Kindergarten retention or First Grade?

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Correa98
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 28, 2017 10:42 am

Kindergarten retention or First Grade?

Postby Correa98 » Sun May 28, 2017 10:44 am

My son was recently diagnosed with high functioning autism. I have not had much time since diagnosis to digest and research before our upcoming IEP meeting this week. My son is currently in kindergarten (which I hesitated in sending him because I felt he was not socially mature enough) and I have to make the decision to send him to first grade or retain him in K. According to classroom assessment, he is far below grade level in most areas academically besides math. However, when given cognitive assessments by private professionals, his cognitive level is age appropriate. He has an extremely hard time socially. First off he is a happy, loving, charming boy but struggles with impulsivity and aggression. He is also very emotional and has tantrums and shuts down. He has not formed any close bonds and cannot seem to connect with peers. Many tend to avoid him because of his unpredictable behavior. Given the diagnosis, it is not just a case of maturing to improve social skills. I'm wondering if any parents have faced similar situations and what advice they have for me. I'm so worried I will make the wrong decision and make life harder for him. Should I retain in K and give him a year to catch up socially and academically or push him through to first grade and hope IEP accommodations and extra services will be enough? Thanks in advance

Winnie
Posts: 4227
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2006 2:48 pm

Re: Kindergarten retention or First Grade?

Postby Winnie » Mon May 29, 2017 9:28 pm

Correa98 wrote:My son was recently diagnosed with high functioning autism. I have not had much time since diagnosis to digest and research before our upcoming IEP meeting this week. My son is currently in kindergarten (which I hesitated in sending him because I felt he was not socially mature enough) and I have to make the decision to send him to first grade or retain him in K. According to classroom assessment, he is far below grade level in most areas academically besides math. However, when given cognitive assessments by private professionals, his cognitive level is age appropriate. He has an extremely hard time socially. First off he is a happy, loving, charming boy but struggles with impulsivity and aggression. He is also very emotional and has tantrums and shuts down. He has not formed any close bonds and cannot seem to connect with peers. Many tend to avoid him because of his unpredictable behavior. Given the diagnosis, it is not just a case of maturing to improve social skills. I'm wondering if any parents have faced similar situations and what advice they have for me. I'm so worried I will make the wrong decision and make life harder for him. Should I retain in K and give him a year to catch up socially and academically or push him through to first grade and hope IEP accommodations and extra services will be enough? Thanks in advance

Hi Correa -- I don't know your child of course, but based on what you described, I think it would be a good idea to repeat K with an IEP and supports. Since you know that he is socially and academically behind his same-grade peers now, perhaps repeating K would provide a "clean slate" with potential peers and an opportunity to more successfully complete kindergarten (with an IEP and services/supports) before moving on to 1st grade.

Since many children (especially boys with later birthdays) are routinely held back by their parents before beginning K, there will probably be many kids around his age anyway. As retention goes (while hoping for some maturity -- yes, kids with autism do mature -- and an increase in academic skills), kindergarten is a good time to err on the side of retention. However, retention is not a substitute for an IEP and appropriate supports and services, so don't allow the district to treat it as such.

It's important for him to experience success at school at this early time, supported in a situation where he is more likely to experience success socially and academically. This will impact not only his self-esteem, confidence, and likelihood of making friends, but also his attitude toward school for the near future. Sending him on to a situation (given a choice) which he will enter behind his peers socially and academically, and where he will struggle, may only exacerbate his frustration, tantrums, and difficulty forming peer relationships.

Good luck with it -- hope it works out for your little fella. :)
Winnie
"Make it a powerful memory, the happiest you can remember."


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