Monday, September 26, 2011

The Process of Inclusion…Jack’s First 3 Weeks of Kindergarten

What I have learned about inclusion so far…

• It is a process, a journey, and an adventure!
• It is going to take Jack time to adjust to the “Kindergarten way,” but he WILL adjust
• Having a 1:1 is a GODSEND…actually…HIS 1:1 is a godsend
• If you don’t have a proactive team, everything will fall apart in an instant
• Jack is considered one of the gang already…he has friends…lots of them. ;)
• We’ll have good days and bad days, and that is just part of the process.
• Inclusion can work with the right supports.

What gives me hope about this whole process…

On the first day of school, I got a note from Jack’s 1:1…this is what it said:

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Clark,

Here are a few highlights about Jack’s first day of Kindergarten:
• Jack and a friend took the attendance to the office.
• The students made “First Day of School” hats
• At recess, Connor pulled Jack (in the red wagon) all around the blacktop.
• Jack’s reading buddy is a second grader, Ted. They read a book together, Three Billy Goats Gruff. It was so cute, Jack would tell Ted to “Turn the page.”
• So much more fun!
I’ll try to write each day so you can talk with Jack about his day. Thank you for the honor of helping in your son’s class.”

I have received a one-page note almost every day since detailing specific POSITIVE highlights of Jack’s days…like
“Picture Day! Jack was awesome. He walked in line all the way!”
“At snack recess, several Room 2 friends came up to say hi to Jack.. Jacklyn, Declan…Hannah also came to our tables to eat with Jack”
“Isabella’s mom came in to help the students make pancakes. Jack waited for his turn very nicely. ☺”

This is just a sample, and I look forward to these notes every day. These notes are what keeps me going and gives me the hope and encouragement I need to know that this is what I want for my son. This is the reason why…this is what inclusion is all about. It has not been easy, and my next blog post will talk about our struggles so far, but the positives, the benefits, make it all worthwhile. I feel very blessed at this moment in time and can’t wait to see what the future holds…

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's all about language right now...

Right now, we are working HARD on developing more language in Jack. A year ago, Jack was producing 1-2 word, he consistently uses 3 word phrases/sentences to communicate. We're moving slowly into the 3+ word sentence zone, and there are a few ways we do this. One powerful way that we have instantly gotten results with is the visual cue. One of Jack's behavior goals is about eloping (basically, he likes to leave, or more specifically, escape!). We are trying to extinguish this's my BIGGEST safety concern for him right now, and we are making progress. Just six months ago, I couldn't take him anywhere (grocery store, softball game, etc...) without him running off. We literally had to strap him in the stroller during Bella's softball games while Grant was able to be free because we couldn't trust him...he WOULD eventually run away. It broke my heart. If only he would stay put, he could play too. :( Now, we are in a much different place. I know that the strategies we have put in place will keep Jack close by most of the much more fun for him and so much less stressful for us.

So one of the places we fear Jack will leave is our house (and PS~if he escapes, he keeps going...he doesn't *realize* he needs to go back). We have a chain on the top of our front door and deadbolts on our backyard he can't get out. One of the ways we are trying to solve the problem is by building language into the goal and teaching Jack that he CANNOT open a door without asking someone. We came up with a question that he needs to ask anytime he opens a door (the front door, back door, refrigerator door, his sisters' bedroom door, etc)...MAY I OPEN PLEASE? To remind Jack that he needs to ask the question, we put the question at his eye level on the doors in our house...when we did this, we had INSTANT was amazing to me...First of all, he is asking before he goes outside. Second, he is using a four word question to ask. Third, he is beginning to learn 1:1 correspondence and early reading cool. I got a little video of Jack this morning letting our dog outside. It's a 3 minute video and at the end he uses the visual cue to open the back door. I really am SO proud of my little man!