Dyer Family Happenings

A.K.A. Mommy needs a place to write!

Overly emotional Mommy, party of me. — December 18, 2015

Overly emotional Mommy, party of me.

I have always been an emotional person. It’s gotten worse with becoming a mom and now being able to help in Leo’s class and seeing these HUGE leaps these kiddos are making daily, weekly, monthly and getting to see and experience the love his teachers have for the kids and us mommies and daddies it’s gotten a notch worse.

Worse isn’t the right word. My emotions for my children have grown. The steps forward and the growth in both of them makes me cry, the set backs and rough patches make me cry. And the same happens for the friends in Leos class. Some of them had a really rough start with preschool and the growth in language and friend skills, in coloring and singing in counting and direction following is amazing. They start the school year as little guys and gals, set in their own home routines and have their worlds rocked but in the most beautiful way.

These kiddos come from all kinds of family situations some with siblings some without, some spend lots of time with grandparents and some split time with their own parents. Some parents both work some are blessed like I am to learn with their kids. The one commonality they all have is when they enter Room #1 and the love that the teachers share with each and every child.

These teachers have been staying so upbeat and excited for the holiday season through illness and the excitement of 19 3 and 4 year olds. They taught them songs and poems and got them ready to sing for a whole cafeteria full of family members. And today all of the hard work and love shined so very bright when these beautiful children made their way to the stage.

I had a breath holding moment of fear before the curtain opened when I looked around at the amount of people that were in the audience. They had practiced every day on the stage but to an empty cafeteria. Today was THE day. How is Leo going to do with all of this? A year ago he probably would have tried to run away. Too loud, too many people, to bright. Not today.

The curtains open and all we hear is “WOAH LOOKIT ALL THE PEOPLE! HI MOM HI DAD HI MAX!!!” theres my guy. And I cried. No, I balled my eyes out.

I cried because of how great they all were doing sitting and singing, like little pros. I cried because of how hard we’ve worked with Leo to have confidence in any setting. I cried because he wasn’t scared. I cried because he’s such a big guy. I cried because I’m his mom and I am so proud of him, excited for everything he gets to experience that is brand new and because he is such an amazing kid.

So I cried, giant rolling tears. And my heart is so full.

 

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Dear Leo, — November 13, 2015

Dear Leo,

This week was a rough one. I totally understand. You weren’t feeling great, it’s cold, there was a holiday right smack in the middle of the week, one of your teachers was out sick most of the week. I get it buddy. But here’s the thing. Changes are going to happen. I know you have a hard time with them. I know that sometimes you get all scrambled up and can’t tell me that you’re not okay, but in those moments I need you to take a deep breath and try to find your words. Your nice words.

Walking you out of class today broke my heart. I know you wanted treasure box, but you know how important it is to earn it. And we earn it by having nice words and hands, by making good choices and by listening to all of the wonderful teachers we are so blessed to have guiding us at school. Mommy doesn’t like to have to worry about your actions. I know you know how to be a superawesomefantastic dude, because you are so much of the time. And I know that you know how to ask for a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed. So lets slow down for a minute and listen to our body.

Promise me you’ll try to choose nice words and hands next week. That if someone puts their hands on you on the playground that you’ll say “No I don’t like that” and tell a teacher instead of pushing back. That you’ll try your food and not put garbage in a friends food when they aren’t looking. That you’ll be kind. And that you know that no matter what your actions I love you so very much.

I’m proud of all of the progress you’re making, and the things you’re learning. And know that we all have bad days and rough days and days that we just don’t want to do what we need to do, but we still do them. Know that on those hard days I’ll be waiting to pick you up with a giant hug and some snuggle time when we get home. Talk to me. Talk to your teachers, we all want to see how wonderful you are.

I know you’re really upset about not getting treasure box this week but we will try again next week. Max and I will be there as much as we can to help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Take a big deep breath my love. We all get through the rough days.

Love,

Mom

Week #2, here we go — August 24, 2015

Week #2, here we go

Leo had a great first week at school, Max had a great first week without his big Bro by his side, Mommy had a rough week but pulled through.

Things I noticed from this past week:

Leo’s focus and listening has already improved.

He has been trying new foods.

He loves his teachers.

His behaviors come out when he’s exhausted.

Leo is 4 1/2 years old and has school and therapy 6 hours a day. 6 HOURS A DAY.¬† Today I make the phone call to the regional center to discuss our funding issues if I cut him back on therapy or how hard it would be to get it back if I dropped it all together. He needs down time, he needs to be a kid and he hasn’t ever really had a chance to do that. And I’m going to say it- it’s not fair. Yeah, it’s not.

We can’t decide to go see a movie or go to lunch or sit in our underwear in a sheet fort after school because he is always being pushed to learn. And he’s done better with it than I would. So today I get a few more answers, today I start the process of either backing out of or totally dropping ABA. I love ABA, it’s making my children better, but the school he’s in is incorporating ABA into his mornings and I’m good with it.

More to come.

Happy Week everyone.

Backward, yet again — April 29, 2015

Backward, yet again

We can’t afford private school.

Even if I figured out how to pay for it and daycare for Max and found a job that would pay me more than 9 bucks an hour, there is no way we can afford it.

Leo will be placed in an inclusion preschool (where a portion of the kids are general ed kids and the other portion are special needs, but high functioning and require peer models for success), and he will be scheduled back with ABA 25 hours a week after June 11, when the school year is over. But until then he is in a mild to moderate special ed class. A class where there are very few words- other than his, and his right now are ugly and mean and accompanied by hitting, spitting and as of today trying to push a bookshelf over.

I don’t know what to do.

We talked at length about how this move may very well set him back. I had no idea how much. It’s a fight to get him to wear clothes again. He is constantly pinching himself and walking on his toes. He is¬†jumping and flapping so much more than he ever has. It’s a fight to get him to be consistent with sentences other than “I be by myself”, the sensory overload is the worst it’s ever been. And I can’t help him. I try to have quiet time, I try to have him talk to me, but everything is so ugly. His words and actions to me, to his teachers, to his peers, to his brother.

He is not a mean kid. He is a lover. He is a mediator. He can tame skiddish animals. I just don’t understand it. And I feel like I am at a breaking point. The only thing they are able to do at school his put him in the thinking chair, and it doesn’t work. I want my kid back. And he will come back, but a month an a half seems like a lifetime away right now.

The realization that his is going to always have issues with sensory overload and transitions hit me about a week ago. And I cried. I’m not sure how he is going to do in Junior High school where you change classes every 45 minutes, when changing stations every 10 minutes is accompanied by a huge meltdown. How holding a pencil is the end of the world. How a fire drill is the most painful thing to his ears and eyes. How do I teach him that these things are okay, that they won’t hurt him, and that they are a part of life.

Is it all going to click one day? I pray everyday that it will. Or that it won’t hurt as much, that it won’t be as hard to move from thing to thing, place to place. I pray everyday that even if he doesn’t totally understand why we do what we do he wants to try.

Sensory overload can kiss my rear end.
It’s the one thing in the world I truly hate.

Steps forward, patience and rational thinking…. — March 18, 2015

Steps forward, patience and rational thinking….

We are embarking on yet another adventure with Leo. In September 2014, we pulled him from public school and started at home ABA therapy. He needed a stronger foundation, he needed clearer words, we needed to fine tune his dealings with sensory overload. In September I sat on my living room floor with the program manager that suggested this course of action because his class wasn’t what he was needing. We set a goal that fall 2015 he would head back to public school hopefully into an inclusion class.

It’s March, and not only are we headed back to public school on April 7th, but we are working on going into mainstream, regular public preschool through the school district. 5 months ahead of where we had hoped and prayed, faster than I had imagined. (when we pulled him from school my heart was heavy, it was such a forward and backward “progression” I wasn’t sure when or if we’d get there, and that was okay as long as he was learning).

Here’s how all of this works: (to the best of my dealings…)
Our school district has multiple levels of early education: Early Headstart (for kiddos starting at age 3, that have special needs), preschool, transitional kinder (they take the first half of a kindergarten year and stretch it across a whole year to get them ready for kinder) and then kinder.
Okay, here’s what has to happen for us- because Leo is registered as a special ed kiddo.

He is re-enrolled and starts back in a special ed classroom.

We have an I.E.P. (individual educational plan) with his teacher (who thank the Lord Almighty is the teacher he originally started with and knows him so well, AND will see his growth), school staff, his ABA tutors and us to talk about transitioning him to being a general ed kid.

Then the decision about where to place him is made.

He is moved to the appropriate classroom and we finish the school year in said classroom and start the fall in the appropriate class.

It’s a process, it took about 50 phone calls. But we are here, and in motion and that is awesome! So I started looking at the criteria for kinder. What they learn, the goals they have to meet or exceed. Um, woah. (for reference http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc/documents/alookatkthrugrade6.pdf )
Leo is smart. Very smart. He has trouble with things, like writing. Or rather holding a writing instrument. My mom bought us some books and things to make it fun, but that is probably his biggest struggle at the moment, and a big part of kinder. So we will be working like gang busters on it.

My hope (at the moment, or rather until he totally exceeds my wildest dreams- because he does every time) is that we start the fall in a mainstream preschool, next year he has transitional kinder and we move to kinder when he is 6. This is where I’ve set my goals for him, knowing that there will forever be things we are working on, and factoring in some set backs, but knowing that he is so very capable and has a want to learn that is something kinda fantastic.

We have the resources available to us and people that want him to soar and I couldn’t have asked for anything more for this guy.

Max is making progress with his words, but we are still behind. His advocate is going to ask for ABA services for him, and she thinks if she can get this approved and we start asap that by age 3 everything will be smooth for him. And that makes me so excited. Hopefully we will find out in the next week or so where we are at on school for him.