Thursday, December 31, 2009
Andrew's New School
On Monday Andrew will go to a new school. After a slew of evaluations and meetings, the Center for Preschool Special Education has recommended that Andrew attend a school for kids with Special Needs. They've also recommended that he receive lots of therapies to help him in the areas where he really struggles.
Andrew and I visited the school and spent time in his new classroom a few weeks ago before we made any decisions. The classroom is smaller and a lot more structured than his other classroom. There are more teachers and the teachers have more training in working with kids like Andrew. It seemed like a classroom where Andrew would thrive and I was ready for him to start the next day!
Andrew has not been diagnosed with anything as of yet. And Dave and I are just starting to talk through what that journey would look like and if it's something we're ready to do. And I find it hard to explain why he has such big needs. He gets overwhelmed and overstimulated easily and when he is feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated, he either shuts down or goes bananas. He's not one to conform with a group, which made learning in a classroom challenging.
He seems like a kid of extremes to me. The things he is good at, he's really good at. The things he struggles with, oh my goodness. He tested two years above his age level in his mathematical reasoning. He has around 40 sight words that he can read at a glance. But saying hello to a friend? Transitioning smoothly? Following directions? Controlling his energy when he feels like he is bursting at the seems? That is where the real work is. Academically we are not worried in the least. His big needs are in the social and sensory processing spheres.
This has been a hard process to go through. I found it confusing and stressful to hear all kinds of analysis from all kinds of evaluators. I found it hard to keep perspective on who Andrew is. There were many, many surprises along the way. Lots of tears. Lots of sleepless nights. But also lots of new found pride in who Andrew is and who our family is. And when I think about the big picture I know he'll be fine. I know he'll be awesome, actually.
I am excited about the next chapter beginning. I am looking forward to settling into the new routine with the new school. I can't wait to see the growth that is just around the corner.
Yesterday Andrew and I put together his parent-teacher communication notebook. It would seem that when I am feeling anxious about change, I tend to over-craft. (Remember when I was preparing for Isaac's birth?) I was probably a little too excited to get his notebook together. But, my friends, I must prepare you. This is the tip of the iceberg. The new school not only needs a special notebook, but I will have to pack Andrew lunches everyday. A special bento lunchbox has been ordered and my head is swimming with adorable lunches. It's going to be awesome.
Posted by Dave at 10:22 AM