Bridget has this super cool friend, Charlie. Charlie is awesome. He walks her to class every day. He watches out for her at parties. Charlie is the boy that if Bridget was a typical second-grader I would be joking with his mom that I hope he stays sweet and takes her to prom one day. Continue reading
When Bridget first entered the integrated preschool, I never thought of friendships. I was worried that she could not keep up. After all, barely off her pediatric walker she had to be taken in her stroller from the classroom to recess. I was more worried about her getting knocked to the ground than I worried about her making friends.
Then she did. It happened naturally without any parental involvement or teacher encouragement.Continue reading
Last week we went to an Open House at Bridget’s school. It was the first Open House that I’ve been to since the disastrous kindergarten play date. I didn’t want to go, but since first grade was so incredible I wanted to make sure Bridget’s second grade is as successful. We entered the school lobby, tried to explain to Bridget why she did not have her backpack and took a deep breath anticipating the sure-to-be-awful-night.
Except the House was Open and Inviting. Continue reading
I understand it has only been half a year. However I want to go on record (and brag) that the combination of Bridget’s special education teacher and (epic) first grade teacher is more than I could ever had hoped. The first grade teacher not only understands inclusion, she “gets” that Bridget isn’t the class pet there to give hugs but to be a part of her classroom. Though Bridget’s hugs are a hot commodity. Continue reading
Tonight is Open House at Bridget’s school. There have been other open houses, but like field trips I have always avoided them. It never made sense, really, to go. After all Bridget spent most of her time in the special education classroom. I had such open communication that I did not feel the need to attend open house. My feeling was that Bridget was the class pet. She came in for a few moments, like a puppy, gave hugs and went back to the special education room when “learning” was happening within the classroom.
It made somewhat sense, at the time. Bridget needed the directed lessons. Bridget cannot write her name, add or recite the alphabet. She is probably a distraction and as she is not learning in the traditional classroom the argument could be made that she be in the special education room. It worked, Bridget’s language exploded and she learned to read sight words.
Hard to argue with success. Continue reading
Tim Teebow’s foundation is doing something many think is quite awesome. His foundation will be sponsoring a prom for children with special needs. The event is being held in 50 different sites throughout the country. I know I should be giving this huge thanks and appreciation but I don’t get it.
Why do children like Bridget need their own prom? Continue reading
Today’s Throw Back Post is from 18-NOV-2013.
Last year I was humbled and so surprised when Boo was invited to another child’s birthday party. I remember writing that she was included, that the children in her classroom see Boo and not a child with a disability. But I worried that she wasn’t really a peer. It ended up being a moot point, as we were unable to attend the party due to a family commitment.
At that time a friend wrote to me and said it so wonderfully that just that day her children, both of them, proclaimed Boo to be their friend. That in children’s minds they are all peers. It really is just us adults that make the mistake of thinking otherwise.
I have remembered those kind words. You see, Boo was invited to another birthday party. Yes, I was kind of worried and spoke to the mom (who is also Boo’s therapist at school) but those words kept coming back to me. I decided to be honest and let her know my fear. That we wanted to attend, but I didn’t want her daughter to be disappointed when Boo, well is Boo. The party was being held at a gymnastics center, there would be obstacles and activities that she just wouldn’t understand. She might become overwhelmed or disruptive. I honestly didn’t want Boo to detract from another little girl’s first ‘for real’ birthday party.
Thankfully, the mom completely understood and reassured me that all would be fine. I’m sure it helped that she works with Boo a couple times a week!
We went and Boo had a great time. Sure, she didn’t participate like the other children. The teenagers running the party had to pay her more attention. They were accepting and kind. I only had to rescue her twice when she got overwhelmed. The older children attending the party made sure she was safe and the youngers ones just ran around her.
But she had fun! She ran around the obstacle course in her own manner. She ate her cupcake (and tried to eat the child’s next to hers). She watched her friend open presents (and tried to steal them). She squealed at the Princess goody cup and stickers. She proclaimed HAPPY DAY and HAPPY CAKE to her friend.
She was a typical kid having fun at a birthday party. And just like that typical kid, she barely stayed awake for the ride home!
I am so thankful that last year a kind friend planted the seed: that adults see the disability not the children. I realized as I was writing this post that four years ago I never imagined this day. THIS day that Boo would be invited to a party not because of inclusion but because of friendship.
A happy day indeed.
At the beginning of the summer we took Bridget to see a Specialist 20 hours away from our home in the hopes to find an answer to Bridgetitis. We had gone on a search for our own Dr. House. We allowed them to perform Exome sequencing, where Bridget’s DNA would be (in layman’s terms since I really am not a scientist) broken down and reviewed by computer strand by strand allows the scientist to discover where the gene may have gone awry.
We got the results. Finally. Continue reading