Wow...it's been over a year since my last blog post...that tells you how exciting our lives have been. But that's ok, boring is good. Like all other stay at home moms (part time or full time), I am doing the BACK TO SCHOOL happy dance. My mind is spinning with all the things I am going to do with my free time 3 days a week! I might go to the gym, I might go shopping, will probably do some DSAMC work, will definitely spend the first few days sitting at Starbucks staring at the walls.
School wise we made a pretty big change for Jake last year & we choose to pull him out of the school district at 6 years old and put him in a private preschool. Didn't know that was a option, did ya? We didn't either. Until the school district tried to pin us in a corner & tell us where Jake would go. They really left us no option as they were not going to "give in" to any of our requests as to how his education was going to happen. Nothing. It was simply a take it or leave it kind of meeting. So we left it.
We were introduced to a AMAZING preschool in our area where Jake was welcomed with open arms, hearts, and minds. There were no issues of his age, no issues that he was not yet potty trained...no issues what so ever. They even offered him a 1 on 1 aid since this was a big change for him & the help was anticipated. The only question that was ever asked was where do we, his parents feel like he will fit in. Jake ended up being in a class of 3-4 year olds, 2 days a week for 2.5 hours. IT WAS THE BEST THING WE EVER DID FOR HIM. We learned so much about him and how he learns, what he needs & doesn't need. Not to say it was all rainbows and sunshine...it was a new experience & it had it's bumps in the road, life always will...but it was a amazing year. With that said, we decided to do it again this year. Today we went to his new class room, met some new friends, said hi to some old friends, and took a deep breath. Last year I at this time I had so many emotions running thru me, I thought I was going to explode. I was so angry with the school district, so excited to find a alternative, so filled with love that they genuinely wanted him there, and so anxious that I had no idea how it was going to work out. This year, completely different story. 2 emotions...excitement & joy. I am so excited for Jake...I feel big things are going to come our way this year. It's our year of bumping up last years game to get us ready for the big leagues. Besides the prep & the therapy and all the educational parts of school, this is the year that I start building the foundation for the friendship, the true, life long friendships that Jake will have. This is the year that we will invite HIS friends from school & outside of school to his birthday party. This is the year that we will become more social without the fear of parents & kids not "getting" Jake. This is the year that it's gonna get real.
So, what prompted this post (1.5 years since the last)...Jake's birthday & his new class. Jake will turn 7 in a few weeks & I want his classmates to come (I also invited a few of his classmates from last year). It's most likely that his new classmates would not come, because they don't know him yet & lets face it...our situation is a little different. We tend to fear the unknown & Down syndrome is still pretty unknown, unless it's part of your life. So I feel like I need to step up my parent game and do something about it. So I decided to write a letter to the parents of Jake's classmates. The letter will be in the same envelope as his birthday party invitation. Here is our letter:
Sonia (Jake's speech therapist in the school district): YOU ROCK. When we felt completely let down by the school district you came into our lives. It is so obvious you love what you do and the people you work with. We want you to know that we recognize how above & beyond you go for your students, & we appreciate you.
Patty P. & Krista (Jake's teacher & aid last year): Like Sonia, YOU ROCK. You two will never know how much you lifted our family up by loving & accepting Jake. More than his teachers, you became our friends & helped us realize that there is ALWAYS a alternative. You are appreciated.
Patty G. & Emily (Jake's teacher & aid this year): I have complete faith that you guys too...ROCK! ;) As you can tell from this very wordy post, I am excited & grateful for everything you guys are doing for Jake & our family this year. We look forward to amazing things! You are appreciated.
KidSPOT crew (Jake's PT/OT & Speech therapist outside of RSD): You guys know YOU ROCK, but just in case you forgot...YOU ROCK. You guys have been with Jake longer than anyone (& you still let us come back every week). We don't see you guys as "Jake's therapists"...we see you as our friends, who happen to be awesome therapists. Jennifer, when Jake pops his "tude" with you, it's because he loves you! ;) We appreciate ALL of you!
So, put ALL of these people together in 1 little boys life & watch out! Good things are happening friends!