This Wednesday was the last day of school “first years” for both my daughters. Zoe completed her first year of preschool and Amelia finished her first year of “real” school (kindergartEN). As I drove Amelia home from her last day yesterday, tears in my eyes, I realized how entirely naive I had been about her disability, and how I have reached another level of acceptance right then in that car ride.
In September, I barely noticed the gap between her and her peers. Why were they only scheduling her to count to 30? (She made it to 15, and one to one is still stuck around 5.) Why were they not doing kid writing with her? (She can write most of the letters, some in both cases, but not words yet.) Why weren’t they pushing her spelling skills? (She’s actually pretty good with letters and the alphabet; they solidly taught this to her.)
I’ve been assured that she’s ready for the first grade, but there is a doubt in my heart that they are saying that because we pushed so hard in her August IEP. She is pre-registered for a charter school – full inclusion, first year it’s open – but I’m not sure if it’s not better to put her in an instructional learning situation with her peers.
I’m way too new at this, but there is a part of me that knows she will be ok. I just look at her sometimes, ya know, and marvel at God’s handiwork. Oh Lord, I’m crying as I write this.
Don’t think I don’t feel this same way about Zoe, who made great strides this year. From 2 words, she has what now? 30? Today sitting on my belly she said a new word, “padcake”, which means “pat-a-cake”, which she LOVES. The new TSS is working out lovely, and Amelia today had her evaluation. I brought her and guess what? I LOVED the psychologist. He was AWESOME. He treated her like a kid, even as we discussed the difficulties particular to Down syndrome. Didn’t condescend. Didn’t label (she does NOT have ODD). Didn’t go remotely near anything topic like “medication”. Said even some of her speech patterns were seen in typically developing 6 year olds. Thought she was a regular kid, with some learning difficulties, no biggie.
My hope, my prayer, my fondest wish for my children is that they can grow up in a world where everyone treats them like that. I know, that’s a wish I don’t even get. Everyone on this planet is judged in age, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and a million other things they were born with every day. But I hope that there are times, days, places and people that will give them a breather from that sometimes.
Can I just say how gosh-darn proud I am of my two little angels?