I’m really not sure which. But here is update on Koopa’s SM issues and other stuff. First, we moved again in May this year (new house, same city, a nicer neighbourhood), and K started a new school around the same time. We were reluctant to change schools at first, but, in the long term, this seems to be a really positive change. The new school is much closer to our new place, it’s very small and has a family feel to it. There is one class per year, and it seems that it’s fairly easy to make friends there with kids and parents from Koopa’s year and other years. Everywhere we go now, we bump into people we know, which is super nice. It’s a small town we live in, and I like it, especially now that we go to school locally.
Because of a lot of changes around the same time (new baby, new house, new school), we decided not to wait till the beginning of a term/year, but have Koopa start the new school as soon as we got the place there, in mid-May. He cried really badly the first morning before school and it took some serious magic powers to get him to school that day, but after the first day, shockingly, he announced that he liked the new school better than the old one, and after a few days he already made some friends there. The school was super helpful in his adjustment process. Before his start date, they prepared a little welcome booklet for him with pictures of his classroom, his teachers and all the other relevant adults there, his classmates, two buddies that were assigned to him (one boy in his class and one in year 6), and the school rabbit. There was even a photo of the boys’ toilet there because they were aware of his toilet anxiety.
So all is well at the new school, and was well from the very first day there. I was surprised he wasn’t at all clingy in the mornings, had no problem staying at school, I am told that he seems happy there, plays with other kids and laughs, and loves participating in class activities and sharing his expertise on whales and other ocean creatures. All is well except for one thing. He doesn’t talk there at all. I expected him to be silent for the first a couple of weeks and then progress to whispering to at least some people at school, but hasn’t happened. Since the day he started there in early May, till the end of the school year at the end of July, he hasn’t uttered a single word there. So I’m a bit confused. There is every sign that he is comfortable and mostly happy there, perhaps happier than he was in his previous school, but the talking situation seems to have deteriorated (because he did talk in whisper in his previous school). Moreover, after he changed schools, he stopped whispering even to people who he used to whisper to outside of school, like his violin teacher and some friends of ours. These days, if we go to visit someone we haven’t seen in a while, he asks me “Mom, did I talk there before?”, meaning that he’s worried that he’ll suddenly start talking to someone who has never heard his voice before. So he doesn’t talk at all outside of home, just in case.
At this point, the only creature outside of family he interacts with verbally is the neighbour’s dog. He started speaking Russian to him at first, but I explained that the dog only understands English, and so he speaks English to him now, but only when his owner is not within hearing distance. They play over the fence. K would reach his hand between the wires of the fence into the neighbor’s yard, grab the ball and throw it over the fence, and whisper, “Jack, go get the ball!”, and Jack would obey, non-judgementally, as dogs tend to be. These interactions are double useful because they might also help Koopa’s fear of dogs. In the absence of the fence, he is terrified of them.
I have a lot of hope in this coming school year. In October, the school is going to send both his teacher and the TA for a day-long course on how to deal with kids with SM, and me and Gleb have been reserved a place there as well.
Also, we are waiting for a referral to a Speech and Language therapist. Also, we were told that Koopa might have Aspergers, and we’re currently in the process of assessing him. I don’t even know what I think about it anymore, but that’s another story. The important thing that something is hopefully going to change this coming school year. Something has to change, even if it’s only us finally finding a consistent support team.
Remarkably, this is going to be the first year since K was about 2 years old without any new houses, new countries, new babies, or new schools. Same old boring stuff. I’m seriously looking forward to it. Here is to boring!