I went with Melanie and Whitney to Whit's kindergarten assessment this morning. The school is not too far from home and seems nice and new. Whit's new teacher is experienced and will work well with her. But I'm concerned. I'm not sure Whit's in the right place for kindergarten.
I felt like the testing didn't go well at all. First up was placing small toys on a grid and counting. Whit didn't even get the purpose, she wouldn't do what they wanted and she certainly can't count. Whit didn't really give the teacher and her aide the attention they needed. Melanie and I snuck out into the hallway so we wouldn't distract her.
While Whitney was alone with her teachers in the classroom, they tried to get her to identify the letters of the alphabet. A few minutes into the test, the teacher came out into the hallway and asked or help, "We're just not getting anything out of her."
Melanie stepped in to help and managed to get Whitney to sign a few letters. Whit was willing to identify and pick up a few plastic toy letters when her teacher asked her to. We were told that identifying upper case and lower case letters is a kindergarten skill, so hopefully Whit will improve over the school year.
It took a half an hour of work to get through 10 or 15 letters and Whit kept signing "all done" throughout the exercise. After that, we just talked with Whit's teacher. She felt the rest of the tests weren't really necessary based on what she'd seen.
So Whitney will be starting out as the most delayed member of her kindergarten class. Many of her classmates, mostly autistic children, can already walk, talk, write their name, use the bathroom and various other typical skills. I guess you could call me concerned about that. I'm hoping most of the struggle today was new people in a new place. I think Whitney will calm down and do well once she's there with the other children during class time. But can she learn as quickly as she's expected to? I hope she'll give it her best shot. And in the mean time, I'm expressing my father's right to worry.