Options for Severely Delayed Children Going into Kindergarten

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Hi Carrie, I am an SLP and grandmother of 5 year old identical twin boys. They were premature and born at 3+ pounds. They have experienced some respiratory challenges but for the most they are healthy. Each presents with significant but different speech and expressive language (syntax, grammar, fluency) issues. It has been a struggle guiding and navigating the IEP process with my son and daughter-in-law. They are great parents and doing a wonderful job. The boys have participated in an integrated preschool for two years. I feel the services and communication has been marginal, at best. The parents would like to know how much and what type of service is reasonable to request going into kindergarten. Also, how do you feel about holding them back a year…this year or next?

Services Available in Kindergarten:

  • Differ from school to school and district to district
  • Parents may not have much say in where the child will be placed
  • Things to ask during the IEP placement meeting:
    • How will the child’s specific impairments hold him back in the Kindergarten placement?
    • How will the services and accommodations overcome those challenges?
    • Does the child need additional adult support (like an aide) to fully participate in the classroom activities?
    • If the child is going to be in a separate class, how will he spend time in the regular education classroom and with typically developing peers?
    • What is the plan for helping him catch up with his speech/language skills?
    • How often will progress be assessed and reported to parents?
    • What will happen if the child is not making adequate progress or keeping up with his peers?

Holding the Child Back:

  • If you hold them back from Kindergarten, they will no longer get the services from the preschool program.  They will have to be brought to the school a few times a week to get their SLP services.  This will be pull-out only.  That will likely be far fewer services than they really need.
  • You can always hold them back for a second year of Kindergarten.

What to Do Once they Get There:

  • Ask a lot of questions about how the children are doing.
  • Ask for specific information about their progress and ability to participate in classroom activities.
  • Ask to volunteer in the classroom so you can see what’s going on yourself.
  • If you have any concerns about the child’s progress or functioning, call an IEP meeting.