Friday, September 25, 2009

I pledge...

Is he not the most adorable little boy ever?!


video



I wanted to post this video for 2 reasons:



1. How cool is it that he memorized the Pledge of Allegiance?



2. Aren't kids so funny? He was trying to make a joke by saying "The United States of A-Noah". He was obviously quite pleased with himself over it. Where do they come up with this stuff?!

School revisited

Noah is finishing up his third week of school and things are actually going fairly well. So well, in fact, that I've had time to worry about next year.
Next year Noah will be in Kindergarten. Had he been full term we probably would've held him back a year since mid September is right on the border but he was born 16 weeks early.
As a reward for 7+ months of hospitalizations, a lack of vision, a lack of hearing, major fine and gross motor delays, virtually no feeding skills, and some pretty significant sensory issues we've decided to accellerate his schooling. It doesn't seem quite right to me, but neither does another year of preschool when he's ready academically for Kindergarten now.
Kindergarten is a whole different ball game than preschool. I've been looking at the Kindergarden SOLs for our state and I'm terrified. Absolutely scared out of my mind.
Because I think he can't learn the material? No, I know he can learn it. I'm terrified because I have to trust someone to effectively accomodate Noah's special needs so that he can access the information.
I visited Noah's mainstream class on Tuesday, and I was pleased with what I saw. He was doing the activity well and it actually wasn't as loud as I expected. They made sure Noah sat in the front for circle time, and they had his special scissors right there ready when they were doing a cutting activity. The table that he sat was at the edge of the classroom in a not overly visually stimulating part of the room, but not in such a way that he was isolated. While he didn't attempt to make small talk, the other kids did talk to him and try to include him in their group.
But then the teacher held up the paper so "everyone could see" as she gave the directions. Everyone except for the kid with no peripheral vision that is. According to his IEP he's supposed to get to manipulate all materials, which means he should've either had another copy of the paper to follow along with (ideally) or she should've held it down to reiterate her directions before or after she held it up. I have no doubt that it didn't even occur to her that it was a problem, and I have no doubt that the vision teacher will talk to her and she will always hand Noah his paper before she reads the directions from now on. But I can't always be there for every activity, and I can't think of every possible issue that could come up.
He missed the directions for an activity on Tuesday, but he already knew the information. There is so much in Kindergarten that he doesn't yet know, so missing out on even a small part of the instructional time is huge. He can learn if he can hear it and see it and stay on task and not get overwhelmed or distracted and if he has the background information to understand the concept, but those aren't exactly easy things to overcome. Scary. Terrifying. How many more years of this are there?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

School

One week from today Noah will be going back to school. He is very excited, but I'm a little stressed about the whole thing. I'm not sure what a great placement would look like for Noah, but his current situation is ok. Not great, but adequate. I suspect that some of my concerns are just personality issues with his teacher. She's a wonderful teacher, but we don't always see eye to eye on things.
What I like about Noah's school:
1. vision services - this is the #1 reason that we don't want to change things. His vision teacher is awesome! She's also dual certified in O&M which is a huge plus in our book.
2. related services - PT & OT rocks! It would be nice to have a speech therapist familiar with deaf students, but I have no complaints about his current ST.

What I don't like about Noah's school (the abbreviated version):
1. Lack of communication. Perhaps I was spoiled by working at a private school that expected parental involvement, but it would be nice to know the date/time of class parties before they happened rather than after. The only time the school seems to want to talk to me is when Noah is misbehaving.
2. Discouraged interaction. I would love to be the room mom, to volunteer for things, help out, and get to know the teachers, students, and other parents. I definitely got a vibe that that was not encouraged. Heck, I was told parents weren't allowed in the classrooms at all (the principal mentioned the school's open door policy at an IEP meeting partway through the year or else I'd still think that).
3. Punishment for disabilities. This isn't an overall every day issue, but there have been times when Noah has been put in time out for "not listening" or "not looking". Ummm... yeah. Deaf-blind, anyone? I get that Noah can cause trouble when he wants to, but if he can't hear/see what you're doing he can't listen/look at things. It would just be nice if they verified that before they punish him.
4. Lack of hearing services. Noah's hearing services consist of a (wonderful, which is the only reason it works) teacher of the deaf talking on the phone to Noah's SPED teacher a few times a month. I really wish there was at the very least someone at the school building who could see him in class and point out that he can't hear the teacher when he sits next to the screaming autistic child. He had hearing goals last year, but they weren't worked on until the end because he didn't have direct hearing services and no one wanted to take responsibility for them. Hmmmm....

What I'm nervous about..
1. Noah has a new 1 on 1 aid that has not been trained on his feeding protocols (yet - that's Thursday) and as far as I know can't tell a cochlear implant from a bluetooth headset.
2. Swine flu. Ok, sickness in general. Noah is aversive to soap and I'm not sure that they're particularly keen on pushing the issue. His lungs held their own fairly well this past year, but that was only minor illnesses.
3.Social interaction. Noah loves other kids and he tries sooo hard to play with them, but he doesn't get it right very often. He does have friends, but not at school. He'll be in a regular classroom for part of the day this year, and I'm not sure how that's going to go.