So, my baby girl has only one more class left at the most wonderful school on Earth, AKA Spokane Guild's and Neuromuscular Center, and frankly I am quite depressed about it. I know I've said it before, many times, but it really is just an amazing place. Not only does it have the best therapists and teachers around but the love that pours out of everyone there for these kids is remarkable. I just KNOW that my baby is safe and loved for there, no doubt about it. They have even taken care of me, as Ella's mom, there, providing me with information, compassion, and understanding. They celebrate Ella's every tiny milestone, knowing that it is not tiny for her nor me. It's somewhere where I go and don't worry about Ella being stared at, about people not understanding her diagnoses. There they actually tell me things about Ella, and never do I feel the need to do research to inform them of things (like I have had to do, and still do, with so many of her doctors.) So yeah, it feels like we are moving away from family. (Of course I will continue to work there. Many people have asked me if I will stay there. I do actually work there, not in Ella's class, so it's totally separate than me being a parent there. I am SOOOO grateful that I will still be connected to this school, it makes Ella leaving just a tiny bit less painful.)
My worries about Ella entering public pre-school are many. Parents aren't really welcome to just come sit in the class and observe their child, (which is what I have done up until the last 2 months in which case I still went across the hall several times during Ella's class to check up on her) and therefore I will not know what Ella's every moment at school is like. I won't know if she cooperates for therapy and won't be there to make her listen, ha ha ha! I won't know if her feelings get hurt. I won't know if the "typical" kids in her class include her in play, etc. During Ella's IEP process the therapists and special education teacher decided that because Ella's cognitive scores and receptive language scores are so good that she will be in a "general education preschool," meaning typical 3 year olds. They can have up to 6 kids with some sort of special needs in this class and one aide that is assigned just to them. So, in case you all don't actually know Ella, she doesn't really like to listen sometimes, er, a lot of the time. If it's not her idea it's not happening, PERIOD!!! I am really really really hoping that Ella's love of copying other kids comes into play here, in a good way, and that if the other kids are sitting and listening to their teacher so will she. I know that Ella is going to be a wild woman in there in the beginning, whenever she is in a new place/new environment she frantically runs from one thing to another checking everything out. I worry that they won't give her a chance, I won't be there to explain that is how she is and that she will, hopefully, settle down. BUT, I am glad that they know that she is smart enough to be in this class. I would much rather her be the lowest functioning child in a class with a lot of kids to model after than the other way around. We will see how this all goes. I do plan on Tuesday and Thursday spy missions to the school, those are my days off : )
Now on to pictures and a little video. On Wednesday the Guild's School had a picnic for all of the families that helped do Penny Drive presentations this past school year. See they have this thing called the Kids for Kids Penny Drive, where one of the ladies from the school and a family with a kid in the school go to local elementary schools and tell all of the kids what the Guild School does for families. I have to tell you this is the greatest program ever. Not only does it raise a lot of money for the Guild School, if I am correct over $30,000 was raised this year, but these school age kids get to hear the story of a kid with a disability, they get to actually meet that kid and see that kid is just a kid. It was so touching. We had to opportunity to do about 9 presentations this past year. At the end of my little speech I would ask Ella if she would like to say hi to the kids at which time she would hold the microphone and YELL into it. Of course all of the kids would laugh which made Ella laugh and clap. Then Ella would get down and go meet her audience : ) The kids would swarm her. Getting down on their knees to shake her hand, it is quite the tear jerker to see these giant 5 grade boys drop down and oh and ah over Ella. Of course she ate it all up, ever the attention seeker!! The last presentation we did a little boy came up to me as the gym was clearing out, he said " I feel kind of sad for her." I asked him why and he said "because she has to work so hard." I said, "don't feel sad for her. She is happy and healthy she just has to work a little bit harder but she will be able to do anything." He said "well I still feel sad for her," and walked away. Though I don't want people to pity her I liked that this boy came up and told me that. Maybe just maybe he will remember Ella when he is older and will never tease a child with a disability, maybe even go out of his way to help one. You never know. I think this program is great and that it will help the chances of our children be accepted in school!!! Ok, phew, that was long. Anyhow the picnic was fun, we got to see a friend that graduated the Guild School last November, there was good food, and live music for the kids (which was super cute!!!) We also got to see an 8 year old girl with Down syndrome rocking out to the music with her mom, I'm telling you these two had some great moves!!! So here are a few pics and then a little video of Ella dancing, which is really her jumping. I'm sorry it's a little long, she is getting really tired of me being on the computer so no time to edit : ) Enjoy.
This is Ella and Mckenna. These two look a lot alike and also have a LOT of
similar mannerisms, it's so funny to watch. It's like looking a year into
the future for me! Mckenna is almost a year older than Ella and is about a foot taller : )
This is Ella and Piper. These two are 5 days apart! Piper was Ella first little friend her in Spokane!! They were in the same class for a little bit at school!
Now for the video : )