I am quite aware that my son has Down syndrome. I have been aware of that for over five years. I also freely admit that he has a speech delay and may have other struggles down the road. It is no secret that he has Down syndrome and I took off my rose-colored glasses years ago.
I have never sent any of my children to pre-school or kindergarten. I am a SAHM and I have chosen to teach all of my children to read and do math so when they enter school in first grade they are prepared. My children enter school reading 2-4 years above grade level. I take my responsibility as a parent very seriously and want to make sure my children are life-long learners. Not all parents would make the same decision as we have regarding pre-school and kindergarten. We are fortunate that we have the opportunity and freedom in our country to make the decisions we feel best serve our individual children and it does no one any good to be judgmental of those decisions.
For the second day in a row, I was judged for my decision to homeschool my son. I was chastised by a professional today who has never met my son and knows nothing about him. I was calling to get information about speech therapy in my area and instead was treated like a horrible mother because I did not enroll my son in school at three years of age so he could receive all the services he needs. Umm, excuse me? How can someone who has never met my son decide what services he needs? Unless of course he's lumped into the "Down syndrome box" where every child with DS needs every available service. Any child that needs services should absolutely receive them, but I strongly disagree with the idea that all kids with Down syndrome are the same anymore than all kids without Down syndrome are the same. Not all kids with Down syndrome need all services. My son no longer needs physical therapy and has never needed occupational therapy (according to his doctor and previous therapists).
He does need speech therapy but because he is not enrolled in school he cannot receive it unless it is through a private speech therapist. The problem? Finding a private speech therapist is next to impossible. So, my taxes go to pay for these state services but my son cannot use any of them because he isn't in school. Did it occur to anyone that one of the determining factors for my husband and I to feel comfortable in sending him to school will be his ability to communicate verbally? The very service they are denying him is exactly what he needs to be able to attend school in the future.
My son is not ready for school away from home yet and we can make that decision because we are his parents and know him and his abilities better than anyone else. In fact, he is currently enrolled in a virtual kindergarten program we do every day at home and he's doing fine. He can match letters and recognizes all the letters of the alphabet. He understands "the same" but not "different" yet. He is also learning his numbers.
Don't get me wrong, he can totally communicate but he needs to be able to do so verbally. All I want to do is find a therapist that can help him do that.