It’s the beginning of the second week in April and I am both surprised and horrified to realize that it has been more than eight months since my last post. So much has happened during that time, and I’ve needed every bit of that time to reflect on events and sort my feelings about them before writing them here for others to scrutinize and judge.
NEVER could I have imagined that a pandemic would cripple our economy, or that the President of the United States would lie and put Americans at risk by not responding quickly and appropriately to that pandemic. Instead of being our light in the dark, our port in this storm, Trump (I refuse to use his title) takes potshots at the media and refuses to answer relevant questions regarding COVID-19.
Today began the third week of e-learning for Addison, and it was tough on both of us. She didn’t want to watch videos, or listen to songs, or point out shapes and colors. I managed to get a pen into her hand, but she looked at me while drawing circles and lines instead of looking at her paper; after a few seconds she threw the pen over her shoulder and shoved the paper away before getting up and running to her room. The slam of her door indicated to me that I should not follow.
I get that shelter-in-place is hard on everybody. I think it is especially difficult for our special needs kiddos, because they don’t understand what is going on or why they can’t go to the park or play outside with their friends. Today marked the first day in 21 days that Addison did not ask to “slide” or “swing” or to play in the “pool”, and the realization broke my heart.
Last week Addison turned five years old, and for the first time in her life she celebrated without the presence of a majority of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her Mema ( my mom) participated via phone, while Angela, Ronnie, Chris, Michael (also by phone) and I sang Happy Birthday and watched Addison eat cake. She’s getting so big, I am both happy and sad about this.
The elephant in the room, the thing I have been avoiding talking about, is what will happen next year when Addison starts Kindergarten.
Back in February I participated in an ARD meeting for Addison, and formally agreed to reduce her time in the general education classroom by 20 minutes for the rest of the school year. I was extremely frustrated by this, because I didn’t think it was best for Addison, but I finally agreed because it was clear to me that the general education teacher wasn’t equipped (and didn’t want to be) to teach Addison effectively in the general education classroom. This teacher had also admitted that she doesn’t use Addison’s ipad to communicate with Addison in her classroom because her class is too fast-paced.
The decisions that I make today will have an impact on Addison’s education years from now…and I don’t want to make a wrong one. Will it be better for Addison to spend 100% of her time in a special education classroom next year, which is what her teachers are recommending, or should she split her time equally between general education and special education like I would prefer? I really don’t know. But so far her teachers have not shown me any data that suggests Addison would be better off spending her time solely in special education. If anyone reading this has experience in this area, either as a parent or an educator, I would love to hear from you.
It’s late and I should probably stop here. I have a lot more to share, but I need to ruminate a bit before I put it all out here for consumption. Thank you for following my Down syndrome journey~~~~