Monday, October 25, 2010

First Day of School

Emily had her first day of school last Wednesday.

Here are a few First Day of School shots of my girl (who looks SO grown up, I can hardly stand it!).

These shots were taken at home (I think she was looking at the TV - I was just glad that her eyes were actually open!). I also decided to take another one outside school so I could get a shot of her in her wheelchair. Doesn't she look excited?
I also took a shot of her name tag above her backpack hook. The first day of school was a bit overwhelming for Emily. She was pretty cranky and had a few meltdowns. The first day was all about training for the teachers and aides. The PT and OT were there (at separate times thankfully) showing them how to use the equipment and how to move Emily from one piece of equipment to another (the school requires two people to move her). Emily normally struggles with transitions, so moving her multiple times throughout the afternoon did not go over well at all! On the first day, she only spent about 2 minutes with the kids. I don't think she was very happy about that!

The second day went a little better, but Emily still didn't get to spend much time with the kids. There are a lot of things that they do that she cannot participate in. On the first day, the kids went to an assembly. Emily could not go because the noise is too much for her. She struggles with the cafeteria for the same reason. The kids also went to music class on the second day. Emily didn't go because it interfered with her feeding time and the teacher was concerned about the noise level. The one time that she really had the chance to hang out with the kids on the second day, a vision specialist came in to work with her. I was frustrated by that! Wouldn't it make more sense for the therapists to work with her during the times when the kids are doing things that Emily cannot participate in?

Today went MUCH better. I had a chat with the teacher and aides in the morning and we all agreed that we wanted Emily to participate as much as possible in all of the classroom activities. We also agreed that the timing of the therapists would be worked out a bit better so that Emily would have as much time with the kids as possible. She definitely got a lot more time with the kids today. She even had a classroom assignment - she was the door holder. She loved watching the kids walk by as they went in or out of the classroom. A few times she laughed out loud watching everyone pass by. That made everyone laugh.

We also spent some time on the playground in the afternoon. That is challenging since it is not accessible at all (they will be updating it, but that probably won't happen until the spring). As one of the aides pushed her I started to play peek-a-boo with her to make her laugh. The kids picked up on this and they all started doing it. It was really cute to see all of them trying to make her laugh. Emily also did a craft and helped to pull seeds out of a pumpkin today. I wasn't sure what she would think of that, but she loved it. It was so fun to watch her get so excited about sticking her hand in there.

You could tell that the kids were really anxious to spend some time with her. They are all very curious and have lots of questions. And she has definitely been anxious to be with them too. I think that is the cause for some of her crankiness the first two days. She didn't want to spend her whole time with adults. So it was nice to watch them interact today.

Today, I basically took a back seat to the aides, teacher and therapists. I was only there because the aide wanted me to be there for one more feeding before she felt comfortable enough to do it on her own. Tomorrow will be the first day that I drive Emily to school and leave her there. To me, that will feel like the real first day. I am definitely stocking up on Kleenex, as I am sure I will need it for the ride home. There are still some kinks to work out. There are still some things about the school and classroom set up that I am not thrilled about, but I am really trying to give this a fair shot. I think Emily will enjoy getting to spend more time with the kids. I think all of the kids (in her class and in the school, in general) are learning a lot from having her around.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Just a quick note from your past speech therapist. I knew she would love being with her friends. She is such a people person. Maybe the therapists can see if they can adapt activites so that they work with her with her peers. I love her job,door holder. She could also take attendence to the office, use a simple Big Mac and say "everyon is here today" with her tool. She would love that. God Bless. Love, Mary Beth

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Sounds like things went much better today. I'm assuming Emily is in a special needs class and not an inclusive class? I'm just curious - how many kids are with her? What seems to be the typical special needs in the class? We'll keep praying as everyone makes this transition!

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

She DOES look very grown up sitting in her chair there, ready to go to school. I hope they get the schedule and such settled soon. My Emily LOVES school, and I hope that your Emily will too! The other kids sound the same as ours - they love making Emily laugh, love pushing her wheelchair, loving being her reading buddy. :)

Jenkins said...

She looks so big! Definitely a big preschooler!

Kerrie said...

YAY Emily!! I'm soooo happy for her!! To get such a big responsibility so early on (being a door holder) must mean she's a born leader :) Aidan also got an important job last week - he got to be the bell ringer!! Next playdate they are going to have soooooo many stories to tell each other!!

Kristina said...

Emily looks sooooo cute for her first day of school. I'm so glad the school is listening to your concerns and letting Emily play with her friends more. Emma is only in school for a couple of hours 3 days/week and it's hard to fit in all the therapists and the classroom activities so we are working through that. I think it will be a work in progress to get the right mix of therapy, time with kids, etc. for a couple of months before everything settles down! Keep us posted on Emily's school adventures :-)

Michelle said...

happy belated 3rd birthday to Emily. and wow look how big and grown she looks!! hope school continues to be a positive experience for her!

Anonymous said...

It looks like things are in gear now-minus the kinks. Exciting to think of things to come. Anxious to see how she will blossom, as things continue to be altered to meet her needs. Loved the pics-she is definitely a little lady and not a baby now. Keep it coming. Praying for your separation anxiety.