There were forms for Owen and Kellen. Being excited for this big step, I started with Owen. Name, Birthday, Parent’s Names and Contact information all were filled in quickly. As I got further along, the questions got harder.
With each medical question, the potential scenarios started creeping into my brain. What if he started crying and they couldn’t calm him and he started having breathing issues like he sometimes does? What if the other kids are having crackers at snack and he took one and started eating it? What will we do for feedings? He’ll only be there for 3 hours so shouldn’t need food, but if he’s thirsty from playing outside, he may not be drinking from a cup yet.
I started to think, “is Owen ready for a few hours of school each week?”
Then, I got to the question asking, “What do you want most out of this Early Childhood experience?” The answer was easy,
Owen to have the opportunity to learn from, and play with, his peers.
That question helped me realize that it’s not Owen who needs to get ready for him to go to school. Of course he’s ready. He loves to go to school to drop off and pick up Kellen. When we arrive, Kellen and I go to his locker to get off his coat and boots and Owen crawls into the classroom like he owns the place. He doesn’t interact with the other kids much (as is developmentally appropriate for someone at his level), but he loves to be in a space with other kids and willingly plays with the teachers. Just like most kids, he loves music, playing games, discovering toys and socializing with the teachers. I really believe it; Owen will love school.
Not only is he ready, he will benefit greatly from regular social experience with his peers. The program would have one teacher dedicated to Owen but they will participate in the classroom setting with typical needs children. This 1:1 teacher would be trained on Owen’s specific needs. She probably will have had several students with g-tubes in the past and will be trained in epi-pens and what breathing issues are concerning.
It’s not Owen who may not be ready. It’s me, who needs to get ready to TRUST his care to someone else. It’s me who needs to look at Owen and see how far he’s come and give him the opportunities to continue going further. I need to realize that I won’t always be the best/only person for that role. I need to know he’s ready.
I still have 6-9 months to come to terms with Owen going to school a few hours a week. Applications are due this month, program acceptance is announced in March and Summer Program starts in June and the regular school year starts in September. I’m sure this won’t be the last you hear on the subject, but for today, WE are ready. (Now, we just need a healthy cold and flu season, so there aren’t any big set backs). We also need the school to have open 1:1 spots.© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster