One of the main reasons I started writing this blog was to keep people who love us updated on Jake’s life. I had a great idea of writing every few weeks, including a few pictures, and having it be something really fun for everyone who is far away.
Instead, it turned into a place for me to process and record our journey through the maze of Sensory Processing Disorder, hypotonia, speech delay, and all kinds of other challenges facing my little monkey.
If you haven’t been reading for the last two years, I’ll quickly catch you up. Jake was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, a malfunctioning of his sensory system which causes hyperactivity, hypersensitivity to his surroundings, extreme fright when he encounters certain textures and objects. We think, on average, his reluctance to engage with his surroundings caused somewhere between a year and two years of developmental delay. He walked late. He ate solids very late. We had to teach him how to chew, swallow, and the days of puking at every meal because of the texture of his food are not that distant of a memory. His hypotonia, a weakness in his joints, made walking correctly and sitting up straight very difficult. He still struggles with fatigued muscles and tendons, even after so much therapy.
To help with all of his challenges, we did six months of feeding therapy at our local hospital, then graduated to a year of in-home therapy for speech, feeding, and physical therapy. He has overcome so much due to faithful therapists who were able to communicate to me how to work with him almost every minute of every day.
In the state of Colorado, state-funded therapy for children with special needs, moves from in-home therapy and goes to preschool at the age of three. All of the therapy that he has received and the help he will continue to have is part of the Head Start program, which identifies children who are at high risk for not succeeding in school. To give all these kids the best chance they can possibly have, they are given free, federally funded preschool. So, not sure where your federal taxes are going? Maybe you’ll be happier knowing that a teeny tiny percentage of YOUR paycheck is going to help my little boy. 🙂
About six months ago, Jake was assessed and identified as high-risk and admitted to the preschool program. I had a lot of mixed feelings since I never wanted him to go to preschool. We moved to Colorado largely so that I could be a stay at home mama and be with Jake full-time until he started school at five or six. Believe me, I’m not the kind of mom that weeps into her purse every time she has to leave her child. I understand the need for, and value, the time I get to myself to be a thinking adult! I just really didn’t want to send my three year old off into the world on his own. I realized that when I say, “I would do anything for my child”, that “anything” would include laying down what I want to do and doing the right thing for him, even if it means sending him to school at three.
After a few months of school, I am so glad I made the decision to let him go! He loves school, he loves his teachers, he talks about his friends, but most importantly, he is improving with leaps and bounds. I’ll save for another post the 8,000 reasons we love our school. Let me just tell you how much I respect his teachers, how wonderful they are, how much they are willing to include me, and how much they care for Jake. I have been a part of education on some level for the last 15 years, so I know that every classroom has it’s flaws. This classroom has so few flaws and does so many wonderful things that when I leave Jake, the only pang in my heart is over how much I love Jake. And, I’ll admit that walking away has been tough. I miss him, but I am thankful for the time I get to myself to read, run, write, or just be still.
Since my goal with this blog has been to involve those who are far away as much as possible, I’ll leave off the writing and let you see Jake’s day. (For safety reasons, I will not say Jake’s school, his teacher’s names, or any the names of his friends. If I get vague, that’s why!).
Every day, Jake tells me he needs to “push buggins” which means he wants to push the button to open the door.
He has learned how to line up, mostly patiently, with all of his friends to wait for the classroom to open.
The first thing all the kids do is wash their hands. Jake gets excited about opening the lid on the trash can with the step-to-open lid.
Since Jake has trouble sitting with his legs crossed, they have provided him a special chair that allows him to still be part of the group, while not hurting his legs.
So that he doesn’t get overwhelmed with being in a mass of people, he also has his special purple spot to stand on during circle time.
The class has the ability to bring in many special programs,but one of Jake’s favorites was when the local zoo visited. He was really not sure about that skunk!
Even though his little body doesn’t do yoga very well, Jake always tries very hard to keep up with the class. His drive to do well and to please his teachers will be his biggest helps in school!
His teachers interact so well with the class. They provide the education in a very fun way.
They are also very loving with their class!
Jake has made a few special friends at school. He and this little girl are the best of friends and she watches out for him.
After starting off life being terrified of swinging, it’s now one of Jake’s favorite things to do during outside playtime.
As always, he manages to put his own special flair into his playing, making everyone around him laugh and smile.
All in all, we couldn’t be happier with Jake’s school. We are very fortunate to live where we live, to have found such a wonderful school with great teachers. Jake is happy at school and thriving.
We couldn’t ask for anything more!