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It is a fact in our lives that time just seems to speed by. Making a decision to send your child to school next year is great when you feel like you have a whole year to increase their skills and allow them some time to develop. Around now – past halfway in the year – is the time some people become a bit worried about the lack of time left before their child is due to start school.
What should you be doing at this time? Choice of school should be an ongoing task – speaking with various school executives, friends who have children attending schools and observations of community comments regarding schools can be useful.
Viewing your child as the “big picture” and then checking out individual skills is a good task to start around now (if you haven’t already done so). Consider how well your child interacts with others – both adults and kids.
- Is their speech clear enough that you do not have to play interpreter for others?
- Is their language developed so you do not have to repair their spoken sentences?
- Can they have a conversation, taking turns about something interesting to them?
- Are they fairly accurate answering questions – if you ask “who” do they realise you are speaking about a person, if you ask “when”, do they realise you are speaking about time, “where – location etc.
- Can they follow one and two part instructions without you supporting them by repeating the details?
- Socially can they relate to other kids and join in smoothly, or do they hold back and play solo?
These are observations that you should make and discuss with the principal of the school your child will attend, if you still hold any concerns. Also speak with your child’s day care or preschool director in terms of expectations for starting school.
If you still feel there are concerns, perhaps it is time to see a Speech Pathologist to determine if your child has the skills needed to start school. It is much better to have an assessment and be reassured, than to wait til later in the year when there is less time to give practise to your child if they require it. An assessment can show what skills have been accomplished, in terms of communication, and which skills are yet to be learned. This is a big help to parents as there are certain skills expected at younger ages, then more complex skills at later ages. Some parents are worried that their child cant sat “th” when they are 5 years old, but this is a sound that is not usually expected to be developed by that age. Information about ages that sounds are usually developed by, is often one of the best reassurances for parents.
Your child might have seen a Speech Pathologist when they were younger, so it might be a good idea to have a review assessment, as expectations of children continue to increase as they grow. If in doubt, follow up with an assessment – early intervention is better than late.
It was just what we needed as we did not know how to teach the skills of reading and spelling – even though we can both read and spell OK, we still did not have a clue where to start!