Friday, February 24, 2012

Kindergarten progress

Since we have reached winter break of the 2011-2012 school year, I wanted to include an update on how Diego is doing in school.
A big help for us are the new daily charts that are sent home with his communication notebook.  The staff staples a sheet in the book that details for us what he ate, his bathroom use (doing great!), which class or therapy he had that day, and at least one or two highlights of the day.  It is exactly the type of update I like to see since he is not able to relay all that info to us.  I think back to when I was young and my Dad asked us how school was every day and just saying “good” was not enough.  He wanted details and now I do too.

Diego is actually doing some basic addition and subtraction, writing numbers more clearly and had his first oral presentation just a few weeks ago.  He had to tell the class some of the highlights of a book they read.  From what I understand the teacher prompted him to answer some question about the book they read and he had to use a poster as his guide.  Reading continues to be a challenge as he mixes up some words and usually does not want to do that part of his homework.  The teacher also sent home a really cute CD with all the songs they use in class (days of the week, labeling with the alphabet and so on) to demonstrate just how much he has memorized.

I’ll be the first to admit that all that he has done has exceeded my expectations.  I thought when we met last April to prepare his goals for kindergarten that we had set a realistic standard for him and that he would be challenged.  I look at his paperwork and am delighted to say he is doing all we thought he might do and more!  He’s blowing the standard out of the water and I’m so proud of him… It is a testament to all the work he puts in and how well his teacher is guiding the class. 

As a side note, he now tells me “one secoooond” when I ask him to give me the iPad or my phone (he plays angry birds on my phone now too).  He also uses “whatever” in response to us and although many parents might be bothered we think it’s great as it illustrates just what many other kids his age are telling their parents…

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Diego, 2011

In 2011, we witnessed some important progress as well as some major milestones for Diego.  He graduated from preschool in June, was enrolled in kindergarten in September and by the end of December had shown just how much he was learning in his new school program.  Despite a rather ominous start to his elementary-level education (a negative encounter we had with a school official at his Turning 5 meeting) we were both relieved and impressed to witness the effort by his teacher, aides and therapists.  This year’s teacher has done well with handling his transition issues and has made us feel comfortable with his placement.

So what has he been working on?  I included some shots of him practicing his handwriting (Handwriting without Tears worksheets!) and counting since I happened to be home for a few days at the end of the year while he did his homework.  It’s funny because I don’t remember having homework in kindergarten but we feel the continuation of the lesson at home is always helpful.  Also, you can see a shot of his newest PT / OT toy, his safety trampoline (handlebar attached) where he practices his jumping to a workout video… 

Adding his name at the top

The Buzz toy helps him think

Go Diego!

I sometimes refer to Diego and his younger brother (now 2.5 years old) as the Bash Brothers.  They will quickly go from playing together to fighting and then right back to laughing within minutes.  Just yesterday, after I intervened during one of their fights I decided to bring the little guy downstairs since they weren’t getting along.  As I carried him down he shouted “Bye Diego…I love you!” Their pretend play is really helping Diego practice some of the work he does during his group speech therapy sessions.

I know as we move forward and start preparing for his yearly IEP review in the spring that last year’s experience will only serve to help us as we continue to advocate for Diego.  All of his work and playtime at home that I described has made a really big impression on me.  I browse through his current IEP and see that he has already met and exceeded a lot of his goals.  He consistently surprises us with comments or some new skill or habit.  There is no limit to his potential and now we have to make sure we do not get in his way…