Category Archives: school

Back to School

This past week, Taylor started back to school.  She is in 2nd grade now! 

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She was really excited to go back, even though she had just completed summer school at the end of August.  Her summer school schedule was 4 half days a week for six weeks .  So basically, it was “school light”.  I think she’s happy to be back to her normal routine.  She had a great week and I’m sure she’ll charge into next week with no problems at all.

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Unfortunately, I did find out that the teacher that Taylor has had for the last year will be leaving the school to take a position at the school that her child attends.  While I am happy for her, I am sad to lose her as Taylor’s teacher.  Taylor has responded so well to her.  I am positive that her replacement will do just as well as her current teacher.  We will miss you Mrs. H.! 

Tomorrow begins week 2.  It’s a full week, but I’m sure it will be a fun one!

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Filed under autism, school, Taylor

Back on Track

 

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I’ve got a happy girl on my hands.  It’s a wonderful feeling.

After 3 weeks of “trying things out” at her old school, it was decided that she was doing so well, that we’d send her back.

She started back at the beginning of April.  She’s halfway through her 5th week and it’s like she never left.

There’s no more talk of “regression” or “unwilling to work” or “won’t participate”.  All we hear now is “doing so well”  and “having so much fun” and “progressing beautifully”.

She’s still got a long way to go, but in the last 5 weeks she’s done more academically than she ever did at her other school.

I knew she hadn’t regressed.

She just needed to be in a different environment.  The right environment for her.

My only regret is that we didn’t stand our ground when we were making arrangements for her kindergarten last year.

We wanted her to stay in that school, but were told we couldn’t because of “protocol”.

We did what we were told we had to do and it blew up in all of our faces.

I’m glad we were able to make the change mid year, but it still doesn’t bring back the 6 months we she lost.

Because in the end it’s all about her and what is right/best for her. 

I finally feel that we are doing what is right.

We are where we are supposed to be.

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A Rough Road

I was really hoping to do an update post saying that despite the rough start, Taylor is now fully adjusted to Kindergarten.

It’s just not happening.

Things are going so poorly, in fact,  that we are going to try moving her back to her old school.

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Ironically, when we were considering Taylor’s kindergarten options, we were told that she could stay at that school.  Then we were told she had to go to the school in our community.

No problem there, because the school system and their autism program are wonderful.

But, unfortunately, all the changes (read: new school, new people, new schedule) are proving to be more than she can handle.

Now, here we are, more than halfway through the school year, and now we are looking at sending her back.

This time around we’re going about it slowly.  She is going to visit her potential new classroom every Thursday (in the afternoon, she’s already in that building in the morning for swim and gym) for the month of March.

I am a bit apprehensive, though.

This apprehension is not something I’m holding back, I’ve fully voiced it with her teachers and therapists.

I’m all for Taylor going back to her old school, if she adjusts well.  But the thing is, this is the last school year that that school will be open.  Another school is being built to replace this school.  It opens this fall.

So, come September, she would be starting in another new building.  Same people/teachers, but new building.

Therein lies my apprehension.

We already dumped her in one new building, with new people and we know how badly that turned out.

I just don’t want to move her, only to move her again  and have her really shut down.

*sigh*

Sometimes I feel that I am so totally not cut out for this.

That’s when I step back, take a deep breath, and think to myself  “Everything happens for a reason.”

I just wish I knew what the reason was.

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Struggling

Taylor has been in Kindergarten for a little over 2 months now and I would be lying if I told you she’s doing wonderfully.

The fact is, she’s struggling, and it shows.

She loves going to school, but to her it’s a game.  She enjoys her day, but when it comes to doing any “work” and participating in things like gym she outright refuses.

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I was so sure she’d transition into this new school well.  Not seamlessly, but well.  She usually does so well with big transitions…until now, that is.

It almost seems like she has regressed.

Regressed.

I hate that word.  It sucks.

Her teachers and therapists don’t really think she’s regressed, but they do think she’s “protecting” herself.  In other words, she’s built up another wall and she’s hiding behind it.

I say “another” because it seems like there are many walls around her.  I wish we could break them down all at once, but this is a process, and a lengthy one at that.

So, we are pushing on day by day.  She has her good days and her not so good days.  I should mention that when she has a bad day that Taylor is not necessarily bad.  She will just refuse to work, but smile and laugh about it.  Have I ever mentioned that she’s really a happy kid??  

I’m glad she’s not “really bad” like destructive and stuff like that.  That is definitely a relief.  =)

Doug and I are disappointed by this turn of events because we had (and still do have) high hopes that Kindergarten would really be a big turning point in Taylor’s life.  We are trying to be optimistic, though.  Hopefully, it won’t be long until things improve.

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Two Weeks & Counting

Last week Taylor finished her summer classes.  In doing so, she wrapped up her 3 and a half year stint at her school.  Which means:  Taylor’s starting KINDERGARTEN!

On September 8th, she will offically be a kindergartener.  I’m really excited for her.  Not only does she get to go to a new school (which is a lot closer to home), but she will get to go full days!  I’m not sure how we’ll handle it (I’m sure she’ll do better than me…she LOVES school!), it’s going to be a huge transition.  But I really have no doubt that things will be great!

My little girl is growing up!  [Sniff!]

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Big Changes in Store for Taylor

A while back, I promised a huge update on Taylor’s schooling.  I’ve been meaning to write this post for ages, but I’ve been distracted with other things.

No matter, now…on with the update!

Starting in January, right after Christmas break, Taylor will be moving to a new classroom!

There are many reasons for this move:

  • Come July, she will be too old for her current classroom.
  • This new classroom is a pre-kindergarten classroom, so this will be her transition stage between  “preschool” and kindergarten.
  • She’s ready for new and exciting things!

Doug and I met with her teachers and therapists (speech and occupational) last month, and decided that she is definitely ready for this move.  She is doing so well where she’s at, but now the focus is on readying her for kindergarten.

Lots of things are taking place, even now, to ready her for the move to the Group Skills class.  Starting today, she’ll start visiting the new room  (which is right next door to her current room) everyday to familiarize herself with the new room and teachers.  Fortunately, she knows the other students (there’s only 4) because they all used to be in the same room that Taylor’s in now.

As it gets closer to Christmas break, her daily time in the new room will increase.  Then, she’ll start in the new room in January.

Doug and I are so excited for Taylor.  She’s worked incredibly hard for the last three years and we are happy to see her progressing so much.

So, how does the GS class differ from her current class (Discrete Trial)?

  • In her EECD classroom, the children work one on one with practicum students from Western Michigan University. A group of 5 teachers/paraprofessionals oversee the workings of the entire classroom.  She has been learning skills such as matching, identifying objects, identifying actions, communication, manipulating objects, and imitation (plus loads more!).  She has gym, speech, occupational therapy and music weekly.
  • In the GS class, there will only be 5 (but can be up to 7) students, 1 teacher, and 2 paraprofessionals.  It is more of a preschool or kindergarten setting.  She will be learning skills such as identifying herself (matching a photo of herself to her name), weather, calendar, and learning how to do art projects (plus loads more, I’m sure!).  She will continue to participate in gym, occupational therapy, speech and music in addition to weekly pool time (how lucky is she?).

This move to the GS class is setting the stage for her move to kindergarten, which will happen next fall.  We have the option of keeping her at her current school for kindergarten (where she’ll have the opportunity to attend full day classes, right now she just goes half days) or sending her to my town’s public school.  Our public school has a K-12 autism program that is a satellite program of Taylor’s current school.  The only drawback is that she’ll most likely have to attend half day, because our school does not do full day kindergarten.

I, personally, would like to have her in full day school.  It’s not like we’d be throwing her into something she can’t handle.  She’s been attending school since she was 2 1/2.  I know she’s ready.  Besides, it will only benefit her in the end.  She’d be receiving 6 hours of school a day instead of 3.  It would double her weekly schooling from 15 to 30 hours a week.  The only drawback to that is that I would miss her terribly!  😦

So, If we choose to keep her at her current school another year, she’ll start 1st grade in the fall of 10 2010 (10 just didn’t look or sound right) at our public school.

As excited as I am for her, I’m also a little nervous.  This is a lot of change for her.  Autistic children are noted for not liking a lot of change.  Although, I think Taylor breaks the stereotype when it comes to change.  Her (mostly) easygoing nature makes most transitions (almost) flawless. 

I hope the same goes for her new adventure.  🙂

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What’s New With Taylor?

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update on Taylor, so I figured now would be a good time to get you up to date on all her happenings.

The last few months have been going really well.  She seems to be getting more vocal by the day.  And by vocal, I mean loud.  She may not be speaking yet, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have a voice.  The only problem is that she has no sense of volume-control.  She only has one setting and it’s loud.

In my opinion, I would rather have her be loud than quiet.  I love hearing her voice.  Her laughs, her giggles, even the time to time screeching wails.  It’s all good to me.

School is great, as usual.  After almost 2 weeks off at the end of August, she transitioned back to her full week schedule (5 half days instead of 4) almost seamlessly. 

She’s so excited for school every day.  She used to hold my hand when we went down the driveway to the bus, but now she takes off on her own and boards the bus all on her own.  She’s really been showing a lot of independence lately.  It scares me a little, truthfully.  I’ve always babied her a little more that Aaron and Emma, so letting her gain her independence is kind of hard.  But she is 5 now…{sigh}.

Speaking of her being 5, it seems like the minute she turned 5 she started losing her teeth.  Actually, it was more like 5 days (really, it was!) but you get the picture, right?

She now has lost both of her bottom front teeth and they have been replaced with her adult teeth which look really out of place in her mouth.  I think it’s because her baby teeth are so small.  Especially her top teeth.  They are almost non-existent!

Next month is Taylor’s yearly IEP and tri-yearly MET.  Doug and I are anxious for the results of the MET.  This was the evaluation that gave us her autism diagnosis.  It’s given every three years to see how much progress has been made in special education.  This will be her her first re-evaluation since her diagnosis (3 years already!). 

I will definitely make sure to do another major update after the evaluation.  🙂

So that’s about it for now.  I’ll try to do better with my updates and I’ll definitely keep the photos coming.  I know y’all love pictures of my girl!!  🙂

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