Back to school

Patrick went back to school this week! We’re both excited, but especially him. He has been all smiles since he understood what was coming.


Of course, there are a lot of logistics involved. Doctor’s orders. Emergency plans. Medical supply kits. New care notebooks. All to give us some added piece of mind.

All in all, it was a good back to school experience. The only kink in plans was when the teacher called me a week before the first day of school to say that, instead of coming Tuesday Thursday, they wanted him there Monday Wednesday. This would give him the opportunity for more one on one time with the physical and occupational therapists and a chance to play in the “motor room” which apparently has a padded floor and things to climb all over the walls. I set up our appointments around the other schedule, so we had some stressed afternoons getting to appointments on time.. But it worked out, I think.

Last week I went to the parent orientation meeting. I walked in and Patrick’s teacher, who just noticed I mentioned speaking spanish last year, asked me to translate the meeting. So, we met the classroom staff, talked about rules, and I mumbled a translation the entire time to another parent there. She asked me if I’d like to be her translator this year. I’d love the excuse to help out at the school, but I’ll admit, the idea of translating another kid’s IEP meeting is a tad bit intimidating.

The next Monday was Labor Day, so no school. And then Tuesday, they had a classroom open house. Patrick was SO excited! I let him pick out his clothes. (He chose a hockey jersey, just to make Daddy proud). And then we headed out to the school. He was so excited walking through his school halls, I thought he’d burst!

I was incredibly proud that he walked in and immediately picked his name from the board to check in. Then he got to show me around the class. While we toured, I got a chance to talk to the new speech therapist. I’m excited because she is coming from the school for the deaf and blind and is, therefore, fluent in sign. In other words, she’s seen kids learn to sign and therefore knows what immature signs like Patrick’s look like. She might understand him!

He showed off for her, signing and saying his ABC’s up to F. (This is a new trick he’s very proud of… he then jumps to O, and finished the alphabet with a few omitted letters.) She was quite impressed.

I told her he has apraxia and, like the last school therapist, she was doubtful. But instead of brushing me off, she asked where I’d gotten the diagnosis. When I told her I’d had it confirmed by 2 private therapists and his neurologist, she said “Oh! Well, then how can we help him?” I explained what has and has not worked and how much we’d like to see him continue to use signs and pictures in addition to words and she was completely on board. Patrick’s teacher made a good effort to sign in circle time for him, too, which impressed me.

I’ve been really worried about Patrick’s signs not being understood in class and very worried about speech therapy at school undoing the progress we’ve made in private therapy over the summer by not addressing apraxia, so this was a huge relief for me.

Last in the open house was a circle time. The kids gather in chairs to sign songs, do activities, and learn. Patrick was SO good! He didn’t bother the other kids. He was completely interested in the teacher and only got up because he wanted another turn. (At least a dozen times in 5 minutes.) He correctly identified all the colors and matched pictures.

One classroom aide leaned over and commented to me that his understanding and participation had grown by leaps and bounds over the summer.

And then, we went home. Snuck in a nap. Went to occupational therapy. And terrorized the house till daddy came home.

His first day of class was the next day. You’ve never seen a kid so excited! Again he picked his clothes. Got his meds. And then was ready too early and stir crazy till I said we could go.

They changed the drop off for school. Instead of meeting with the other preschoolers which was a lot of walking, we meet where the busses drop off the other kids headed to the medical wing. It’s nice to not walk so far, but was very, very busy.

Patrick couldn’t take his eyes off the busses. (Therefore, I don’t have a single picture of him looking at the camera when I dropped him off.)

In this picture he’s signing “bus” to explain why he won’t look at the camera

But he was happy and at ease as soon as we met the same classroom aide at the door. I left him with her and he happily went off to class.

I came home and attempted what I hope will become a new tradition. I went for a jog.. well, ok, a walk with a few minutes of running mixed in. But it hurt like a jog.

3 hours went fast this time. Perhaps cuz I worse myself out. Or because there is so much I wanted to get done.

I was thrilled to find one of my favorite moms from last year picking up her son from kindergarten at the same door. Patrick was less impressed by that, though. They told me he’d had a great day, completely at ease and happy to be there.

Walking to class
In the shadow on the right, you can see him walking to the door with Miss Wendy.

He napped more easily than he has for months.

Yup, we’re happy Patrick’s back in school and can’t wait to see what he learns. I’m also so happy for him to be back with friends.

First day of school
Instead of cheese, I told him to say “I’m going to school!” Can you sense some excitement?


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