June already. Where have the last nine months gone?
You know, I remember fondly, that first school day in September; the serious, yet extremely content look on Olivia’s face when we entered her classroom. I watched her eyes as they carefully scanned the room, as if studying every detail.
As inquisitive as she was, I was equally nervous and anxious. We had every possible school transition meeting prior to this day. Plans and procedures were strategically mapped out. Modifications to the school environment and specialized equipment were put in place. Qualified trained staff were assigned to her.
So why was I so scared?
Well as a parent to a child with special needs, extremely high needs at that; it’s a difficult hurdle to overcome. Trusting another with the care of my child was terrifying for me. Would they recognize the signs of a seizure? What if Olivia begins to choke when they feed her? How will they read her nonverbal queues? How will the other children respond to her?
It was an immense relief being able to volunteer. I appreciated the amount of support the school gave by allowing me to volunteer in Olivia’s classroom. It quickly put me at ease seeing how happy she was. It wasn’t long before she made friends and to see those friends quickly accept her for her.
This time was both beneficial to myself and Olivia’s school team. We worked together building a relationship that would strive to support Olivia’s success.
Were there bumps in the road along the way? Sure there were. Part of building a strong relationship means learning from mistakes that were made. As Olivia’s mother, I was her voice. I, along with my husband; communicated continuously with Olivia’s school team and they did the same with us.
When you make the decision to send your child to school, you need to begin a positive and professional relationship with your child’s teacher and other support staff. Communication is the key to a successful partnership that will benefit your child’s progression in reaching their full potential.
Looking back on these last nine months I can’t help but fill with pride for my daughter. School has brought out a sense of independence and added determination in her. I have watched her struggles transform into successes and I’m eager to see what these following years will bring.
For all of you that are embarking on this new journey with your child remember you are their voice. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Working together, parents and school team, you will give your child the best chance at success!