Thursday, September 22, 2016

Back To School

No matter how much we wished it wouldn't, school time rolled back around.  There was added anticipation this year with our new aide.  The week before school, they called me and said they hired a new aide they thought was going to be great! We set up a meeting for us all to get together before school started.  We had a good meeting and the first thing that struck me about the new aide, Alex, was that she didn't seem intimidated or worried about any of the stuff we talked about (and we talked a LOT).  So I left the meeting feeling good.  From the time I got the call to the day school started, I ran in to SO MANY PEOPLE that knew Alex.  People knew we were looking for a new aide so they would ask about it.  When I told them her name, every single person that I told started going on and on about how great she was and how much we were going to love her.  All ages, all different ways they knew her, but they all had such wonderful things to say about her.  That made me feel so good and so encouraged going in to what I knew would be a big transition for everyone. The schools in town swapped locations so now the 2-4 grade is in the building where K-2 had been.  That meant Kanyon didn't have to change schools (much to his disappointment) but every single person in the building was new.  There wasn't a soul in the building that had ever worked with him or even seen him at school.  So this new aide had no one to help her or give her a heads up or anything. I felt like it was a bit of a baptism by fire, but she didn't seem phased by it.  Everyone was so excited and so prepared for Kanyon, so we couldn't help but look forward to a new year with lots of new faces.  

Speaking of faces, its hard to hold up a sign and not cover your face.  

Hold the sign. Look at the Camera. Smile.....or just open your mouth.  Its all so tricky. 

It should come as a surprise to zero of you that spazzy sister couldn't help but photo bomb.   

All 3 excited for Kanyon's first day! 

I went to put Kanyon in the car and Quinn ran back inside.  He was taking FOREVER to get to the car, so I went back in the house to yell at him to HURRY UP see what he was doing, and he was folding up this little note.  He put it in Kanyon's lunch box and said, "I'm giving him this because I won't get to talk to him or see him for a long time."  He's such a sweet, tender, thoughtful boy.  (He's also a little overzealous with the periods, but that's OK)

 Kanyon's schedule is tailor made for him.  We have yet to go 5 full days. Its just too much for him. We started out at 11:30-3:00 then we added an hour last semester so now we start at 10:30. The plan is to add to his day as he's ready.  The flexibility also allows us to do his swimming therapy Tues/Thurs mornings before school which gets him off to a nice, regulated start and it is 2 less days I have to go to therapy after school!  Anyways, I say all that to say that the day is already in full swing by the time we get there.  
Hurrican Kanyon made landfall at school and EVERYONE was there! The principal, the secretary, his Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, and all of his teachers were at the door waiting.  In true Kanyon fashion, he blew through the door and starting chatting with everyone in sight.  We were so happy to get such a warm welcome!

They say it takes a village to raise a kid.  I say it takes a metropolitan area to raise a Kanyon.  
Here are the 3 main citizens of his large metropolitan area: 
Ms. Murphy is the Special Education teacher, his case worker, and for the most part, the one in charge of all decisions, planning, and everything else regarding Kanyon.  He's no joke when it comes to paper work, goals, meetings, and just over all complicated-ness but she hasn't batted an eye and has helped the transition to be smooth and easy.  

Mrs. Udelhoven is his classroom teacher.  She's got 20 other kids that she deals with, but she graciously welcomed Kanyon into the classroom and has made it a great place for him to be.  She's creative, active, and excited about teaching so this will mean only great things for us as we start 3rd grade! I sometimes worry about her. I remember what it was like to be a classroom teacher and how overwhelming it can be at times and then here I come dumping Kanyon in there on top of everything else, so I try to protect her sanity and be realistic about what is best for her, Kanyon, and the other kids.  Its sort of a balancing act, but she too has made it all look easy. 

And this is Mrs. Alex.  The new aide!!!  I don't know how much they pay her but I know its not enough.  She is with Kanyon every minute of the day. She carries out his daily schedule which is quite hectic and busy.  She manages all of the transitions, helps him eat lunch, goes to the playground with him, spends one on one academic time with him, and even changes his diaper y'all. Just the physical toll of handling him and helping him is enough to tire most people out.  Good thing she's young!  She feels like God led her to this job and we are thankful to have her and know that she followed God here.  Again, we see God's faithfulness.  So far, things have gone really well with Alex.  They seem to be adjusting to each other well and she has great ideas to help situations that are tricky.  Managing Kanyon's emotional state is the hardest gig there is and a day is full of ups and downs. She has navigated them well and even generously leaves her hair down so that Kanyon can play with it when he wants to.  Ha! She gives me great updates every day and I expect this will be great relationship.  Though we miss Mrs. Shelley (his previous aide) so much, our worries and fears are gone now that we have Mrs. Alex.  Again, God provided.

I feel like I'm supposed to have really strong feelings about inclusion and passionately fight for my kid to get the academic experience he needs.  I don't really have strong feelings about inclusion and I thankfully don't have to fight for anything.  We've always been treated so wonderfully both in Texas and here.  I want Kanyon to be with his peers and I want Kanyon to learn.  Sometimes that looks like him being in the classroom with his peers doing what they're doing, and sometimes that looks like him in his own little tiny closet room working one on one with his aide or Special Ed teacher on academic goals that are at his level.  I feel good about this and think its the best thing for Kanyon. As he figures out how to navigate his emotions, frustrations, disappointments, and excitement, I think it will open doors to more time in the classroom with his peers.  Until then, I think is best of everyone that he's not in there all day long.  It takes a lot out of him to sit and concentrate on work, and he does best when he's got less distractions. As of now, he spends Science/Social Studies and part of the reading block, Music, P.E., Library, and Lunch with his peers.  The rest of his day he has his other therapies, adaptive P.E. at a different school, time with Mrs. Murphy, and one on one time with Mrs. Alex in his little room.   I'm so glad we are working with teachers and schools that are more than willing to do what it takes to make this work for him and we look forward to more learning. Its just so fun to watch! Every kid in town knows could you not?! We hit the scene with a shiny green walker.  While the walker has been traded for a shiny new blue crutch, there's still only one Kanyon.  He has a hard time keeping up with names and stuff, but kids are sure sweet to come talk to him when we see them in town.  I talked to his class again this year about Kanyon and answered any questions they might have.  By now, most kids know the story, they know him, and are pretty used to having him around. We went to a movie a few weeks ago and we walked in after the previews had started.  Kanyon immediately said something too loud, I "shushed" him and we made our way down the isle.  I sort of laughed to myself "Well, everyone knows Kanyon is here!" and about that time I saw a shadow come running across a row and I heard a little boy say "Hey Kanyon! I'm here too!" It was pretty sweet that the boy recognized Kanyon's voice and was so excited to see him.  

Alex sometimes sends me pictures during the day.  He's working as hard as he can!  

We got Kanyon all settled in the last week of August, then the next week Quinn started.  I decided to homeschool one more year.  I have a lot of reasons and no reasons all at the same time.  Which means if I tried to explain myself it would be a lot of words and a lot of confusion.  But at the end of the day, I just wanted one more year.  I was excited to get started and make a few changes from last year and move forward with some things we enjoyed. He of course wanted a sign for his first day! 

Here we go with another year of school!!!  

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