“Can Your 5-year-old Go to the Store?” Asks a Surprising Document

Readers, my Facebook friend Ali Bergstrom recently showed me a child development form filled out for her son. This is to assess 5-year-old with disabilities:

How many of these do we let our "normal" 5-year-olds do?

How many of these do we let our “normal” 5-year-olds do?

In case this is too hard to read, the benchmarks are:

Child may play safely at home without being watched constantly.

Goes about familiar environment outside of home with only periodic monitoring for safety.

Follows guidelines/expectations of school and community setting.

Explores and functions in familiar community settings without supervision.

Makes transaction in neighborhood store without assistance.

What’s fascinating is that this test is measuring whether a child with disabilities can do the things we no longer allow children WITHOUT disabilities to do.

Contrast the assessment’s expectations with this story from a while back: The 6-year-old detained by the cops for walking to the local post office. The cops thought she was just too young to be out on her own, and that her parents (who had practiced this trip with her) were dangerously negligent.

Negligent? Try empowering! As we can see from the form above, the professionals who work with special needs children understand that for those kids to MAKE IT in the world, they must go out and embrace it!

That goes for ALL kids. Heck, it even goes for adults! It goes for everyone! So, many thanks to Ali, for sharing this. And good luck with your obviously capable child! – L.

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