Dear 60 Minutes and Mr. Safer:
On Sunday July 8, 2012 I watched your segment by Mr Safer on "Redshirting" in regards to holding children back from Kindergarten until they are the age of 6 and was HORRIBLY DISAPPOINTED. Over the years, 60 Minutes has developed and maintained a great reputation for giving a fair and unbiased story. This story in particular was extremely biased towards the typical developing child and the parents who want to give them the upper hand academically and athletically.
What about the child with a special need?
I, for one, have decided to hold my son back from Kindergarten this year and have him repeat preschool. He was born in mid-August. The age cut-off for my particular school district is September 1st.
Starting at the age of 14 months, he suffered from chronic ear infections which in turn affected his hearing which affected his speech. Although we had PE tubes placed in both ears and began speech therapy, the problem remained. On top of that, he also has a neurological condition known as CAS: Childhood Apraxia of Speech as well as a lisp and occasional stutter. While mild, this condition has impacted his social/emotional skills greatly. It wasn't until the last 4 months that he has become comfortable within his preschool classroom setting to attempt verbal communication with his peers.
For months, we were counseled by his current academic team with the pros and cons of withholding and/or sending him on to Kindergarten. This was not a decision that was made lightly. In the end, they supported our decision to withhold him from Kindergarten for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Our decision was not made to make our son the biggest boy or the tallest boy in his class.
Our decision was not made to make him more popular or to get his driver's license first.
Our decision was made to give our son the BEST academic, social and emotional chance for success.
Our goal for our son is to give him a fair chance in school: To be able to keep up with his peers… To be able to verbally communicate with his peers and teachers without fear.
Why did you have to focus on sports as one of the main reason for withholding a child from Kindergarten? Do we really want our children to idolize sports figures and ultimately be like one of them? If that is the case for some parents, that is sad. Sports figures today lack the morals and integrity with which we want our children to grow up with and maintain.
Why didn't you interview a parent (like myself) who is choosing to hold their child back based on a disability? Why didn't you interview an Early Childhood Education teacher and ask him/her their opinion on children with a speech, language, or other special need being pushed into a Kindergarten program compared to a child who is held back to work on and perfect his/her skills prior to entering a Kindergarten program?
Sadly, this blatant omission makes your segment biased. I would hope in the future that all stories are viewed from multiple perspectives and not just what others perceive as the "normal" or "standard" perspective.
Thank you for your time.