Monday, September 21, 2009

Status updates

Here are some facts and thoughts about how the boys' first several weeks of school have gone...

Part of me has looked so forward to him going to school a full day, and another (big) part of me has viewed it with much reluctance and anxiety. From the time we realized Xavier had a developmental disability, we wondered how and where he would go to school. Preschool worked out so beautifully, but I have always been so stressed over how his transition to elementary school would go.

I am relieved beyond imagination that things have gone so well. Perfectly, actually. As in, I couldn't have asked for things to go any better. :-)

Xavier has unbelievable people surrounding him all day. His primary paraprofessional, Miss Lauren, and kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Garbinsky, are compassionate, interested, caring, and excited to have him around. He has classmate helpers, that help him do activities, and relay information that I write in a logbook for circle time (what we did over the weekend, etc.)

The kids in his class are learning about what it means to have a disability, and that its okay to be different. Another paraprofessional that works with him everyday, Mrs. Smith, told me a cute story that happened out on recess. Tons of kids (15 or 20, she estimated) were in a jammed in a circle up against his wheelchair. (He's a bit of a curiosity other children are physcially disabled...) The kids were all asking Mrs. Smith why Xavier can't walk/talk etc. She explained on their level that his muscles aren't strong like theirs, and his brain isn't able to let him figure out how to talk, but he's trying to learn. One little girl (a first grader) leaned over and touched Xavier's shoes. She said, "Boy, he may not be able to walk, but his shoes sure are clean!!" How funny. I love answering kids' questions about Xavier. They're questions even adults have, but don't ask because of the 'filter' we develop as we mature. But children's questions are so innocent and special because they honestly care about the answers. I also love that they tend to look for the positive in anything - yeah, he may not walk, but that means his shoes never get dirty! We should all take a lesson from kids and their way of thinking...

Xavier's favorite class is music (no surprise there.) He works with Mrs. Kerr who is a terrific interventional specialist, and Dylan, a little boy who I have yet to meet, but I look forward to the opportunity to do so. Dylan is in 4th grade and works with Xavier everyday. I'm told the two are developing a special friendship, and it makes me so happy to hear about how much fun they have together.

Overall, X seems to be a little happier these days, and I can't help but attribute that to all the attention he gets from his peers, and activity he does. He's still continuing with OT, PT, and SLP. He's having fun, and that's the most important thing to me. :-)

Hooray for Hazel Harvey Elementary and Chippewa Local School District in Doylestown!

I remain very happy that we chose to send B to kindergarten this year. He's grown so much in just the last few weeks, its mind-boggling. He's gaining social skills, and learning so much academically. Most notibly - he can actually READ simple books. He knows many sight words now. I'd write them all out, but I realize that would be boring and take up way to much space. Suffice it to say, he can read Dr. Seuss books almost all by himself. :-)

Ben has developed a solid friendship with a few kids in class, but he talks the most about Alex. He tells me they like to watch the recycle truck come to pick up the papers and bottles during recess. He was also very troubled when Alex got stung by a bee out on recess and is now terrified of almost all bugs (bees cause him to scream and run now...) There has also been a 'hugging incident', where Ben came home with a bump on his forehead and a note in his bag explaining that he and Alex had been hugging each other so intensely that they had fallen on the ground and knocked their heads together. :-)

Ben is learning to add, can write all the sight words he knows how to read, and got a 5/6 on his first spelling test. All this both amazes me (its like magic to see him read!!), and makes me happy...but the best part is, when I wake him up in the morning to get ready, he says, "Mom, is it a school day?!"...and when I say, "It sure is!", he shouts "YES!!!" and leaps out of bed. Can't get a better gauge on how school is going for him than that! :-)

Here are some pictures I've been hanging onto from before school started when Ben and I dropped off his enrollment papers. He's so proud to be a big kindergartener!!


(this next one makes me laugh...he made me take this because he thought this sign was just as important as all the other ones I had taken pictures by...even when I told him what it said. Heehee ;-)

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