Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Growing Pains

This week Troy and I met with our local school district to kick off the monstrous process that will eventually be Brady's Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This IEP will determine where Brady will go to school this fall and the level of services he will be eligible for. Our every day vocabulary is filled with new acronyms which I often forget are foreign to many parents. I suppose I could write a lengthy post defining these abbreviations but today I just wish there was an acronym for how I feel.

On Tuesday Troy and I observed several special ed. pre-school classrooms and were quite shocked by what we saw. The kids looked normal. They sat in chairs around a table eating snacks and chatting while their backpacks were lined up near the classroom door. This setting was in sharp contrast to other groups with which Brady is involved where he might be one of the few children who can walk, who can see, who can eat.

I know pre-school is what Brady needs. I know these classrooms are full of typical students whose purpose is to model appropriate development and behavior for the differently-abled. But will they understand Brady? He can sit in a chair but will fall at any moment. He can eat but will stuff his mouth full and choke if not closely monitored. He can't talk. He will have a freak out of epic proportions and burst the capillaries in his cheeks if someone forces an uncomfortable or unknown activity upon him. How will a new teacher possibly begin to understand the intricacies that are Brady while juggling 10 other children?

I imagine these feelings of fear and concern are not unique. This is likely how all parents feel when they prepare their little ones for that first day of school. Or maybe how parents feel when their children charge out of the house for the first time, alone, with car keys in hand. And quite possibly this is stirring up some of what I felt when I dropped Brady off at daycare on his 42nd day of existence, thinking "how will she feed him? and how will I possibly get through this day?" And then I returned to a happy, full baby and realized that this day was not hard for him. It was only hard for me.

I know Brady needs this. He needs to be around more kids. He needs to not be the center of attention at all times. He will grow and thrive and learn. And I will find a way to manage my fears and let go, just a little bit, of my baby.


Jay and Megan said...

kajsa - I found your blog through facebook. I am sure Jay would love to catch up with you. Your little boy is adorable and I can empathize with your thought about sending off to preschool. I remember that like it was yesteday with JT. We are actually still trying to figure out exactly what JT has - besides Autism. Anyway- I'll show this to Jay.

Sara said...

Oh, it is so very hard to see them grow up, isn't it? And it is very hard to trust someone else to care for your most precious, treasured little ones... I always worry about what they are experiencing when they are out of my sight and out of our home. And, I imagine, it is especially worrisome when you are concerned about all of the extra difficulties that he and his care-giver/teachers will have to work through as they get to know and love each other. My only thought is that most of those who choose this career are such amazing and capable souls that have only the best intentions. I have a feeling that the benefits that will come to Brady's life and development through the interactive socialization he will experience, will far outweigh the adjustment period/learning curve and make it all worth while. (Not that ANY of that makes it easier on mom and dad... YOU just may have to take a tranquilizer or two for the first little while!) Good Luck!

Sara said...

GREAT photo of your boys, by the way! LOVE it! :)

onceapickle said...

Being a parent can be so dang hard sometimes! I know how much you love Brady and you will do absolutely the best for him and that's all that matters. The rest is a learning curve we all have to muddle through. Just remember you're everything you can to help him learn and grow. It will all work out in the end. Good luck!

Jane said...

first of all, I LOVE that picture.

I hope you can put to rest your worries. I think preschool will be SO good for Brady. Remember, it's usually 2-3 hours, and that will be time he can grow while Troy and you get some time to do other things. And, most of preschool is social skills. That will be so fabulous for him. My girls both have kids in their classes at school that have some extra needs and I have watched them LOVE those kids even more than the others. On holidays, they make sure they have something for them or specifically Kiana will tell me the funny/random things they say, but not in a mocking way at all. She says it with a kihd of big-sister watching them grow attitude. All of Brady's needs will be met. Good luck! (((hugs)))