Thursday, September 24, 2015

To the moms of the children with special needs in my daughter's class

     As my daughter started kindergarten this year and my work schedule was graciously reduced per my request after having my son, I decided to become co-room mom.  (I do not recommend this, it is WAY more work than you would think!).  There are two boys with special needs who are in the class and do some work outside the class with the special education department.  Research has shown that the more a child with special needs stays in the classroom with his or her peers, the better.  Several of the parents I have met through the Down Syndrome Association talk about how they sometimes have to advocate to get their children into the classroom with their peers.  
     The other room mom and I are doing monthly crafts and we recently did our first one--an apple sun catcher.  I volunteered along with 4 other parents.  It was very difficult for the 5 of us to maintain control of the classroom.  The kids were everywhere, I am not sure how one teacher manages that many five year olds.  As the craft got started, the teacher called down to the special education department and had the two boys come down.  Two assistants came with them and helped them with their projects.  I may not ever get the chance to meet their moms, but if I did, this is what I would say:

I want you to know, I did not overlook your sons.  I was extra kind to them, I called them by name.  I made sure they had their supplies.  I took several pictures of them for the class photo album.  I noticed their empty seats during the curriculum night for the parents.  Maybe you were in the special education department trying to figure things out and going over things?  Maybe you do not consider them a part of the class?  I want you to know moms, I do.  I am pulling for your boys.  I am trying to teach my daughter to be extra kind to them.  I am hoping that she will talk to them, even though she has decided that she does not talk to boys, I am hoping that she will make an exception.  I told her she should talk to them because they may not have as many friends as her because they are not in the class all the time.  I know that I will be in your shoes, moms, in 5 years.  I am hoping someone else's child will be kind to my son.  I am hoping that he will be invited to birthday parties and have someone to sit with at lunch.  I am sorry that I never would have thought much about this until I received my son's diagnosis.  Thank you for leading the way for my son.  
Your room mom

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What makes you different makes you special

As my oldest daughter is starting kindergarten, I've been trying to prepare her for that inevitable day when someone makes fun of her.  I am also aware that some day someone will say something mean to her about her brother.  I came across a post someone made using the phrase "what makes you different makes you special" and I really liked it.  So, I explained to her that since she had straight hair and her sister had curly hair, they were different from each other, but that their hair made them special.  I asked her what was different about her brother.  Her response was that his hair was short like his dad's.  Even now, she still just sees him as her baby brother.
He also has proved us wrong.  The last time his physical therapist saw him she warned me that it would be a while before he began rolling over.  I agreed with her, saying "I know he is no where near rolling over."  The very next day, he got so mad about being on his stomach (which is one of his exercises) that he rolled himself over to his back!!!!  I keep trying unsuccessfully to capture it on video.  He is still not doing it regularly, but he has done it a few times.  He is also cooing quite a bit (usually when I am somewhere that he needs to be quiet), smiling and laughing.