This thing called Inclusion Kindergarten is either going to kill me, cause me to drink large quantities of adult beverages on a daily basis, or it may just make me stronger. I'm going to shoot for the latter and hope for the best.
I touched briefly on the issues with school in my previous post (Oia's frustration, my sense of discomfort with the course of the school year thus far, lack of follow through, inside the box thinkers etc.) So, after yet one more note of how inattentive Oia was on a particular day last week, coupled with the feedback that Oia hit out of frustration, I made a prompt decision to yet again observe Oia in class in an attempt to catch these behaviors in action to then in turn target why. I like to fix things. I emailed her teacher stating I would be in the following morning to observe, through the hall window, where I would not be a distraction. In other words, pardon my presence but carry on.
My observation last Friday morning was for a full two hours of classroom activity. I observed, I took notes, observed and took notes. Two full hours. And you know what? Once again, Oia did amazing. She remained on task to the best of her ability and was easily redirected when off-task. She worked hard. She tried hard. She went through the motions just as any of her classmates did. But her team that consists of a teacher, a collaborative SPED teacher, and an aid? They disappointed me in a big way. I'll spare you the details, but trust me, I know a thing or two about teaching and more importantly, I know a lot more about MY CHILD and her needs.
So. The same day of my observation was the very same day I typed up an email requesting a meeting with Oia's principal to discuss the concerns that have been brewing over the last two months of K, and concerns that were the final straw post Friday's observation. And then I stepped far beyond the point of no return. I hit 'send'. My meeting with the principal was scheduled for 8:30 this morning. I was ready.
I was a tad nervous anticipating the meeting this morning but Oia's sleepy and toothless smile as she woke to face another day reminded me for the millionth time why I must step far from my comfort zone and do the things we do. Today, I spoke adamantly. I made very valid points. I provided solid examples noted from my observations of ways that Oia's academic needs are not being fully addressed, due to the lack of follow through from our final preschool IEP meetings and the lack of understanding Oia's conditions. Principal was receptive and never once tried to defend or stand up for the situations or the examples I refered to. It was a great feeling. She heard me and I truly feel as though she understood my perspectives. My concerns/frustrations/disappointments will be delivered immediately to Oia's teachers and hopefully a collaborative plan to address these areas will be implemented ASAP. I trust this will happen, partly because Rob and I will make sure of it. There is a seat under that hall window which opens into the classroom that I will find myself in yet again very soon just to be certain of it. I guess I'll just have to accept being *that* mom. And gladly, I will.
Meeting is over and today I feel good. I feel much less weight now that I've dumped all this away from my shoulders and onto someone who has the power to remedy the situation. I allowed the school year ample time to get underway, work through the back to school transitions that often take place, and now was the absolute right time to speak up. Inclusion is tough but it is so worth the effort. My girl is growing in all areas, at her own beautiful pace. She has friends; typical and non-typical peers. Playdayes are pending. Classmates birthday parties are being added to the family calendar. Our community outside the special needs world is multiplying. And we will prevail at this little but big thing called Kindergarten because Oia already is. And even though this is a subject that shall be continued, I'll still rest my head a little easier tonight because I did what was necessary for Oia. And then I'll sleep like a rock for the first time in months. Good thing because tomorrow I will need all the energy I can get as I brave a field trip with way too many 5 and 6 year olds. Her first K field trip. Oh, the fun never ends with this girl of mine.