Sending Hailey to school the day after she turned 3 was very difficult. I couldn't rely on her communication skills to tell me how her day was, if she liked it or if she played with anyone. I had to rely on her teachers, therapists and aide. I was scared. Could I trust everyone? Will she be ok? Will other children treat her like a baby or equally? I learned early on that Hailey's school is a hidden gem...the best kept secret of our school system. Hailey's classes have 12 children...6 typical and 6 atypical. They can't fill the atypical spots with typical children. Hailey started the school year with 9 children (including her).
This school year has been different. She is with children that are all attending kindergarten next year, which is our goal for Hailey as well. She is with her age appropriate peers even though her ability is less than most of theirs. Her teacher let Hailey take the lead the first week. Mrs. H let Hailey show what she could do before she made any changes or adjustments. After the first week, we agreed to use a visual schedule to keep Hailey on task. It creates less interruptions and Hailey feels more independent and more in charge.
The past year and half, Hailey used a weighted vest to help her focus and make her more aware of her surroundings. This year we are no longer using them. Knock on wood, Hailey has not run and focuses through her centers. During transitions while the other children are sitting on their square on the floor, Hailey sits in a "hug" chair on her square. It keeps her from lounging around or roaming around her classroom. Overall, Hailey never had a lot of behavior issues. Most of them were just attention seeking behaviors because we all know the diva likes extra doting. Her teacher is onto her :-)
The best part of all of this is Hailey's speech. While I do appreciate Hailey modeling peer behavior (the good ones anyway!), her speech has always been our biggest hurdle. Hailey is still delayed when comparing to typical children her age. You do need to pay attention to her and listen. Most times you can understand her. She is stringing more and more words together. The first day I picked her up from school she was all smiles. I asked if she had a good day, she proudly announced "yes". She followed it with a description of her snack...which we all know is the most important part of school!
I'm looking forward to seeing what this school year brings to Hailey. I love watching the changes and the independence she gains. She truly has a life outside of the one we can control. People that are spending time with her and making memories with her. I'm so glad that it is with people who want to see her succeed. People that love her smile and dimples as much as we do!
|This girl LOVES school!|
|My babies are all growing up!|
|Every day we check her behavior chart.|
|She loves waiting for the bus with the big kids!|
|She loves the bus!|
|She liked the extra attention and "crown" while she was star of the week.|
|Love this school pic!|