Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 10 of 31 for 21 - Socialization

Socialization is always an issue that's raised when a child is homeschooled.  In fact it's usually the first thing parents are asked when they tell people they will be homeschooling their children.  What about their socialization?  Isn't it funny that no one asks about their academics?  Kids go to school to learn, to become educated so it's interesting to me that so many people are concerned children won't be socialized when they are homeschooled and never question the academics.  Thinking back to my own brick and mortar education, it was come in, sit down, shut up and do you work.  The only socialization happened at recess and lunchtime.  Occasionally we would have group projects or have an assignment to do with someone else, but for the most part school was a singular thing.

Today we were informed by a SLP that my son with Down Syndrome throws things because he's not properly socialized from being homeschooled.  He's 4 years old and yes he throws things.  He doesn't do it maliciously or out of anger.  He does it because he loves to see things fly through the air.  Anything that goes through the air is cool to him.  It started when he was about 2 and first noticed helicopters.  After that everything started to fly.  Basketball is his favorite sport and is incredibly happy when we play with him because we can throw the ball up higher than he can (not by much anymore).  My son does not have meltdowns, hit, spit, kick or bite like his public schooled counterparts.  He is polite, has and maintains friends, and is very outgoing.  Don't get me wrong he's quiet keen on showing his displeasure and has learned the art of pretend crying while squeezing his eyes closed as hard as he can to try to get tears out.

What's also interesting is I have had more calls in the past year from parents looking to homeschool their child with Down Syndrome than I ever have in the past.  The major complaints are that the child is miserable at school, they have developed terrible behavioral problems, and that the school does not seem to be able to reach their child.  It only makes sense to me to have a child in a setting where they are comfortable, loved, accepted and supported for who they are - a person first, a son or daughter, a sister or brother, a friend, and somewhere down the way a child with Down Syndrome.

Cameron was leading the YMCA at a good friend's wedding reception.  Everyone in attendance ended up on the floor with Cameron in the middle of everyone doing the YMCA at a whopping 3 y.o.

Cameron and his older brother Dustin having a peaceful moment.  Like I said a child, son, brother, friend and somewhere down the way, a child with Down Syndrome.

1 comment:

  1. Our Down Syndrome clinic is 2 1/2 hours away. Those appointments usually last about 4 hours and in that time you see all the specialists - Geneticist, Pediatrician, OT, PT, SLP, ENT, etc. The SLP there really seemed to frown on the fact that we were homeschooling (my daughter would not even have been in Kindergarten yet). She made a big deal about the fact that my 4 year old could not yet use scissors. Then she asked how many blocks my daughter could stack and I told her at least 10. My daughter stacked 3 and got bored with it and wouldn't do anymore. The SLP looked at me is if I were a liar. Sorry, after a 2 1/2 hour car ride and sitting in the same room for over 2 hours my daughter was really not in the mood to "preform." But somehow that was the fault of homeschooling!

    Don't worry, my daughter really struggled with having "appropriate" social skills for her age. Her DS peers were learning to sit still and behave in group settings for an extended period of time and my daughter was not. However, my Gess was learning her alphabet and numbers and even to read and many of them were not. Academically speaking she was beyond many of her peers including typical children. I wasn't too worried about her social skills, I knew they would catch up. And they did! Now that she is almost 9 she is generally the BEST behaved child in a group setting of her peers. She not only sits still but is attentive and interacts when appropriate.

    Your son loves to see things fly so let him enjoy that! Eventually he will learn there is a time to let things fly and a time when they must stay grounded. We need to stop expecting kids to act like adults before they get to enjoy being kids.