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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

School Began...

Josiah's first day at scholl was, well, difficult.  Indian Lake does this great first day celebration thing for the first couple of hours.  Not so great for kids with special needs, but a great community buiiding, all school, VERY activity packed morning that parents and community can attend as well.  Poor Josiah was totaly exhausted and overwhelmed when I left at 10:30, which is when the classes enter a more normal kind of routine.  He had a couple of complete meltdowns in the afternoon--He was exhausted (mentally and physically) by all the comotion of the morning (he is used to a calmer, single room (they did everything, even meals, in their room at Prospect), more protected environment).  He was overwhelmed.  And I really should have arranged for him to start with a half day.  He did like school, but by the time he got home he had circles under his eyes--and he had gotten 11 hours of sleep the night before!  Today is a more normal routine, and should be more to his pace of life (though I am not sure, I sometimes forget how slowly we take life in a house with two children with extra needs--though I also perfer the slower pace of life where you can actually ENJOY and savor experiences, like father like daughter I suppose). 

I really do think that if he can get use to the pace, he will flourish. He will enjoy being able to go to various specials outside of the room, but the school is not handicap accessible (weird in this day and age, I know) and has stairs everywhere, so he is having a lot of challenges (which is good in many ways, but tiring), but can not use his wheel chair if he gets tired because there are no ramps or elevators. He is doing great with his walker, and is working on using stairs, though I wish he were a little further along with that, but you take life as it comes, he will master stairs with assistance soon, and maybe move on to stairs unassisted at some point in the future. As much as I would like him to be able to take adavantage of the wonderful small class size (7 kids in a public mainstream Kindergarten with his academic focus), and the fact that this school truly values each student as an individual and I have seen how much they try to do all they can for each child to help them and thier class as a whole be successful, I am beginning to doubt my decision about not moving to a more handicap accessible school district. 

I am going to give it a couple of months and see how things work out for him, as I really do think that, oddly, Indian Lake can offer him the best chance to be embraced by a community of his peers, challenge him to rise above his disabilties, really help him gain confidence (not that he really lacks it now) and support his academic, social, and cognitive development.   Hopefully he will be able to adjust to the environment, and just as importantly, they to him.  Some people still try to make round pegs out of kids, and to do so, you lose over 40 % of the non round peg kids--the ones who can't be forcibly jammed into the round holes. MAybe he can change the round pegs a biut and give them more freedom. It is great for the other kids to be able to gain the knowledge now that people are people, regardless of abilities, skin tone, or background.  So many studies have shown that typical kids who are educated with non-typical peers, are more compassionate, more understanding, more tolerant, and more successful in their adult careers, as it broadens their minds to have friends who are different than they are.

On another note, aside from a slight miscommunication in the timing of Gonzo's bus pickup, Gonzo seemed to have had a fine first day of school.  I am hoping tha having him have teh same classmates, teachers, room, and routine that the had last year, will really help him keep his behavior more well contained, and will encourage him to progress more academically and find great pleasure in his acheivements.  That is my hope for Gonz for this year.

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