Wednesday, August 20, 2008

change on the horizon.

4 months later and i finally get ashlyn's school picture scanned into the computer. i have good intentions people.....just struggle a bit on the follow-thru.

this was taken last school year when she attended the special needs preschool.

i adore this picture of her so very much because i can see the HUGE difference in her sensory issues from the time this picture was taken (May-ish) up to today. what you don't know is that this is ashlyn's typical pose when she's totally unsure of herself and what's going on around her. her "embarrassed stance". which i imagine was the case when it was picture taking time. i had no idea that it was picture taking day that day, so i didn't have a chance to explain to her what to expect. she doesn't like surprises at all. but looking back, i'm thankful for not knowing and not having the chance to warn her because this picture shows progress.

and boy has she ever made progress.

at the beginning of the year, i sat down with teachers and psychologists and counselors at the school and put together an Individual Education Program (IEP) for ashlyn. it's a specialized plan that is put together for students with disabilities.

it started becoming more and more apparent toward the end of the school year that she had made huge strides in the way she reacted to different sensory input. since she was on an IEP at the special needs preschool, i had to meet with the teacher and various other educators (back in June) at the school to review her objectives to see where she was in terms of meeting those objectives. at the meeting i was handed this:

she completely mastered every objective we had set for her at the beginning of the school year! and i could tell it just by the change in her behavior at home as well. at the meeting with them we were asked to sign off saying that all objectives had been met and they will be entering her into Kindergarten as a TYPICAL child. meaning she won't receive any special services at the Kindergarten level unless we notice her struggling again, then we'll have to start new again.

many, many questions were asked by me during that meeting because even though she has "mastered" those skills in the classroom setting, she hasn't exactly mastered them at home. the biggest skill we still struggle with at home is her being able to follow a three step command, such as: get your pajamas on, hang up your towel and brush your teeth. somewhere between the instruction and taking 2 steps into her bedroom, she gets lost. she still has problems with things like pick your brush up off the floor if there are more objects than just the brush on the floor. she can be staring right at it and still not be able to process what she is seeing to single out the brush. it's so frustrating to see her struggle so much with sensory processing.

she currently has math skills of a second grader and reading at a first/second grade level. she's a brilliant child, academically, but she has huge struggles with social interaction in a classroom setting. she'd much rather cling to the adults, than initiate peer-to-peer interaction.

i left that meeting feeling elated and defeated all at the same time.

totally elated because of all the progress she made, but defeated thinking about what kind of struggles we might have once she's in school a full-day, every day with double the amount of kids in the class. since she is going to be an older child entering kindergarten there is a concern. she's well advanced academically........will they be able to keep her busy enough? will her social struggles balance out the academic advancement?

i'm excited for another year of school to watch her grow and learn and overcome her sensory struggles at an even higher level. but at the same time i'm a little bit nervous about how she's going to process this new change as she heads back to school with all new classmates, a new routine, a new teacher, new bus drivers, a new schedule. it's all a bit overwhelming for her and i wish i could just snap my fingers and make everything better.

P.S. hey they have early intervention to get her back on an IEP if she's struggling? someone mentioned a 501 to me the other day. what's that?

p.s.s. 9 more days 'til she's a full-time kindergarten student. yikes!


  1. Yeah for you, ashlyn!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations on the huge strides made this year and I look forward to the progress you'll be sure to make this coming year!!!!!

  2. She will do fine! It's all part of growing up. She's a very bright kid and hopefully they will keep her challenged so that she doesn't get bored and be another problem. Who knows maybe they'll put her in a split class someday to keep her busy. Sound familiar??? You probably don't remember. I see alot of you in Ashlyn. You do the best you can and the school will try their best (even though you will disagree with them) and everything will work out. You still got along way to go but One day you'll wake up and wonder where did everyone go?? Everyone will have graduated and mooved on with their life and you'll have the satifaction that you did everything you could and now "I can finally do what I want to do"!!! It will happen a lot sooner than you think!

  3. I will be praying for Ashlyn (and you!!!) as she starts her new kindergarten adventure! I'm sure she will do great - it'll probably be harder for you to watch (part of being a mommy). Hopefully she'll be surrounded by the 'nice' kids who will make social interaction a bit easier for her. It's hard for any kid at that age - so hopefully she'll just ease right in. :)


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