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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Getting Ready for School

I decided to write this post in response to Kate's question regarding "how do you help children with special needs get ready for school?"  I shared previously under "Luke's needs" and shared about some of my difficulties, but decided to share how we actually get the school year going. You can find Kate's blog by looking for the "Lucy" button on the right hand side of my blog.  If you haven't taken time to read about Lucy I encourage you too.  She is an amazing little girl!

So...getting my crew ready for school.  School has always been a "hot topic" for me.  Making the right decision about WHERE the kids go to school has never been easy for me.  A year and a half ago we switched from private to public school, after realizing I needed more help with Luke's needs. 

Luke has various special needs including childhood onset glaucoma, ADHD, Tourette Syndrome and visual, auditory and visual processing disorders.  Miss Grace has difficulties with speech and reading.  And Bella...well on Friday she has an evaluation with Infant/Toddler Early Intervention to see if she has developmental delays.  This has come as a shock to me and I have had a difficult time wrapping my mind around the fact that Bella may need therapy too.  I do know that whatever may come of the evaluation that God will give me the strength to walk the journey. 

The process really begins in the summer when the nurse sends home a letter outlining Luke's medical conditions and asking if anything has changed.  I make sure to fill it out and return it.  I revisit his IEP and make certain that I am happy with the goals and objectives.  I take him to Casey Eye OHSU to have his eyes checked, and to the regular eye doctor to make sure his prescription doesn't need altering.  I have also taken him to his primary for a medication check.  Lots of appointments :)  I order some more compression shirts from Fun and Function.  They help regulate his sensory systems.  I go to Target to find the only size 10 jeans that Luke can button (he needs snaps which is nearly impossible to find).  Fine motor skills are a struggle.  I reorganize his therapies (OT and counseling) so that he doesn't have to miss school, or as little school as possible. 

When school begins, I will make sure to find out what times his services are being given to him, that he is facing the white board straight on (due to his loss of peripheral vision).  I will also make certain that his accommodations and modifications are available to him during the school day and that his "school" glasses are ready for the year. 

For Grace I will make sure to be in communication with the teacher regarding her reading level and make sure her speech is not a concern in the classroom. 

This year I will return to work as a half-time special education preschool teacher.  So a lot of time and planning have already gone into getting ready for the 7 little special needs preschool students I will have under my wings for the next school year.  It is an interesting place to be where you are the mother to special needs kids and a teacher to special needs kids.  I am so blessed with this new job and look forward to the journey that God has set before me.  I am TRUSTING HIM to grant the kids with exceptional teachers, and give me the STRENGTH and ABILITY to be the MOM my kids need to be and the TEACHER my students need me to be. 

Thanks for reading!  Be Blessed!
Carissa Dahl

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