My son was “invited” to leave four different early learning centers before we found Head Start at Wayne Metro. He had behavioral issues around transitioning. When it was time to be done with something and he wasn’t ready to be done, — like playing outside or playing with toys, transitioning into washing his hands and taking a nap — those types of things did not go over well with Landon. He’d get upset and they couldn’t console him.
Eventually, one of the centers recommended that I get him an evaluation for ADHD and autism. I wasn’t ready to hear that yet, but I did start the ball. This past summer, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s, on the autism spectrum.
It’s not been easy. I’m a single parent. Having to explain to my job that I have to get my son into a completely new school and do that whole process mid-year, multiple times was not fun. I constantly felt that my son’s latest placement and my job were in jeopardy because nobody seemed willing to take the time to really work things out with Landon.
He started at Head Start this fall and it’s been such a pleasant experience. I’ve always felt the need to provide a disclaimer for my son. I’d sit down with the teachers and lay all my son’s cards on the table and ask them truthfully if this is something they can work. When I came to Head Start, Miss Shala, his teacher, said, “Ms. Garrett, we will not fail your child.” And they have not failed my child.
His Head Start teachers are patient with him. We have open communication. They ask me how I handle certain situations at home and they’re consistent with that at school. He loves Miss Shala. He talks about her on the weekends. They have that bond. Finally, I can go to work and know my son is being looked after by somebody who loves him and cares about him and wants him to do well, versus just babysitting him and tolerating him until I can come get him.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about Head Start services for children with special needs here.