Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Desperately Seeking School...

... that embraces a full inclusion model for all students, special needs or otherwise.  By full inclusion I DO NOT mean that all kids are just in the same classroom and no longer segregated from each other. Inclusion isn't about geography. I mean an inclusion model in which every child is considered part of the community and the classroom.  Each child is actively taught the value of diversity and differences.  Each child is rewarded for inclusive behavior, and there is no tolerance of bullying by either the staff nor the other students.  I seek a school where each staff member, from the principal to the lunch lady, recognizes the value and eagerly seeks the opportunity to embrace special needs children, children of color, of different ethnic groups, and every child who enters their doors regardless of needs or abilities.  I seek a school where every student is expected to not only perform at an adequate level, but at their own optimal level.  I seek a school where the teachers might look at my ASD child and say "how might I help get him to Harvard?" instead of setting the bar so fricken low because of a label.  I seek a school where the staff are not afraid of my child and his needs, but rather are trained... or will seek knowledge about... his disability and how best to teach him.  I seek a school which doesn't view him as a liability or an expense that has to be avoided.  I seek a school in which he is viewed as having as much right as all the children to get a quality education, and there are people surrounding him to want that for him as much as I do.  I seek a school that is willing to love him as he is and help him become the best he can be.

If you are that school, please get in touch with me ASAP.  (Oh, and say hi to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.  I assume you are in Fantasyland.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day, Ninja Style

We had Father's Day a day early.  Big Daddy has his black belt in karate and teaches locally.  He volunteered to help out at a local tournament and J-man and I went to watch for a bit.  I have never taken him to any of Daddy's karate events before, so I figured he would probably love it.  Or get overwhelmed.  Or both.

It was LOVE.

Getting all geared up in
Big Daddy's Darth Vader gear

This is JOY
We got in and immediately J-man was entranced.  The students were sparring, and he laughed and cheered and said "MY TURN" several times.  It kinda broke my heart to tell him he wouldn't be entering the ring!

J-man calmly waits his turn

Big Daddy came to the rescue, and J-man got a little one-on-one time training with him.

J-man and Big Daddy
And then the absolutely coolest thing... the thing that saved the day... happened!  Some of the students started to "spar" with J-man.  OH, he loved it.  Me too...  I couldn't stop laughing.  What a wonderful group of young people!

Happy Father's Day to the Best Daddy in the World

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Moving On

We have decided to leave J-man's current program and start up at a new center.  This new place has a lot to offer in terms of being more in line with my kind of thinking when it comes to interventions for J-man.  They will still do some ABA, but they use a mixed model approach and so will taylor the programming for him.  It is awesome.  But... it is new.

Brand New.  As in J-man will be one of the first clients.  Yikes, talk about taking a leap into the unknown!

The program is very close to our home, which is a huge bonus.  Hopefully less 1 hour home commutes to/from therapy, and more time to be with J-man and Big Daddy.  They also want a lot of parent involvement, which is right up my alley.  Mommy likey!

It was bittersweet to give our notice to his current program today.  He has made such huge gains over this last year that I will admit to a certain amount of fear about this change.  I know they don't feel like he is ready for kindergarten...  that much is clear... and I don't know.  Maybe they are right.  But here is the thing...

J-man always rises to the occasion.  So can we deny him a chance to show us what he can do?  Because of our fear?


Instead, we are moving forward.  He will attend his new program in the mornings and attend J&J preschool in the afternoon (his old preschool... they are amazing!!).  We will see how he does there, with the chaos of a room full of preschoolers.  And if he does okay, then onward to kindergarten.  If he struggles, Plan B.

But I am hopeful....

.... because today he rode a bike for the first time....

...  and danced with me to Elmo's World, twirling me around and telling me to 'dip' him.  And made faces with me in the mirror, first a mad face, then a happy face, then a surprised face.  And told me a story about a TV show he watches.  All I could make out of it was "the rust bucket is a motor home" .... which it is (Ben 10, people)... but he went on and although I couldn't understand him, I knew he was telling me a story.

I think he deserves a chance.


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