Friday, August 19, 2011

And so it begins...

Emily started school this past Wednesday. This is her second year of preschool at our local elementary school. She has the same teacher, which is great. She has different kids in her class this year because she switched to the AM class (plus most of the kids in her class last year have moved on to Kindergarten).
Check her out on her first day of school last year. She has grown a little since last October.
I met with two of her teachers and one therapist on Monday to discuss some changes for this year. They are: Emily will be at school on Mon/Tue/Thu mornings. She will go to therapeutic preschool at Children's on Wed/Fri mornings. She will be in AM rather than PM preschool. She will ride the bus to/from school (YIKES!). She will have a new hi/lo chair to use in the classroom. She will spend more time in her stander this year (last year, I think she was put in her stander about 3 or 4 times total - NOT acceptable). She will have access to a head mouse that she can use on the computer to play games and may be able to borrow a communication device from the school district.
She will continue to work with a Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist (although the therapist will be different) and Vision Specialist. The team will meet again before October to redo her IEP for this year. All of her goals will need to be revamped. The therapists at school plan to work with the therapists at Children's to make sure that her new goals are appropriate and that everyone is on the same page.
The first day of school, there were 3 kids in class (including Emily). The returning students started this week and the new kids are supposed to start on Monday or at some point after that. Apparently, the paperwork for new students is not moving as quickly as everyone had anticipated so no one is really sure when the new students will start. Plus, as kids turn 3 or 4 and are qualified for preschool, her class will continue to grow throughout the year.
Whenever we talked about Emily riding the bus this year, I was told that she would probably be on a bus by herself because she needed the wheelchair lift. Well, the night before school started, I found out that she would be riding with all of the other preschool kids. I was so excited to hear that! Half the fun of riding the bus is being with your friends. The down side to that is the schedule. As more kids are added, she will be on the bus longer and longer. Plus the wheelchair lift bus only holds so many students. If the class grows too big, Emily may need to move to her own bus at some point. Guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
I was a bit nervous about her riding the bus. She has never been transported in her wheelchair. She has never been on a bus. She didn't know the other kids yet. She also didn't know the bus driver or the aide. So I followed her to school on Wednesday. As I was driving behind the bus, the tears started. It was hard to believe that my "baby" was on that bus all by herself. Well, of course, she wasn't by herself, but she was on that bus without me. Hard to believe how the time has flown!
They had one more stop so I got to the school before the bus arrived. I had pulled myself together until the bus pulled up. As they were getting her off the bus, the tears started again. I wasn't even sure why I was crying at that point. I guess it just hit home that I would not be taking her to school every day this year. She would get to school all on her own. She's growing up and gaining some independence. Independence is a good thing, but man did it hit me hard in that moment! They did say she did great on the bus, so I was happy to hear that. I gave her a kiss and off she went to class (and I did some more crying).
We started to use a communication log this year. Basically it is just a notebook that the teachers/therapists and I will use to communicate with each other. One of the things I will miss about not dropping off/picking up is the 2 minute conversations we would normally have. It was a great way to let them know what Emily was doing at home and find out how her day went at school. So that is what the log is for. Plus, I am hoping it will encourage the therapists to keep me posted more often. We will see if that actually holds true.
Emily did have a great first day at school. The teacher said she was very happy and giggly all day. She also did great on the bus both days. That makes me so happy. I did forget to mention that Emily started her school day off with a bang...

When I got Emily up on Wednesday morning, she had a 1 minute seizure. We have not seen a seizure since June 26. I had even told the teachers, therapists and bus driver that it had been a while. We did go to an open house at the school on Tuesday night. Emily did very well there, but it was very loud and overwhelming. Then she had a hard time when we put her to bed, which is unusual for her. She cried a lot and Mike finally got her out of bed for some snuggle time. When he put her back down, she was fine for the rest of the night. After the seizure, we both wondered if she could feel the seizure coming on. We have noticed that she tends to get cranky beforehand, so that may be the case. Well, as I mentioned, she had a great day, so she stuck to her usual pattern: cranky before the seizure and happy as can be after. So, other than that one thing, her school year is off to a good start.


Big brother, Little sister. said...

What a huge milestone and naturally there were tears! Emily looks fantastic and taking it all in her stride :) Hope she enjoys her new class and I cannot wait to hear about her success' with the head mouse and communication device. xx

Anonymous said...

So proud of Little Em. She's such a big girl now. I am so happy she is doing well and enjoyed her first day of school. I loved the pics.