Today marks the end of the first two weeks of Kindergarten. His teacher says he’s doing well and trying really hard and he seems to really enjoy it. His teacher has years of experience teaching grades 1-3 this is her first time teaching Kindergarten but I liked what she said during curriculum night. She knows what is required for a successful first grader so she will make sure when the year ends they are ready for that. She told me she has special education training so it seems a great fit for Bilal to be in her class. She has created a website that she updates regularly and she is always sending out emails with news and requests. In the middle of the first week Bilal suffered a stomach upset, says he wants to throw up we said it could be motion sickness from eye exhaustion or the beginning of a cold. She said she’ll let him rest a bit and if he’s not any better we should pick him up, he was soon fine and spent the rest of the day at school. That evening she called and checked on how he was and updated me on his progress, she said he was doing really well and trying really hard, that he has trouble staying seated but that she doesn’t mind herself. She said writing is the most difficult for him but that OT and his special instruction should help with that. I really fell in love with her then, and really looking forward to the rest of the year working with her with helping Bilal. I’m trying out some volunteer positions in his class keep me better updated with his progress and what he’s learning. I volunteered to be a mystery reader, show up without the class knowing who it is and read them a story, wasn’t really interested at first but when I saw another mother with a heavy accent volunteer I thought why not. I volunteered for the Scarecrow Festival but we’ve yet to do anything.
Bilal at first only talked about the difference between pre-k and kindergarten about the bigger class, about recess, PE, the cafeteria, the school bus. He particularly enjoys waiting at the bus stop and getting on with the other kids and walking the bit from the stop till the house. He made friends with a first grader on his bus who is most probably only a couple months older than Bilal. He’s mentioned a few games he’s played during PE or recess. So far it looks like attending a typical class is the best fit for him inshaAllah. We should have an IEP meeting soon to update goals and include his vision problems, looking forward to a great year.
Change is difficult on everyone but even more for a child with autism. Last week I got news about major changes for Bilal. First his school’s principal called me saying that his special Ed pre-K teacher has been gone for 2 weeks and it turns out she wont be coming back and they were in the process of going through resumes and then interviews and if I had any questions I could call in at any time. Of course the question I wanted to ask but cant is why is Ms. Megan leaving? she seemed so good, she knew all her students’ names and their siblings’ name, she was with them from the very beginning of the year (3 months), knows where they started and what they’ve achieved and their progress and all that, the class assistants are still there and arent going anywhere and their role will be crucial when the new teacher is hired. Bilal loves one of the TAs and I dont think he will be devastated or anything like that about his missing teacher but I really hope the new teacher “gets” them quickly and helps them progress further.
The other change is his OT therapist is leaving as well. Last week the therapy center had to change office locations, the previous site had roofing problems over the adminstrative office area, not the therapy area and they didnt have proper heating and with winter coming in it would be a problem, so they moved to another office, smaller but cleaner only a half mile down the road, so that in itself is a change, but they’re using the same gym equipment so most children arent having any problems. The sad bit is after his first session there, I asked his therapist for a tour of the new area and when we were done she walked me to the car and told me that she hasnt told anyone else yet but she took a job closer to where she lives, she commutes an hour everyday, she’s always told me that she loves Bilal and he’s one of his favorites and if I ever need a babysitter she’d love to help out. I felt near tears as she told me this, Bilal has only 2 more sessions left with her and then we’ll have to figure out what we’ll do, there are several other therapists and I’m sure they’ll get a replacement as well as they are always fully booked I just hope he loves his new therapist whoever she is as much as he loves Mary.
As I was putting Bilal in his car seat I was telling him that I was so sad with all the changes and he gave me a hug and patted me on the head. He’ll be fine I know, he doesn’t have a problem with change much and I’m sure they’ll hire great replacements with the experience and compassion required for such a position. I told his speech therapist about all this and told her she better not be leaving too, and she said she wouldn’t and she would be his constant with all the change going on. I’m relieved about that at least.
I felt near