Robby is on Spring Break this week, meaning that school attendance is optional. The academic program is on hiatus until after Easter, but his school remains open for "camp" (i.e. daycare) purposes. At his previous school, Robby never would have entertained the notion of attending school on a non-mandatory day. Imagine my surprise when he woke up Monday morning and asked if he could go to school!
During the past few months, I have watched my little Koopa's self-esteem soar! He frequently comments that he really likes his new school, and his popularity is obvious each day when I drop him off and pick him up. Academically he is thriving; I am astounded by the new things he is learning and sharing on a daily basis. Perhaps most notable, he no longer shies away from reading publicly.
It has taken a year to unravel the story, but it turns out that last year Robby was ridiculed by the teacher when he read aloud. She remarked that he should just sit down because "nobody could understand his talking anyway." My heart broke when this story was revealed, and my anger was palpable. I wish I could go back in time and rescue him from the situation, but all I can do is be vigilant while rebuilding his confidence.
This year his teachers and speech therapist have taken a different approach. Recognizing that he was self-conscious about his speech issues, they encouraged him to read to the babies in the daycare section of the school. As his speech improved, Robby slowly started to increase his public reading. It has taken 7 months, but now my little guy no longer avoids reading aloud. Both his reading skills and his speech articulation have improved dramatically because of the dedication and love shown by his teachers. As a matter of fact, Robby no longer qualifies as a student with a moderate speech impairment. His impairment has been downgraded to mild, and it is expected that the issues will be resolved within the next school year. I couldn't be prouder of the hard work that he has put into improving his speech skills.