Monday, December 28, 2015

Put Away the Labelmakers

Last fall a friend of mine took her little boy to be screened for preschool. After a battery of tests the screener told my friend they would put the little boy on a waiting list for the Title 1 preschool.  They also told my friend that her little boy would need services from the early childhood special education center.

According to the screener one of the tests they performed indicated the little boy did not have problem solving skills.  His mother told me that the test consisted of them taking the boy to a room that had a chair pulled away from the table.  To pass the test the child without prompting was supposed to recognize the chair was pulled out and go push it in.   Another indicator that the child needed special services was that he could not identify all the letters of the alphabet.

My friend was upset with the conclusion that her son would need special education.  I am an educator and I know the little boy.  I am angry that a screener would say this to a parent.  I don't believe that the child needs services based on what I have seen and even if he did--I don't think that a parent should be told like that.  How can you even label a 3 year old anyway?

A few days ago I was visiting my friend and her son had a snack and wanted to sit in the living room at the coffee table.  He looked around and then asked his mom where one of his play chairs were.  She replied that they were all outside and were not going to be brought in.  He looked thoughtfully around the room, then said "I know!"  Walking over to a small plastic tub full of toys, he dumped out the toys and brought the tub to the coffee table.  Flipping the tub over, he gladly sat upon it to eat his snack.  Now if that isn't problem solving, I don't know what is.

Please don't make quick decisions when labeling children.  And don't believe everything a supposed expert tells you.