In September I was terrified of Bridget entering kindergarten and transitioning from the Spinnaker program to a new self-contained special education classroom. Even though I knew the special education teacher for years, leaving the sanctuary of Spinnaker was heart wrenching.
I knew I was over-reacting and worrying for nothing. However loud the brain is shouting, the heart beat of panic is louder. Six months later I am happy to report that not only are we surviving kindergarten, Bridget is thriving.
The program her teacher has designed has given Bridget the tools for tremendous growth. Her sensory issues are almost non-existent. She has had a language explosion that I never dreamed could happen. We still struggle with getting Bridget to answer questions, there are still moments of extreme frustration. And then miracles happen.
I am getting ready to leave the house. In September I would have said: Bye Bridget, I love you. She would look at me and smile. Six months later I was leaving the house. I said: Bye Bridget I love you. She replied.
She replied, “Bye Mom, I love you”.
I finally after seven years of waiting, heard that milestone of my child telling me she loved me.
February 19th was an incredible day.
And it is a direct result of a school system that invests in their special education programs. Rather than having a one-size fits all mentality, they created a classroom that allows for individual success. They have allowed the teachers and ESPs to think outside the box, heck they created a whole new box.
The Special Education team worked with the school administration and arranged a field trip to the high school pool. Bridget has been in hydrotherapy for 6 years and in adaptive swim lessons for two. I know that the pool has been beneficial for building her muscles and assisting her sensory processing disorder.
I had no idea that it would affect her language.
Her teacher, thinking out of that box, took time on her vacation to create a video montage of the experience. On her own time and effort, she sent it to the parents. Here is Bridget’s reaction:
This child who cannot tell me about her day, now had total recall of the pool. We could stop the video and she could say: Miss Wendy jumped in the pool. Something that wasn’t even pictured! She could point to Tyler, and say “my friend”. This was the third time watching the video. The more she watches the video, the more details emerge.
Thank you to everyone who gave us this moment.
These moments are so important to a parent of a child with special needs. We need these moments to carry us through when life is sometimes so difficult and frustrating. Our children needs these moments as well. They need to shine and be given the opportunity to succeed. They need to make friends and be able to tell us about their day.
I am so very lucky to have Bridget enrolled in a school system that allows every child to have their moment.