The transition back to school after Christmas vacation has been extremely challenging. It seems like we just haven't been able to get our routine back and has had an impact on Riley. Everyday it has been something new, bigger and better in the creative ways Riley has misbehaved at school. It has been frustrating beyond belief when I know that Riley is capable of so much more. His behavior choices were not only frustrating and distracting but at times putting his safety at risk.
Some days it is almost hard to believe that it is even possible for one small boy to make such crazy choices. Friends have told me that they love to check my FB updates on Riley because its like reading the comics. Most of the time I'm able laugh at the craziness that is our life, but the last few weeks I haven't laughed much at the goings on at school. Something about your son hitting one of your friends kids, and not to mention one of his very favorite people, that just doesn't settle well. Thankfully he didn't actually hurt anyone or himself during the craziness of last week. My close friends sent many encouraging messages and offered wine and chocolate to help (they know me well).
A few of these message stuck out.
And remember for all the stress he causes you, not only does he thoroughly entertain most of us, but Riley teaches everyone around him empathy, patience, acceptance and how to love with your whole being!
...think about how much he has done positively. He is a guy with Ds in a regular Ed classroom that in a school that has never provided for a child with his needs and has adjusted very well.
I'm so glad my daughter is in Riley's class. We want our children to accept everyone and believe that this is what the school is about.
Some days its good to be smacked in the face with the truth. Especially when its your friends and they are telling you that your kid is pretty amazing. It is hard at times because we want so much for Riley and we push and push to make sure he has access to everything he needs but sometimes we forget to listen closely to Riley. He doesn't always have the words to tell us or his friends what he wants but when we slow down and listen to the messages he is sending with not only his words but his actions he is easier to understand.
Lately Riley has been sending lots of messages. Some louder than others. I think pulling his hearing aids out and throwing them or hiding them is a pretty clear message. Friday we picked up the new molds and the repaired hearing aids and his compliance has improved drastically. He still didn't want to wear them at school but thankfully Gramma is on duty tomorrow so I think that will solve its self.
We have been able to put a few extra supports in place during the school day and he is already making better choices. Thankfully Gramma has as much fun in kindergarten as Riley does and will be spending some time in his classroom. My niece loves her cousin and needs volunteer hours for her college courses so she will be spending several hours with him on Fridays. A classmates mom extended her lunch duty volunteer time and spent some time with Riley after lunch. Just being able to stay in from recess makes a positive difference in his day. I hope to continue to add a few supports to give him and his teacher the extra help they need during the day.
All the extra work and stress of having him in a school that isn't required to meet all of his needs causes some people to question our decision. Why don't we just move him to public school where they have to meet his needs??? Some days I question our decision and I think it is something we will always be evaluating but for today this community is where he belongs. Would he have a school where he can walk through the hallway and have every single student know him and want to be his friend? Maybe, but probably not. Might he learn to write faster if he had more one on one teachers? Yes, I'm sure he would. Would he be able to recite the Lords Prayer with his classmates and pray for his Gramma's dog each morning ? No, he certainly would not.
You see how easy it would be to fill up that bag with 100 blessings in our world. So next time I'm a wreck over Riley calling someone butt face feel free to call me a butt face and remind me to count to 100.