Thursday, 2 February 2012

It's Been a Great Start To The School Year

I was nervous about Cameron's first day of school this year which was unusual but I think understandable. This year was completely different to the previous thirteen years. This year for the first year I knew what my son needed from his teacher and I was so worried that his teacher wouldn't be able to adapt his program for Cameron's needs.

When you look back over Cameron's school life he has achieved very little. His IEP's (Individual Education Plan) haven't really changed over the years and really school was about socialization for Cam. Even the excursions to develop skills weren't essential because Cameron is always out and about with us and knows how to behave in public he just hasn't developed the independence skills.

Occasionally I've made requests during IEP meetings, such as please don't put ripping or scrunching of paper into the plan anymore he is ripping everything up at home or please don't timetable Cameron's toileting - he's not getting it and it's placing a lot of pressure on us all. We've been open to suggestions and new ideas but in reality - we just haven't progressed. School is a great social event for Cameron.

Yesterday for the first time I was able to sit down and confidently explain what has happened to Cameron over the last four months and discuss what Cameron needs to be able to continue his development. It was with huge relief that I heard Cameron's teacher agree that Cameron needed to have the program adapted to his needs and that we needed to plan for developmental appropriateness not age appropriateness.

Cameron will be able to use his iPad at school with the communication app we've found so he can make choices and attend the Institute during school hours so he isn't going in the afternoon or evening when he is tired. Cameron's teacher loves iPads which is convenient since so does Cameron.

It's going to be a collaborative effort with meetings needing to be organized so the teacher can meet the Institute and the speech therapist meet the teacher. It's very exciting and it feels so supportive with everyone on the same page and wanting to co-operate.

It's been a great start and hopefully it will all run smoothly and continue.

Mind you as we all walked home today, as we have for the last four years, My Little Angel and I discussed our new plans and how much our school week is changing. It's made me feel a bit sad to think we won't be all walking home and to school together like we have and I'm going to miss it. MLA is growing up and becoming very independent which is very handy at this point in our lives.

And as a side note -  today for the first time Cameron walked home independently beside us, he didn't charge off like a rampaging elephant threatening to fall flat on his face or walk with his hand tightly entwined in mine. Instead he walked along independently figuring out how his umbrella worked and getting wet. Life really is changing. :)