I am after some advice regarding my son. He is currently 4yo and will be 5yo at the end of September. We had planned for him to start prep next year with his younger brother due to start the year after (he is a December baby). He has two siblings already in school, both were delayed starts to school, however, they had March and May birthdays

Unfortunately, things are not looking to be going as planned. My son had developmental delays as a baby (late to sit, walk, hyper mobility ect). He was late to toilet train and we only managed to do that early this year. Things have taken a big step backwards and he is now having daily poop accidents. His speech is not as good as other children his age nor are his fine motor skills. Today we saw the paed and he thinks he has global development delay and suspects ADHD also (we have a lot of ADHD in our family).

I am so conflicted as to what I should do regarding school. I have no issues delaying a start to school but he is already one of the older children. If I delay him, he will be turning 7yo at the end of the prep year and 19yo in grade 12. I have not come across any other children this old in prep. There are lots of kids turning 6yo but none that I have seen turning 7yo. I would love any advice on what to do? I would also love to hear from anyone that is or was in a similar situation and what you decided to do?

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  • My eldest 2 kids started prep or kindy when they were 5 turning 6
    My youngest who has Down syndrome and so a developmental delay as well (and delay in speech, fine and gross motor, executive functioning) started when she was 5 turning 6 as well. She was not toilet trained the first years of primary and went to pull ups to school.
    She did repeat prep and is now nearly 10 yrs old and in year 3.
    School needs to make reasonable adjustments.
    You could consider getting him in a support class of a mainstream school.

  • Every kid is different and I think only you will know if he is ready or if he should wait. I personally think school helps immensely, so he may surprise you and pick up more once he starts.

  • Get onto the NDIS and carer’s payment.

  • You could work hard and skip prep and go straight to kindy?
    It such a hard stint, Mama. Good luck.

  • I didn’t realise you had a choice as to when your child starts school. I thought it was law that they go when they were of age

  • I am in Victoria too and have worked in schools. They are more children starting later than you probably realise. It is always better to start them later than having them always having to catch up. He’ll possibly be one of the first to get his licence etc too – when it really matters at high school – and that’s when you want them to be older rather than younger. With your son’s ADHD etc. giving him an extra year of kinder/play based learning would be really beneficial. It sounds like you have already made the decision to start later, you just need someone to say – ‘Yes, you are making the right decision’ and you are :)

  • All kids are different. I would probably talk with his pediatrician & school. Is he going to child care or early intervention ?
    My youngest has T21 and is delayed in many area’s. I had her in early intervention. She started prep at age 5 turning 6, then repeated prep (and was not fully toilet trained at that time). She 9 turning 10 now and in yr 3. She goes to a mainstream school and is on a Individual learning plan, gets work offered on prep level and has full time 1:1
    School needs to make reasonable adjustments

  • Not sure about the legal requirements where you are, but in Victoria, Australia children are required to start school by the time they turn six, which would mean he would have to start next year. There are specialist schools if you feel he’s not ready for mainstream and I’ve heard of children doing a mix between mainstream and specialist education. Good luck

  • Above advice is good, talk to the school. Personally I would send him later, physical age is less important than mental readiness. Good luck

  • I’d be talking to the school about this for some informed advice.

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