned three a few weeks ago, which means he had to transition out of the “Birth to Three” program. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that, it is a great state run program for children who may need that extra push to get through some challenges they may be facing in areas such as motor development and speech. We began in the program when Cole was around 7 months. He was falling behind in his motor skills and we had heard about this program through our daycare. Through the last two years and five months, we have had the same therapists and teachers throughout the whole process. We became really attached to them, and they really cared about Cole. We were quite sad to see the program come to an end for us, but we knew that the adventures ahead for Cole would be exactly what he needed.
Our “Birth to Three” program was based out of a school system in the town over from where we lived. We did a lot of research and felt as though, for us, it would be best to move to that town so Cole could continue services there (we had other reasons as well, such as family in that town, but our main reason for moving was the school system). It took us almost 6 months, but we were finally able to sell our townhouse and move in with my in-laws (until we find a house of our own in town). It was just in time. Cole had his transition meeting shortly after we were settled in, followed by his PPT, and then his first day of school.
A few days before he turned three, Cole had his last physical therapy session with the “Birth to Three” program. We decided to do it in his new classroom so he could check it out. We stayed for the whole class to see what his new preschool was all about. The preschool program contains both children with special needs and “typical” peers. There are therapists who assist the children with their speech and motor skill goals. They work towards getting Cole ready to attend kindergarten, grade school, and beyond.
I was excited to see the music portion of the class that day. Cole loves music. I think it may be the only thing for which he has an attention span of more than 3 seconds. That was really when it hit me… Cole was going to SCHOOL. How could my baby be starting school? Although, that was the extent of my sappiness. I knew he was going to love it, and he’s a big boy. He has come so far from his struggles to gain weight and needing his teeny blue glasses. He was going to OWN preschool. I wasn’t worried about it.
Monday morning comes and it was time to get Cole on the bus. He did really well. I can’t say I was all that surprised, though. My husband did follow the bus to school and greeted him when he got off the bus. We wanted to make sure he knew he was OK. With Cole having complex communication needs, we really didn’t know how he was feeling about all of this. He can’t really tell us the way a typical 3 year old could. My husband and Lincoln said their goodbyes and Cole began his first day alone at preschool. Based on an email we got from his teacher, he had a good first day.
It’s been over a week at this point, and we’re already noticing a huge difference in Cole. He is playing with toys more appropriately, has a slightly better attention span, and has been on his feet a lot more! Cole is getting 5 days a week of routine, education and therapy. We are so happy there are great resources for him out there.
The best thing that I ever did for Cole was call for an evaluation for the “Birth to Three” program. It never hurts to just have an evaluation done if you are even the slightest bit concerned. Either they tell you that your child is doing fine and has no need for the program, or you get some of the best resources available for your child to help him or her grow and develop. On top of all of that, the evaluation is free. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.