I hear plenty about the 4K classroom and how my youngest’s day at school went. She shows me the new Disney Princess book she got from the library, the letter C project they worked on today in writing, the hanging spiders that had to stay at school, and I know all of her friends’ names. I usually hear a briefer version from my teenager as well. But for my middle child, who has Down Syndrome and limited vocabulary, I don’t hear it from her.
She has limited vocabulary and will tell me that she had a good day, but other than that I am completely dependent on the school staff on telling me what she is working on in school. In other words, I usually guess by her behavior.
Except we are blessed. We have teachers that go above and beyond.
Relocating and leaving her last team was very hard for me. Every time I was at her school her case manager or one of her aides would let me know how her day went. When I stopped there on her last day her teacher gave me a gift for her new staff and school. A beautiful book filled with photos of her days, her staff, and antecdotes of her school self. I can fill in her home life, but I can’t decribe school. She made it by hand and it is the best gift we could have been given. It told her new staff more than an IEP ever could and I was given the gift of more knowledge of my non-verbal girl.
Over summer she worked one on one with a wonderful teacher who challenged her and rewarded her just as much. Yes, we were lucky enough to be the only elementary age special needs student enrolled, but this teacher gave her all to my girl. And told me daily at pickup how those days went.
And her new school…I’m not sure if we are insanely blessed with a great teacher or if amazing communication is this school’s norm, but I get daily notes. I learn of her successes and what she did during the day. I also get communication from her 3rd grade classroom. In the past we have been stuck in an in-between where the regular education teacher tends to assume her case manager passes along everything and possibly vice versa.
But right now, I’m only going to get a yes or no reply to “did you have a good day?” But that’s okay because I know how it did go. I know that she enjoyed the water play on the field trip, that she actually ate peas one day at lunch, she can almost roller skate, and that she learned to play Connect Four with a classmate. I was also given the gift of knowledge and that is priceless.