Hi everyone !
I live in Australia, and my daughter is 6 years old and about to finish year 1, and start year 2. We had a choice to delay her starting kindergarten due to her being born in January, but chose to start her early because she had such an interest in learning. We also did not have the ASD diagnosis, so we felt ok starting her at school. I do not regret her starting kindergarten last year, it helped with her diagnosis, and starting early intervention, which we might have delayed a year if she started the following year.... if all that makes sense.
However, this has made one of the youngest in her class. So we are seeing her being the baby of the year, and the relationships she forms seem to more her peers taking care of her, rather than forming friendships. I also see that the other kids are much more socially and emotionally mature than her. I feel like she would fit in a bit better with the year below, and would be more matched to their maturity. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand being around older peers that will look after her is a good thing, on the other hand would being putting her with less mature kids be beneficial or make things worse?
Does she have friends? She didnt have any at the start of the year, then towards mid-year she formed a close friendship with one of her class mates, but now she is once again without friends at lunch times. She does go up to people at lunch times, they also have lego tables available, so she goes in to play there with others. She also goes up to people who might grab her interest... but no regular friends.
I feel like the decision to repeat or not is now, because the longer we leave it, the harder it will be.
Should I repeat her, or keep going?
I had the same choice with my daughter she is currently in year 1 and i was asked if i would want her to start the following year. She has peers that she will play with but if she doesn't get to control the scenario she will play by herself but she does not have really friends and that panics me all the time but she is settled in the class and to move her to the class below would be a bad decision as she doesn't like anyone to know that she is different to everyone else. You need to go with your gut and maybe ask your daughter in a few questions what she likes and dislikes and if she would mind moving to the lower class.
Throughout their life ND individuals tend to develop later than their NT peers, especially in relation to social situations, I certainly did, although, I excelled academically. I was an August baby and although there was no option to hold me back, I'm glad I wasn't and believe doing so would have effected my self-esteem and especially my self-worth in regards to matching up to those the same age as me.
I like the idea of speaking to your daughter about what she wants, although, I do advise caution. As a youngster, my mum was offered a place at a local grammar school and was asked if she'd wanted to go. She said no as she wanted to stay with her friends. She now believes this choice had a negative impact on her life.
I believe the most important thing you can do for your daughter is spent time throughout her education making sure she knows her own self-worth and advocate for her own needs, so she doesn't need looking after by others. Plus to teach her about healthy relationships and all the different forms these come in e.g ones that are mutually beneficial, close friendships etc
My gut is saying repeat. My dd is very social, she wants friends, and constantly wants to play with other kids, but she is currently getting alot of rejection because she is not only the baby of her grade, she turns 7 in January, while her peers are already 7 from earlier in the year, and some kids are even 8. Plus being ASD, she is also immature for her age, and has communication and sensory problems. My gut says that holding her back will place her with peers more closer to her age and maturity level. The benefit would also be that she will be a bigger girl, rather than the baby of the entire grade, which I think is affecting her relationships and independence. She sees her peers achieving more, and she gets discouraged and frustrated because she can't do it.
I have actually talked to her about it, and she is not upset about it. When I asked her, and I did ask her she asked why. So I explained that she is a bit little for her grade, and that being in the lower grade she will be a big girl and be with friends more her age. I don't think it will affect her friendships too much, the kindergarten class has only been together one year so they havent established concrete friends yet, and the school splits the classes every year anyway.
I've also spoken to her speech therapist, psychologist and OT, and they all believe it might be a good idea if she does repeat. I just feel like this will not be an option next year
I do alot of work with her to build her resilience and self confidence. We always talk about her being able to do hard things, and we do our self affirmations every morning. she has a great relationship with her older sister, who is only 14 months older than her. I am about to see if I can organise some social meet ups with the local autism community centre. Social skills are definitely a focus for me, more so than academics.
I have spoken to her about repeating, she is ok with it. I asked her how she would feel about repeating, she asked why, so I explained that she is a bit little for her current grade, and that the lower grade would make a bigger girl in her class and have kids more her age. She said ok. Ive asked her it a few times in different ways to make sure she understands, and she say ok, shes not upset... and she is someone who will let you know if she is not happy or doesnt want something so, I feel confident she is ok with it and it won't affect her confidence... because I am not repeating her because she is failing, I want to repeat her so she is around kids more her age and maturity level. I mentioned in my response above that she is 6, and most of the kids in her year are already 7 and some have also turned 8... and to me that is a huge difference in age, and with her being ASD its also a huge difference in maturity levels.
Her school splits the classes each year, so she will have different people in her class either way. Ive also discussed this with her speech, ot and psycholists, and they think its a good idea... but you know as parents we always second guess every decision. But I am definitely conscious about not risking her confidence. I feel like repeating might build her confidence a bit, because she will have already done it all before, and I am hoping with better confidence she will handle new challenges a bit better the following year.