Kindergarten & Apraxia- It's The Best of Times and The Worst of Times

Apraxia and Kindergarten- where do I possibly begin? Well, given that this was like 19 years ago, I can shed some light as to what I know and recall.

According to the past reports, my kindergarten day was split 80% 'Special-Education' and 20% 'Typical Classroom.' At the time I had no idea that my day was split like this, to be frank I could never tell a difference between 'special' and 'typical.' For the most part, I only noticed that my class sizes would change between subjects. So in the subjects I struggled with, such as speaking and physical education, I'd be in a smaller class with 3-5 students. For other subjects I was alright with, mainly Reading, Coloring, Recess and Lunch, I would be with a larger group of kids.

My delays were described as the following:

  • Inteligibility: 10%-20%
  • Physical Coordination: Less than 20%. 
    • I was clumsy; whenever I jumped I'd flail my arms above. When I'd walk or run, I would not alternate Arm and Leg, so it was the same limb leading. Try that when you have a chance-I'd say it's more difficult to do that than alternate between the two!
Now despite these clear delays at the time, I still felt that I was just like any other child. 

As a kindergartner, I thought my social life was excellent, but in hindsight it really wasn't. I did meet my BFF Nicole, who lived down the street from me, but we were not at the same school at this time. I recall two distinct peers specifically at school, but I'm not sure if they were in my 'special' or my 'typical' class. One was a girl friend and we played together all the time! We would point at toys, at the playground, and fully communicate through small words and hand gestures. She didn't speak much either, but I'd find out as an Adult this was because she only spoke Spanish. That only slightly hinders any communication given the fact I could not even speak anything at the time. The irony is my first future word would be Luna and I'd be a Spanish Major in college.

The second peer was a huge crush of mine, his name was Alex (how could anyone forget their first school crush). He was one of the cutest guys in school with shaggy brown hair. We played together sometimes on the playground. One day during an exciting game of "Princesses and Dragons," where girls would run away from imaginary dragons and the boys would fight these fake dragons, he was the prince that protected me from the evil, mean dragon. It was all going well; except for the fact I couldn't run correctly and pay attention to my surroundings. I ran straight into a tree branch, knocked myself out, and had a bloody nose. Alex was nice and walked me to a bathroom to clean up my face.
A teacher noticed Alex and I in the boys bathroom though; me with a bloody nose and of course I was nonverbal and couldn't explain the situation. 

Seeing a quiet, nonverbal girl in the boy's bathroom with a bloody nose-it was awkward for Alex and I.

Alex never spoke to me again after. 

As far as therapy goes, all I recall was I was always separated from large classes to be with a smaller group of kids. A lady would work with me on talking, even though I thought I spoke perfectly fine and others were crazy for not understanding me. Another lady would teach me how to hold scissors, zipper things, and tie my shoes. Another guy, named Joe who would remain my guardian angel and help me throughout Kindergarten and Elementary,  would teach me outside how to be physically coordinated. We'd work on jumping, running, and catching and throwing balls. 

The reason why I speak so fondly of Joe is he was the first adult I can recall outside of my parents that protected me at school. In Kindergarten, I had my first bully named Francisco. He had some major anger-management issues and I guess on the playground I was taking too long to climb the ladders on the jungle-gym. Francisco actually grabbed me from the back of my shirt, knocked me to the ground and kicked sand in my face. Isn't it interesting; it's been 19 years and I still cannot forget this. 

There were many teachers on the playground watching us play. I recall them seeing what was going on and doing nothing; Joe the farthest away and was the first one to run up to me and address Francisco. 

Joe would be there for Kindergarten and throughout Elementary School. He would eventually talk my parents out of grounding me for losing my retainers at a Science Camp. My sister would end up playing on his daughter's softball team.

Kindergarten and Apraxia-It's a time of being completely different, delayed and 'slow,' but a time of ignorance and enjoying childhood. It's feeling like you're normal regardless of the IEP's and report cards. 

It's a mix of the Franciscos and the Joe's. It's a mix of friendship and rejected crushes. 

It's a mix of acting normal, yet being defined as different. 

 h h