Saturday, January 2, 2016

Matthew Update

This fall was a big one for Matthew. He entered full-time kindergarten, in a mainstream classroom, followed by a few hours of childcare at the after school program every day, and he spent his weekends playing soccer with typically developing peers.  There were many days I wondered if we had done the right thing by pushing him into a mainstream world. Many nights I wondered if we would serve him better by allowing him more time in preschool or by having him join a special needs baseball league instead of soccer.  Though my heart would likely have hurt a little less and my worries would have been different, maybe even lessened, I probably would have been holding him back.  

Kindergarten was a huge transition-- not as much for Matthew, who LOVES school, but for his teachers and for us as his parents as we learned about how to help Matthew in the classroom.  During the process, I was fearful that this school wasn't the place or fit for Matthew.  This kept me awake nights and crying in the shower in the mornings, but after many meetings and lots of trial and error, I feel like we are finally on the right trajectory for Matthew to be successful at school.  One indication of the evolutionary process-Matthew entered kinder with 2 classroom accommodations (special scissors and his ipad for speech) and now has almost 20.  These accommodations do not change the curriculum, but help Matthew access learning in the ways that he can, given his speech and OT challenges. 

The after school program was a big transition too.  Now Matthew is in with kids of all grades (Kinder-5th) and expected to conform to those big kid norms-- like going to the potty as needed. I held my breath every pick up, hoping he had been free from potty accidents, and though he wasn't always successful, he did better than I expected and he loved hanging with the big kids.

And, well, soccer.  Matthew struggled to keep up with his peers on the soccer field, but he loved every single minute of it.  I think his feet might have touched the ball twice all season, but it didn't deter him from running up and down the field with his teammates.  They won most of their games anyway.

As I watched Matthew interact with his peers in these new settings, it was a constant reminder that we are in Holland, but most importantly, it reminded me of the importance of holding Matthew to a high standard.  He must have the opportunity to achieve as his peers do.  As well, his inclusion is important not only him, but to his classmates as well.  Matthew needs to be a part of their world.  My heart hurt many times this fall, but it also swelled on countless occasions when I heard many of his peers call him "friend".  

A few other recent developments in Matthew's world:

This boy learned to play Uno.  I am in love with this new development!

This boy now talks, and talks, and talks. ALL THE TIME!  He still has an uphill battle to be completely comprehensible, but he is figuring it out and making improvements both in articulation and vocabulary at a rapid pace.

This boy loves a good knock-knock joke.

And this boy still loves Mickey Mouse, but has added more favorites-- Harry Potter, Darth Vader, and a new favorite show, PBS's Super Why.  I am pleased with Super Why because the show reinforces the concepts he is working on in school.  He is lagging behind his peers in academic achievement right now, but we are planning for him to repeat kindergarten next year in hopes that the extra year will bridge the gap.
Halloween 2015

It was a big few months for Mattie, and for us.  I hope we are on the straight arrow up now.  

You may recognize this graphic, as I've used it many times for "Matthew's healing".  The paths look identical.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy to learn of all the progress Mathew is making... and to hear his knock-knock jokes! What a delight! I can only imagine how hard it must have been to get all those accommodations in place for him at school but I know he has the best advocate any kid could ask for! I've seen you in action and I know you are unstoppable :)
    We miss you guys and send you a super big hug from your old neighborhood in Cypress!