Special Education Preschool – A Bittersweet Realization

Can you believe we will be celebrating Jaxson’s third birthday next month? And that he’ll be starting preschool in the fall?!

With the help of our Early Intervention team, we’ve been able to identify areas in which Jax struggles, such as attention and focus, receptive speech (or understanding), and sensory processing. We knew these things would impact him in a school setting and we knew he would need support in school to continue making progress.

In preparation for preschool, Jax was given a variety of standardized tests to measure his skills and identify areas in which he could use support. He was also evaluated by the school’s Other Health Disabilities coordinator because of his Chronic Lung Disease / Asthma and brain tumor.

Even though we knew Jax would benefit from special education services, we still weren’t prepared for the bittersweet heartbreak that came with hearing the words “Your child qualifies for special education.”

Reading the results on paper was like a punch in the gut – our son is almost three years old, but he’s functioning at a 15 – 16 month level in some areas. We knew he was delayed, but we didn’t realize he was that delayed.

As parents, we’ve worked hard to make sure that Jax has what he needs to grow and learn. I quit my job of 13 years to stay at home with him and be his full-time teacher and advocate. He receives therapy regularly. We are intentional with our playtime and often incorporate therapy and teaching strategies in our everyday routine.

It was hard not to take it personally.

But, we remember how small he was when he was born and how hard he fought to live and we are in awe of his progress.

premature baby born at 23 weeks

While I am sad that my child has delays, I know where Jax excels – he loves making people laugh, he is constantly exploring and being curious, he shows empathy – these things will take him far in life. He is so much more than a child with developmental delays.

It’s hard to believe Jax is old enough to get on a bus and go to school by himself. I never believed people when they said that time flies – until I had a child that taught me just how precious time really is.

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Practicing for special education preschool in the fall
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Author: Andrea M

Oh man, what an adventure! I went into labor unexpectedly when I was 23w3d pregnant. Jaxson was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz. A tiny little peanut, but boy was he feisty. He still is! We love it now, but we probably won't when he is a teenager. I write about our journey and all other things that come with it, including a brain tumor. We look forward to "meeting" you - come hang out with us...we're pretty cool.

5 thoughts on “Special Education Preschool – A Bittersweet Realization”

  1. Andrea,
    I know that you guys are doing an amazing job with Jaxson!!! I know first hand about being an advocate for our kids because I am very involved with my childs education and what happens to them at school. My daughter has a 504 plan at school because she has type 1 diabetes. Really hit home when you talked about special ed because my son gets help too!!! My son has been very far behind and hes one of the oldest kids in his class. My son has TBI and we have struggled. I can remember countless times being emotionally upset in conferences, but with a lot of hard work at home I have realized that he will succeed, It may take a little longer and its hard since Im a single parent but that certainly by no means holds me back!!! Im very proud to say that at the end of 2nd grade my son is at grade reading level!! We still have work to do with other things but my son has come a super long way and hope to be out of services before middle school. I just wanted to share a bit of my story to show that even though our situations aren’t identical hard work dedication and the love for your child and the will to succeed you can truly accomplish anything that your heart desires!!!
    God Bless
    Jennifer Tandberg

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  2. You are both doing an amazing job. I know hearing the words Special Ed, makes you think all kinds of negative things…..but it really is a positive. It made a huge difference for Ulrik, it was the boost he wouldnt have gotten in regular preschool. Upward and onward 🙂 Jaxson is going to just keep showing you he’s a fighter, something he has learned from his parents who have fought for him since day 1!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words and support, Libby. They really make a difference. I know Jax is going to LOVE school and I’m so happy he is going to get the support he needs to keep learning and growing.

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  3. I know it’s hard but don’t sell yourself short. You have been instrumental and the reason why Jax is as advanced as he is. You are doing great! Just remember that early intervention ( and it’s still early) will benefit him down the road where he might not need services for his entire school career. YOU are an amazing mom and Jax is so lucky that you are his advocate, teacher, cheerleader and mom. Jax is going to continue to amaze you even if he needs extra help for awhile longer than hoped! Hugs to you momma!

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    1. Thank you, Kelley! I needed that encouragement. I’m hoping that with the extra support in preschool, Jax will be able to learn strategies to succeed in school when he gets older. Hopefully, he won’t need services for long! Even though it was hard to swallow, we are happy and grateful that Jax is getting the extra support.

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