You know how sometimes I let my excitement or, more frequently, my anxiety get away from me and I build up these totally innocuous occasions into SITUATIONS and then I come back here and just say, “Meh”? This is totally not one of those times!
This morning we had our first ever official PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE! I did not cry and I did not hug the teacher, I was way too mature for that. Nope, not me. I simply GUSHED over how excited I was and how I couldn’t believe we got to attend a PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE and how cool it was that there was no attendance sheet! I’m such a smooth operator. Everyone was laughing at me but I so don’t care!
The teacher waited me out (she was just sitting and nodding and smiling at me with her BIG eyes on) have I ever mentioned how much I love her? Not nearly as much as my little Monkey but I think she’s just super. Anyway…once my verbal barrage slowed to little squeals of excitement she shared her thoughts on Monkey and how he’s doing. Do you want to know how he’s doing? OF COURSE YOU DO!1
He’s doing awesome! They can’t believe what big changes they’ve seen in him since school started. He’s settled into the routine, he knows all the kids names and at circle time he’s the one whispering the answer behind his hand to the kid who can’t remember, lol. At lunch time, he knows everyone’s lunch boxes and distributes them appropriately. He was the first kid to master standing in a line (this is one of those skills he demonstrates at school and not anywhere else that I would LOVE to see him generalize!)
He has an infectious laugh and the kids are drawn to him. When he starts laughing everyone stops to see what he’s laughing at because it’s going to be good.He’s so sweet and gentle that the typical kids in the classroom have no reservations about interactingwith him. Some of the other kids with disabilities in the class are not quite so calm and collected so there’s a bit of anxiety and uncertainty over engaging in play with them. The staff is working on this and are very aware so I have a lot of hope that allthe kids will be more fully integrated and accepted by the end of the year but it really, really, really made my heart soar to hear that the other kids like Monkey and want to be around him and engage him on their own. Yay!
She had two pieces of work to show his current level of functioning. One involved tearing paper, gluing it to a picture and then coloring the rest of the picture and the other involved matching pre-cut shapes with shapes printed on the page and gluing them in the right spot. Would you be shocked to hear that Monkey doesn’t excel at either of these activities? He did fine, both were done appropriately but he needed a LOT of teacher support. Gluing and coloring and matching…sure he is physically capable of doing those things so theoretically he should be capable of doing those things on his own but here’s the question…why? What is the point? Monkey, like most boys with fragile x, need activities to have a meaning.
We tried to convey this by telling her that Monkey prefers real-life activities…cooking, cleaning, fixing things. Monkey himself was demonstrating his love of real life situations by walking around the classroom with a small baggie of “poot.” He was talking about walking his dogs and he was pretending to pick up dog poop using little (clean!) baggies he found in the truck that we use for just that purpose. I think I need to find a way to more clearly convey this message to her. I don’t care if he can glue blue triangles onto a piece of paper. He’s done it dozens of times, we know he can…let’s move along. Let’s find richer activities to build skills on.
So, to sum up, Monkey rocks. He’s doing great, learning new stuff and making friends and now I’ll shut up about the PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE. Mebbe. Hee.
- Wheee, I may still be on a bit of an adreneline rush! [↩]