Today was what our school district calls “Bus Round-Up Day.” Since we started school in the middle of the year last year, we missed all the fun beginning of school activities. I was pretty excited to see what it was all about. So I went to school with Beth, for 1.5hours today; I even got to ride on the bus and everything.
Beth was tired and grumpy this morning but as soon as Daddy told her she was going to school, she perked right up and was running around saying: “Where’s the pack?” She was so excited when she saw the bus coming, and was all smiles for her bus driver. We got on the bus and Beth seemed less than thrilled that I was in “her” place. After a few minutes she warmed up to the idea and was telling me about things she saw out the window. When we got to school she followed Ms. M’s directions briefly, and then ran past everyone to her classroom. At this point I pretty much ceased to exist. She said a brief Hi (of sorts) to her teacher as she hung up her backpack, then raced into the classroom to explore. There was only one other student that came today, but that was okay with her, since they were visiting the “Blended” class on/off throughout the morning.
I was able to speak to her teacher and the classroom aide about current issues Beth is experiencing. Fortunately they were her staff during ESY, so they were familiar with her and aware of some of the current struggles. I went over what we feel are Our strengths, and Our areas that need improvement. The new Speech Pathologist came in to introduce herself and chat a bit. She even asked about our private therapists and how to contact them, I was impressed. The teacher then shared with us some changes in the ECE program this year; basically they are attempting to restructure this class into more of a transition class for children, so they can move to “Blended” classrooms with as much ease as possible. They are also coordinating more with the Kindergarten teachers to make sure they are properly preparing the kids to be successful in that environment, when the time comes.
Since we had declined placement in the “Blended” classroom for this school year, Ms. B was apprehensive that we would not be happy with the changes to the curriculum. I must admit that I am a bit leery, because I suspect some the kids from the “Blended” program that were in Beth’s ESY class were not being nice to her. I am not sure if it was bullying or just kids being kids, but there was a drastic change in her demeanor and we are still working on some major aggression issues. As scary as change can be in Our world, I also think that it necessary to progress; so we will keep an open mind and also keep a close eye on behavior issues as the school year goes forward. This new structure has the potential to be a growth experience for Beth and will help her deal with a larger classroom. We feel that it will also help us to achieve our goal of her being in a General Education classroom for Kindergarten in the 2014-2015 school year.
The majority of the week, Beth will be in her classroom with her other 3 – 4 peers, teacher, aide, and various therapists (they do their supportive services in the classroom). Then twice a week they will spend half of their morning with the “Blended” class, so they can adjust to the larger (16-20 kids) class size and interact on a consistent basis with more of their “typical” peers. The students will also be journaling on a daily basis, where they will draw a picture of their day, and staff will write in a description for them. Since many of the students, including Beth, cannot tell their parents how their day was, they hope this will help open more lines of communication between school and home and encourage the kids to “talk” more about their day at school with their caregivers.
In pure Casablanca style, I must say: “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” We will provide Ms. B with a list of items we are working on at home, and they will attempt to work them into her day at school to assist in strengthening her skills in those areas. In turn, they will keep us informed regarding what they are working on in school, so we can also concentrate on those areas at home. I am very excited and hopeful for the coming school year. I feel that if we build the proper working relationship and maintain consistent, honest communication it will be an Au-Some year for everyone. Wishing every family and their amazing children a successful 2012-2013 school year, may Our children all shine like the unique, bright stars they are!
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.