Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Can you believe?

Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing - but, it's been almost a whole year since my last post.  That's a bad thing because I still have lots of journaling to record from preK 5 through 3rd grade.  But here's the good news - I've spent ALL year working with my mini-me....and it  has paid off tremendously.

Since I last posted, we've successfully completed the 3rd grade - ending the year with a 4.0 GPA.  Who does that?  More importantly, how does one do that?!   What I know for sure is that the countless hours invested in speech therapy, working with the special educator, finding and creating resources to support academic success - was worth every minute!!  I'm stunned by her success.  I'm stunned by her progress.  And to be on the honor roll all four quarters in the second and the third grade?!

Whatever they tell you...you just start finding the gifts and nurturing the gifts.  I am convinced that the balance created by affirming her strengths, working diligently to address the challenges, and mostly collaborating with school teachers have resulted in a child who is confident and successfully applying the skills she has to achieve her learning goals. 

Investing in your child is nothing like investing in the stock market.  You know that whatever you pour into your child will yield something - sometimes it's almost imperceptible and you need to closely to see it.  And then, there are times when the growth comes in spurts and it's like a firehose - you can't catch it all.  And then there is the slow, steady growth that bursts forth when you least expect....but it's visble to you and all those around you. 

Social skills: they're coming...went to camp and made a BFF.  Just think, three years ago when she started, she sat on the outskirts of the crowd.  This year, she was getting her own chair and pulling it right into the middle of the group to sit next to her friend.  Some things take time...it took nine months to bake the little cookie.  Didn't we wait patiently then? And even if you didn't wait patiently, there was little you could do to have the cookie pop out of the oven before it was ready.  Seems to be the same thing with these skills that are caught up in the developmental delay.  Delay simply means at a slower pace....not stalled....not missing...just at a slower pace.  But think of all the other things that she can do well beyond the years of her colleagues - her art work is crazy accurate, her singing is on pitch, her ballet skills are growing.  Find the gifts. Nurture the gifts.

There's lots to say as I look back on the last year...so, I'll spend some time, recording the challenges of those in-between years when I felt like I was pouring and looking for gifts and there seemed to be nothing coming back.  Everything that's coming back cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Being patient and persistent are my gift 2 my child.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting to Know You (and Me)

The new school year is always filled with excitement.  This year was no different but it was different.  I decided that we would both get ready for the new teacher.  Having enjoyed a wonderful summer - learning, fun, field trips, pool, pool and more pool, I created a way to ease the transition to the new grade.

For the normally developing child, sharing things about yourself perhaps come easy.  For us, it's sometimes a little more challenging.  She gets shy, withdrawn, and hesitant to speak.  Every new teacher wants to know something about the children in the class so I would I help her conquer that social challenge?

The creative juices are flowing and I decide to make a booklet.  What do I know about making booklets?  I've seen, used, bought (and returned) enough of them to know what IS NOT helpful. 

What an unanticipated success?  She enjoyed working on the booklet...she took it so seriously I was impressed.  She was thoughtful about what she wanted to say about herself.  You never know what's going on in those little heads - she too wanted to be ready for the new teacher.

Booklet completed, I prepared my own "meet my daughter" snapshot.  Again...who knew what a difference it would make.  I took it to school this morning and the teacher was glad to receive the information since she was not overly familiar with the child, obviously, or the needs.  What better way to know the child than to get an intro from the child herself?!

Do you remember how you felt when you started a new class?  Maybe you didn't have the kind of social skill challenges that some Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) children have.  Even as an adult, sometimes meeting a new person, is awkward.  A new teacher means a new beginning not just for the child, but also for the parent.

This year, the transition, for both of us was made easier simply by using the principle - getting to know you, and getting to know me.   Creating a smooth transition is always a gift to my child, to me, and to the teacher.