Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The first eight days

The 1st week of school was pretty good, a few aggressive actions toward her peers but nothing like we were seeing last year. This week (so far) has been the best 3 days she has had in 2 years. Her behavior is improving greatly. Her teacher this is very fair and very calm. It’s making a huge difference. There is no yelling in the classroom, you can tell she is building her up, not tearing her down.
She comes home happy and she loves to talk about her day. Seeing the way she is acting so far this year about school shows me last year was a horrible experience for her. One she did not want to talk about. I already have an IEP (individual education plan) meeting next week to talk with all staff dealing with Hannah on a weekly basis, so we are all the same page and we are doing what is best for her…. This school is really impressing me. (I know it’s been a week and 3 days, I am not letting my guard down.) However they have done more for Hannah in a week and 3 days than any other school she has been in since preschool. They truly seem to care about Hannah, the way you would expect a special needs teacher to care about her students. The way we though the teacher care about her last year. 

For the first time in a long time I feel like I have finally made a good decision for Hannah. Making decisions for her was becoming very stressful for me …. I was starting to feel “mommy guilt” regardless of the decision I had to make. I felt like I was always failing her, and it was making me very sad. (all the mommies out there know how awful mommy guilt feels) I know I could have never known any of this was going to happen but I still feel like I should have pushed more for her last year, to be placed where I wanted her, but I let them talk me into the school closes to us. I know there are so many “what if’s”, “could haves” and “should haves” but I am starting to see they are going to be a big part of me getting pass this mess and learning from them. I am learning to trust that “mommy gut” so many other wiser mommies’ have told me about. Parenthood doesn’t come with instruction, we learn as we go, but when you have a child with special needs it make the “learning as you go” part that much scarier!!! Looking back just 6 years ago and how naive I was, She was such an easy baby… she was so healthy…. So typical-ish …. I honestly thought it would be no different raising her than it would be to raise a child without special needs…. I am learning VERY quickly I was VERY wrong. There are small details parents of typical children never have to deal with…I am in no way complaining…. I am very thankful for all the lord has a loud me to experience good and bad… it all will make me a better mommy and a better me!!!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

A new begining

As our summer comes to a close we forge ahead in to a new environment, new school, new class, new teacher and new year hopefully optimistic. This summer was also a time of renewal. I took off a third of the summer to work on me, to work through some of the stress and sadness I felt after we started the criminal portion of this journey.  Medically the stress of this situation sent my blood pressure to dangerously high levels. After bring it down and centering myself I was able to take some time to spend with Hannah while I was off. A mini stay-cation on the beach and countless hours in the pool was just what the doctor ordered and I was able to return to work. In the month of July Hannah was a lucky little lady.. she spent countless hours at Nana’s house and had tons of sleepovers, which allowed me to ease back in to working FT and managing a household again. Although this was and still is a craptastic situation, we are finding positives hidden around every corner. The district has been trying to improve things, However there is a lot of work to be done.

 I took Hannah to meet her new teacher this past Friday and she seemed to really enjoy it there, she is showing excitement in returning to school and meeting new friends.I am so glad last year’s experience hasn’t ruined school for her. When we arrived at the new school she was excited to head inside. Once inside she introduced herself and let everyone know she was in 1st grade. (It was very cute and I think she won a few hearts right off the bat.) Once we were instructed where to meet for new student orientation she lead that way, with now fear I might add. She followed the “paw print” to the cafĂ© and took a seat. She sat through a 20 minute introduction and speech from the principal with grace…. It was like I had the old Hannah back, almost made me cry. Once the “talking part” was over they called each teachers name and let us head to the classroom. Once in the classroom Hannah headed straight to the desk with her name on it. She was very proud to sit in “her” seat. She introduced herself once again to everyone in the room and asked for everyone’s name! (she cracks me up) She asked questions and looked around and said “ Mom I like it here! For me it meant the world. Making decisions is not a strong suit of mine, (I second guess myself all the time when it comes to what's best for Hannah,) so when she approved it made by day. I was very impressed with the organizing of the classroom Hannah will be in and my 1st impression of the teacher was a good one. I spoke to her for about 30 minutes on the phone Friday morning filling her in on all the drama, we also spoke about some of the thing I wanted in place for Hannah. By the time we arrived to visit that afternoon she had examples to show me. I have to say it was very refreshing to finally have a teacher who follows through.

 As time passes the hurt and disappointment is fading a bit however I truly don’t think I will ever fully get over it.  I will spend the rest of my life trying to make school a better and safer place for our kids. If we don’t stand up for our kids, who will. I have so many ideas, so many suggestions that it’s hard to write them down fast enough. I’ve always been told the squeaky wheel gets the oil, so I think if I keep talking maybe; just maybe I can help make a difference.  At the beginning of this journey, I couldn’t get past the question “ why did this happen to my daughter?” But as time is passing I am starting slowly see maybe it’s my job to make the district make changes, improve processes ,create new training programs and educate our educators on how to handle our child. A child with a disability is able to achieve the same things as typical children. They are just able as anyone else as long as the people teaching them are willing to teach them way they learn, not the way the teacher wants to teach. The days of teaching out of a book and expecting every child to just get it, is gone! There needs to me more flexibility in teaching styles to accommodate every single child in the district. We are now only hours away from a new school year and a though I feel pretty good about it, I still have to admit I am a little scared.