Owen's starting his first day of his speech therapy group today. It will include four children and two therapists for one hour sessions twice a week. We're telling Owen it's "preschool," because, for us, that's our reasoning for putting him in it--to get him ready to start kindergarten.
One thing Jeremy and I have learned as parents is that there's no need to rush "achievement." Children are amazing. And they learn so many amazing things on their own without parents pushing them. I was astonished by the things Owen would learn, and I'd think "I never taught him that-he figured it out!"
We tried to "potty-train" Owen a number of times, with breaks in between, but finally during a period when Jeremy and I were taking break from it, Owen told us he was ready to start using the potty. And he did, with minimal accidents or any effort on our part--because he was ready.
We could have pushed the issue earlier and made him try and he would have struggled through many accidents a day, until probably when he reached this same point where he was ready then the accidents would stop.
We've felt the same way about pushing Owen "academically" at a young age. He'll figure out his alphabet when he needs to. He'll learn to write his name when his little muscles are ready, and trying to push these things early only causes frustration for everyone involved.
At first I was hesitant to put Owen in speech therapy. His speech troubles are all "normal" developmental ones that usually fade over time. But we're down to our last year before kindergarten, and if these issues were not to resolve completely within the next year on their own, then they would be stumbling blocks to learning kindergarten-level skills like learning to read. They also could affect him socially, and with his self-esteem.
So therapy begins. My biggest fear is that he's behave poorly and we'll have to start dealing with "behavior conferences" and stuff (or that they'll kick him out). But as we begin this next year of preparing for kindergarten, we say goodbye to our beloved nickname for Jonas--Owen's pronunciation: Baby Donut.