Monday, September 8, 2014

As the school year starts....

.....I'm noticing a SERIOUS change in Simon.  A huge growth that we haven't seen YET in that boy.  And others are noticing it too!

It started with the first few days of school.  We were worried that, because he's been with the same teacher for 2 years that he would have trouble with another teacher in a different classroom.  There is very little he shares with his former classroom now.  One student moved with him.  They are in a different hallway, with a different paraeducator (as well as teacher), even a different Occupational Therapist (when he goes to OT).  He's even arriving at school differently, taking the bus.

Every day, he comes home with his daily contract.  It gives a very general description of his day.....what types of activities he did (including specials) and whether he performed well at each station of the day.  The form is the same every day with the special written in, so it really doesn't give me much information at all other than "He had a good day" or a "....mediocre day" or a "....bad day".  There are 3 icons for each line item.....a smiley face; a neutral face; and a sad face (I don't think I need to describe those in any further detail).  The entire first week, he had ALL smiley faces.

The second week started the same way!  I had gone into school for something with the PTA and ran into the paraeducator in the office.  I asked her, casually, if they were "grading" the kids more leniently as the school year had just begun.  She explained that he had taken to the routine like he had been doing it for a year.  He was participating in class.  He was walking nicely in the hallway from place to place.  He was behaving during lunch.  He was really doing everything exactly the way you would expect any child to do things.  (for the record, he has since come home with a couple of neutral faces, but they've been scattered -- he has enough smiles to have earned a star every day)

But it's not just at school that people are noticing this change.  He went to his first dance class on Saturday.  Historically, he would do everything that his classmates would do, but behind a wall so that (he believed) no one would be watching him.  But on Saturday, I insisted he come out and watch in the mirror.  He fought me at first, but he begrudgingly came out and stayed out throughout the whole lesson.  He did everything that was asked of him, including tap dancing (not his favorite thing).  I'm hoping that this is a sign that this class will also be going better for him this year.

And it continues!  He and Rachel started Sunday School this year.  The first session was yesterday.  I had few worries about Rachel but many misgivings about Simon because they really didn't have the accommodations that the public school offered him.  But the Rabbi and I sat down with his IEP and came up with a few things.  And he arrived yesterday.  When I picked him up (2.5 hours later), I learned that he had stayed with the class and interacted appropriately with them all.  He wasn't able to sit as long as his fellow classmates, but he did stay within the boundaries that were set for him.  He went to "computer lab" and worked on the assignments with his classmates.

Just 2 weeks into the school year and look at the changes we're seeing!!!!  I can't wait to see what happens as the year progresses!  And I hope this isn't just the "honeymoon period" and that we have finally "turned the corner" with him and that he's ready for the next big leap, just like Rachel was a year or so ago!