Wednesday, June 2, 2010

oh, well, this is just too exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

what a way to start the day!!!! i can't believe we're actually here already; it's like some sort of wonderful dream!! fyi, i'm writing this post in mid-air, because i'm just. that. happy.

although i think, perhaps for the first time in my entire life, the word ELATED is appropriate! and giddy (although that is nothing new, lol). so let's just get to it, shall we?

i got to the school at 9:00 and met the learning support teacher for the primary grades. he seems very nice. and the principal, whom i have met before, joined us, and she was very helpful and informative. and of course, dr b, our awesome awesome awesome paeds, came and brought Trouble with her. (i should clarify: margaret behaved herself. her dog's name is trouble and she is training as a helper dog right now.)

they weren't nearly as terrified by asher as i expected (and semi-hoped... it can be so fun to see people's reactions when they hear "he has half a heart." LOL), as they are used to accomodating special needs kids in the school, which frankly, i think is wonderful. so here's a run-down of the plan:
  • asher will be a hand-off kid, meaning that when he gets off the school bus, blithe will take him directly to his EA or ECE, and he will be taken right inside. we just all agreed that outdoor play would be too chaotic for him, it will be too difficult to keep an eye on him, and the odds of him getting injured are too great. the bus arrives only a couple minutes before the bell, anyway, so he won't miss much there. he also will not be going out onto the playground for recess. he may go out to the front of the school with an adult, a few older kids, and some other special needs kids for some outdoor play. we just can't risk him on the playground with hundreds of other kids with limbs flailing, not looking where they are running or throwing balls and so forth. too many chances for something to go wrong there.
  • he will have a modified phys ed programme. the LST is going to get me the list of activities in the JSK phys ed curriculum, and i will go through it and "ok" the activities that won't endanger asher. we did discuss excusing him from phys ed altogether, but that's not fair to him because he is so active and loves to run and play and be active (we told the LST that asher doesn't know he only has half a heart, and he laughed). when he isn't in gym with his classmates, he will either play some other games in the atrium, or he will go to the computer lab or to the other JSK class.
  • he will be supervised at snack and lunchtimes. we told them that he has some significant nutritional needs right now and we need to make sure that he eats everything that is sent with him. he doesn't gain weight easily because of his heart, so he will be with an adult and another child at nutrition breaks. and since the two JSK classes go outside at opposite times, he can be inside with his class, then when they're outside, he'll join the other class while they eat.
  • he will be assessed by OT, PT and SLP early in the school year. (oh, yeah. you might not know what those are. OT = occupational therapy; PT = physiotherapy; SLP = speech and language pathology). because he has spent so much time in hospitals, with limited activity due to cardiac monitors, he may need some help with his gross motor skills. also, due to frequent admissions, his speech is somewhat delayed. not much, mind you, but some. he speaks perfectly clearly, and if you were to meet him, you would understand everything he says, but his vocabulary and syntax aren't the greatest. he's doing very well, all things considered, but with a little assistance and special attention, he can move past "all things considered" to "hokey doodle, did you hear that 3-year-old quoting shakespeare?!?!" ok, maybe that last part is just a shakespeare-loving mother's dream. LOL but i'm sure he could say, "i'll lug the guts to the other room" without problems. there's hope. teehee
  • every teacher, EA and ECE in the school, including supply teachers, will know asher. his picture and info sheet will be posted in his classroom and in the principal's office by her phone. over his first few days, every teacher in the school will pop into the class to see him so they can identify him. this is purely precaution, since we're all hoping he'll be completely healthy, happy and safe at school, but we are also aware that such may not always be the case. so if he's in the hall and faints or gets dizzy or freaks out or whatever, any teacher who sees him will know right away who he is and what to do.
  • we haven't fully decided when to start him. the original thought was to start him toward the end of the second week, but he will know when school starts and will be desperate to go, so i don't think that will work. we'll probably start him on time, so that he won't be so overwhelmed by so many kids in the class, and he can ease into the transition with fewer kids at the start.
  • the idea behind easing him in is this: since the spring admissions, asher has had some anxiety and fear, so he may not have the easiest time transitioning into something as major as school. don't get me wrong here, he's deliriously excited to be starting school. in the ambulance last week, he was saying to dr b, "i go school now?" and she'd say, "not today, hun, we're going to the hospital," to which he'd reply, "no, i a big boy. i go school now." so he's very, VERY excited about this, but we're concerned about his PTSD kicking in when he's suddenly thrown into a classroom full of people he doesn't know. other than an hour or so every week at sunday school, he's just not used to being around that many kids, so this will be a HUGE adjustment for him.
  • asher will start by going half days, in the mornings. he's very excited about riding the school bus with "blivey and brammy" so he has to do that, but for the first little while, i will pick him up at noon. he's going to get very tired very quickly at school until he adjusts, and he will likely get overwhelmed quickly, too, so yeah. half days for the first while.
  • they suggested some sort of protective vest for asher, to protect his pacemaker. he could wear this whenever he would be doing something that might bump his stomach, like playing outside, phys ed, that sort of thing. so i'm going to have to look into that.
  • i also gave them a heads up that he may need to get a feeding tube in the fall. it's not for sure, and we're doing everything we can to pack some pounds onto him (you should have seen their faces when they heard about the butter and whipped cream diet!), and we're really hoping he doesn't end up needing it, but i thought they should know. so they are going to contact CCAC about that, since that would require nursing care, and i will be keeping them posted on that front over the summer.
so there you have it, folks. the plan for asher starting school. i can't believe this is actually happening!! it's like it's officially official and in september, my littlest man is going to be in school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is SUCH a huge step for him, an incredible milestone, and i don't know who's more excited, him or me! LOL

and yes, for those who are wondering, i will be posting pics on his first day. :D

    1 comment:

    Mom said...

    Sounds like lots of thought has gone into this school plan for Asher. I like the idea of some sort of protective vest for him. It's better to be safe than sorry. As for the photo/info sheet on Asher, I'm sure they'll also have a copy of it (and those of the other SN kids) in the staff room too. That's the usual procedure here. I'm glad too that Blithe is being given some responsibility in taking Asher into the school each morning. This will make her feel very important and that's a good thing!