Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

About that first day

I've gotten emails and phone calls today asking how the first day went for the kids. I'm not really sure what to say and I'm still trying to process it.

Axel's day was good, with nothing happening that wasn't expected.  Tues and Thurs I have to pick him up early to bring him to speech and OT, so I was able to touch base with his teacher "K" for a few minutes. She said that Axel spent most of the day testing every boundary he could think of, and trying to boss all the other kids around. Pretty much what we expected! LOL He did find himself on two time-outs and was a bit miffed by that. Not only does his teacher understand him, and he understands her (and can't pretend he can't!) but she doesn't put up with any crap from him. She is nurturing and fun, and has very clearly defined boundaries.

There is something about the post-institutional child that is important to know. Many (most?) have never learned anything but the most basic of boundaries, and that's if they were in a "good" facility. Axel wasn't for the first 7 1/2 years of his life. When learning to live in a family, or function in school, Axel had no idea what was allowed and what was not. When telling him something like, "If you do x again, you will need to sit." it's the same as telling him it's OK to do it again; that doing it twice is allowed.  Instead he needs to know, by immediate consequences the very first time he does something unacceptable, that it's not allowed. To outsiders it probably seems that we're being incredibly strict with him. We are. We're teaching him how to function in a world where kids his age know what's right and wrong. And he's learning. He's learned that he has to behave for both Dean and I. Thankfully his teacher is on the same page and is very used to kids coming in who, due to language barriers in the home (such as a deaf child with hearing parents) they've learned to manipulate their world in unacceptable ways. Axel is a quick study, so I'm hoping he's quick to learn that he has to behave at school and is accountable to Dean and I even when he can't see us. Now, dealing with him bossing everyone around is another issue that I'm sure his teacher is fully capable of handling.

By the time Axel and I got home from ST/OT it was 4:30. (Thursday will be later) Considering he got up at 6:00 this morning made for a very long day. He was in bed for the night by 7:30 with a smile on his face. He was so happy to be back to school and to know he gets to go again tomorrow!

And how was Angela's day? Well that's a good question. I've heard two different stories. I'll keep my comments very basic. Let me just say I can see communication with school, along with a few other things, could be an issue this year. It's going to be a long year and I already want to burry my head in the sand. For people, first impressions are everything, and this can be true of school too.  Having been in the special education system myself for many years, I know that first day of school can't necessarily be used as a gauge for the year to come. I'm hanging onto that thought even though my gut is saying otherwise.

No comments: