Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's Progress, I Suppose!

Dean's second day of school was this morning. I was really happy again with the classroom and how things go in there. It's fun to see Dean learning more even from last week and I love the inclusive, yet small, setting. There are 3 kids with IEPs and they pull in up to 5 typical peers, so the class size is small. The assistant teacher is a speech therapist and other assistants and therapists float in and out. Dean's PT at school challenges him as he moves around the classroom and gives us tips on how to help Dean with gross motor skills in the practical, classroom setting.

The smallest things are such victories. Today they were working on a project that involved pulling apart little cotton balls. Great fine motor activity. I've never really worked on something like that with Dean before, and he was having a hard time with it. When Dean knows a task is really challenging for him, he totally checks out. It was hard to see him like that.

But then later today we were at home and Cole broke out the playdough. With 3 small boys, playdough is something that we rarely get into. Someone always wants to eat it or throw it or someone needs something else and then I can't properly supervise the chaos. But today it was actually a peaceful, seated activity - fancy that! Dean took the playdough and began to pull it apart again and again! I helped him one time and then it was all him. He was so proud of himself and kept saying, "WOOOOOOOOW!" :) Made me so happy to see him capitalize on a new skill and really own it. Go Dean!

The tricky thing about school is still the food situation. The food reward is given at the end of circle time before they transition to the next activity in a room across the hall. This is when Dean gets a quick pull-out physical therapy session. The teacher today said that Dean could go out of circle time first (she gave him a high-five as his reward) and then she gave the other children their food rewards after he was out of the room. I teared up a little. It still DOES bother me that she insists on doing the food reward, but you know what? It's progress. In a perfect world, everyone would "get it" and make all the accommodations in the world to make life easier for my children.

In case you missed the memo, *this world is not perfect.* Dean is safe from food and he's not being ostracized or made to feel different at all. This is the goal.

This race we run with Dean is a MARATHON. I am exhausted already and he is only 2.5. If we are going to run this race without collapsing before the finish line, we have to pace ourselves. I have pulled out all the stops more times already than I can count, but other times it takes smaller, calculated steps. I've printed out information, contacted the teacher, contacted her boss, contacted the PWSA(USA), talked to other parents about how best to approach this, read about the laws... and yet I have to proceed with caution as we navigate this. My natural tendency is to dive in and SPRINT, but I need energy to keep going....

I talked with a fantastic social worker at the PWSA and she is going to phone in to our IEP meeting on January 3 to talk about the food concerns. I'm really hoping that this will make a difference for us as we advocate for Dean. And I'm so thankful for the support that the PWSA(USA) provides for us families. We need it!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am sure many people have commented but this food reward thing is so odd. My daughter has been in school since the day she turned 3, and they have never had a food reward. I understand Dean's class is younger but for them to be getting a reward every day does not seem like a good lesson- soon they will be saying "I will do it but what are you going to give me". It should not be a problem for the teacher to lose this teaching method.