At that time he was struggling in his inclusion class and with "ongoing attention, hyperarousal and 'excitability' issues." Since he started the Orange room (ABA classroom) in January, he has new on- to-one aides who have received special trainging, and he is in absolute LOVE with his 'primary' aide Kayla! LOOOOVE. I will for now and evermore request all his aides be adorable women. Owen is so superficial that way.
O continues to participate in both his inclusion class (Green Room) AND his 'old' special education room (Yellow Room). So yes, he visits 3 classes during the day (usually for circle times) and returns to the Orange room for school work. He's a social little guy and enjoys hanging out with all his friends and teachers throughout the day, in addition to going to his treatment services (and visiting all those hot ladies) and doing work in his cubby in the Orange room.
He has binder that travels with him and his whole day is extensively detailed in it. We knew that he had been doing well, both because of the binder and monthly meetings with his Orange room lead teacher and other staff. In school speak, he had been 'coming along' and 'progressing nicely' - although he "continues to have ongoing issues at transitions times" (of course, he has a million transitions during during the day and is often leaving friends to go off and 'work' somewhere - so his 'issues' are more about his refusal to leave his friends. Can't blame him). I wasn't dreading this year's IEP - same staff, same school, same services, one more year to 'breathe' before I have to train his next staff at a new school.
This was the first IEP meeting where I cried tears of joy. His inclusion teacher called him "the mayor of the classroom." He both likes and is liked by ALL the other kids in his inclusion class, and yes, even the typical kids! (Side note - Owen attended his first friend birthday party - a student from the inclusion room. At the party their were all 'kinds' of kids there, about 30 kids in total, and Owen was just treated...like Owen. Like normal. Except apparently his friend Liam INSISTED both parents come over and meet Owen. So, I'd say more like the rock star treatment. Per usual. You should see how he owns both our local coffee shop and the young cute girls that work there - he had one sitting with us at our table instead of working last time we were there).
The school staff has noticed how well O does with 'peer role models' and want to increase his time in the inclusion class room - great news! He is meeting all his IEP goals - improving both fine and gross motor skills, but also learning 'school' stuff like counting and colors. As a kid with developmental delays, he is obviously 'overall delayed' in all areas - cognition, speech, motor skills. However, ongoing regular progress and goal achievement is music to a mom's ears.
He still struggles with speech - I can compare his difficulty with motor production similar to a stroke victims - he knows what he wants to say, but he can't get his brain to move his mouth the ways it needs to move to make the right sounds. For most children that is automatic, for O, not so much. He has to learn. He does have a 'decent' vocab, particularly enjoying the words "DAD" "YES" "NO" and "BYE" frequently, loudly, and often. Which really, what more do you need? But he also has more words and tons of signs, so that is still a work in progress and hopefully our MIND visit research study will also help.
As each staff member spoke during the meeting - his physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, ABA lead teacher - it was obvious their clear affection for Owen. As a professional working in a child focused field, I can tell when other professionals 'enjoy' their jobs, and I can tell that Owen has captured their hearts. Such a relief to know your child is with people who care.
All of the kids and staff in both the inclusion class and special need classes also use a sign language signs for each of their names - and for O's, they use the letter O in a smile movement over the mouth. Perfect. : )
Later that same week, Bridget won a school award for "Honesty" and when I talked to her teacher later that week, her teacher told me "Listen, I want you to know Bridget is doing GREAT. We are testing their reading levels right now and she tested off the charts, way beyond first grade."
Yay!! Exhale again.
AND....this Easter, O seemed excited as we described the bunny and candy and gifts he would be receiving. Although almost 4, he still doesn't quite understand the whole concept of the Easter and the bunny deliveries. The concepts he does understand? CANDY AND PRESENTS!! His face opening up his Easter basket was priceless.
|Socks! I love socks!|
|Sweet! Tub letters! I love bathing!|
|Future Project Runway Contestant|
Often (always?) Bridget is typically a 'third parent' to Owen - and to be completely honest, she's also his speech/ot/pt/teacher all rolled into one. She's constantly guiding, teaching, showing, having him 'repeat' what she says and what she does, and she can get him to do anything or go anywhere - "C'MON OWEN" she hollers and he will follow (this can be both a bad and good thing!). I've reluctantly accepted that is part of her nature and will probably always be a part of their relationship, at the same time I don't want her to feel RESPONSIBLE for him. I always say "It's not your job! Who's job is it to take care of Owen?"
Easter morning as I was reminding O to go upstairs and use the potty, B jumps in "Yeah Owie, you can get a candyyyyy if you go in the pottttty! Go! Go ahead!" and talking over me loudly.
We then had a discussion about the difference between a mommy and a sister. It's starting to be a tough thing to differentiate, believe it or not. She's a 'big kid' and he's still a 'baby' (toddler-ish). She changes the channel to a show he likes when they are watching tv together, she gets him a bowl of snacks along with herself, she'll pour him a drink and snuggle with him on the chair. She's a great big sister. But we talked about what my job is, and what her job is. At one point during our discussion, she looked at me and exclaimed with wide eyes "But Mommy, Owen is my BEST FRIEND!"
It's funny how a heart can fill and break at the same time. So thrilled she feels that way about him, I hope she always does - I just fear for a day that she may start to look at him differently. Within months they will not be 6 and 3, but 7 and 4. Ugh. They are both still so young and innocent and loving, at these perfect ages. I just want to freeze and keep them this way forever, immune to the judging eyes of our society and the self consciousness that brings.
But hey, at least the kids are doing great, right? That's what is most important.
At least the kids are alright.