Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Starting Second Grade Already?

He's off! Jake just boarded his bus, bound for second grade, and I'm not gonna lie.  I'm doing the happy dance!  Today is the first day in MONTHS that I've had all to myself. I'm resisting the urge to go back to bed.  I have way too much to do to catch up after an entire summer with kids in tow.

This summer has been amazing though.  After an ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR in which the teacher did nothing.  I kid you not. Nothing.  I'd walk into class and find kids standing on the table, others running around, shelves cleared, and no work being done; Despite countless meetings and discussions with principals and Directors of Special Education, therapists, and everyone I could talk to, Jacob digressed instead of progressed last school year.  There was no inclusion last year.  How could we when he had begun hitting and spitting again? When he was found in the middle of a five-lane road, within feet of an active railroad line, and at a school that borders a highway? I spent most of last year clawing my out of a pit created by a teacher who didn't care about the progress of the kids.

I may have cried when I found out he was getting a new teacher--one he'd had in preschool and is gung-ho about making sure the kiddos have the best education possible.

The second Jacob started Summer break, I went about the business of fixing everything that broke during school.  We went to a developmental neurologist who recommended a book, "1-2-3 Magic" By Dr. Thomas W. Phelan - Because it's 18 months later and we STILL didn't have an ABA provider for Jake. Two days into implementing the book, and we began to see results.  MAJOR results.

He went from flopping and throwing tantrums for thirty minutes at a time, kicking, screaming, spitting, and attempting to bite, to 10 seconds of showing displeasure, then complete compliance.  No drugs (he was diagnoses with ADHD and they wanted to put him on Ritalin). No spankings.  No arguing. No frustration.  He is now manageable. Hallelujah!

He's beginning to talk too.  When he gets made, he'll sign entire sentences to me, which I try not to laugh at. But it's so darn cute to see him scowling as his little hands are gesticulating wildly telling me why he's upset. I love it!  When he speak,s he signs and tries to speak the words at the same time.  Every day he gets a little bit closer to being understandable. And he's gone from saying one syllable of one word, to trying to say two or three words at a time.  It's glorious!

His independence is increasing too.  Last year he wanted me to dress him and make his food. Now he dresses himself, and is beginning to work the microwave to help me fix him simple meals too.  I expect he'll be making his own sandwiches and other foods by the end of the school year.

Plus, there haven't been any elopements in months.  My stress levels are dropping and I'm having opportunities to enjoy my son, rather than just manage him.

Life is good.  Change is good--as long as it's in the right direction.  My little boy is growing up.  Not only physically, but emotionally and cognitively.  I think I'm gonna just sit here on my first day of school and bask in that knowledge for a little while.  Yeah.  Life IS good.

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