One step closer to kindergarten... you'd think after sending Ayden to preschool for two years I'd be ready for this. It's different though. At least it feels different. I'm not really ready for it, but since when does that matter, right?
Today we had the chance to see Ayden's classrooms and meet his new teachers. Yup..those are plural. If you remember from my IEP posts earlier this year - Ayden is enrolled 1/2 time in a general education classroom and 1/2 time in an ASD room. So, he has two teachers, two classrooms.
Ayden's gen-ed room is by all means your typical kindergarten room. His schedule is setup so a good amount of his time in gen-ed will be in reading groups - where writing and math will be in the ASD room. He will attend all specials, recess, and lunch time with this group as well. His teacher will be a permanent sub until November. I found this out at the end of school last year and I can't lie when I say it rubbed me the wrong way. Putting my child who has issues with transitions and trust into a class where they are already aware the teacher will not be returning until November seems...I dunno....unwise? Certainly not ideal. I came to the conclusion then though that we'd try it. It's a new school and I need to trust they have Ayden's best interests in mind and something made them choose this room and situation for him. I have no reason to doubt anyone there, and hopefully will not. So, we met the teacher today who will be with him until November. She's nice, kind, and Ayden had no adverse reactions to her (or the room for that matter). He said hi to her, shook her hand, and said thank you and good bye when we left with minimal prompting. It was pretty amazing for him. His teacher made the comment to me that she had been researching Fragile X on the internet. I'd say it was the highlight of our visit...but there were totally better things coming.
Ayden's school just added the ASD room this year. New teacher, new room, new program. Only a few things to be nervous about, right?! We received our welcome letter in the mail last week...while I don't have it on me for the exact wording the first paragraph went something like this "Your child will receive a communication notebook that will be sent home every day to keep parents up to date on what is happening at school and school up to date with what is happening at home." The rest of the letter continued in this fashion...so I was expecting I would like her a lot. I wasn't disappointed.
I'm just going to cover highlights here..because there are a lot of amazing things that are so good for Ayden. 1) The school got special permission to paint the room blue. To make it more calming and welcoming. It's ...wow. I love it.
2) While the room wasn't all the way completed, there were visual schedules and PECS cards right inside the door for each child. There's only five kids so they were all in different colors.
3) They are integrating sensory needs of the kids into the actual room. For example: they have these chairs among other things. Very cool.
4) Probably my favorite "perk". Connected to the classroom is an entire sensory room. Swing, trampoline, spinning stuff, ball pit, tubes, exercise balls - you name it. As part of the classroom schedule, the kids are given sensory breaks above and beyond any occupational therapy they have. My jaw may have hit the ground when I saw it.
5) His teacher is awesome. One of the first things she said to us was how she insisted that none of the kids were pulled out of the gen ed room for therapy etc. From the look in her eyes when she was saying it, I think it was a bit of a fight for her to get it that way. I know that wasn't the plan when our IEP happened! She also had been researching Fragile X and seems very much on the same page as we are about what we expect from Ayden.
That's just a piece of what we saw today. I knew we were making the right decision for Ayden moving him into kindergarten, but still had my reservations and I certainly still was second guessing myself. I left today and any reservation I had was gone. Ayden is ready for this, and our team this year, well, color me impressed. It's going to be a good year for him, I can feel it.