A Journey with Love and Laughter

Read about our family as we journey through life as a family, with siblings, school and spina bifida, and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

School Transition

Our 2 years at Campbell's Children's School is coming to a close.
I am so incredibly thankful that we were able to have our time at Campbell's with the support and therapies and inclusion.
Nick is not the kid with the disability and the wheelchair and other equipment in the class. The one that is different. Nick is the same as all of his other classmates, there are many classmates with equipment and wheelchairs or walkers. They have a group called Wild Wheelers every week!

His class only has 10 kids, 1 teacher and 2 EA's. So there is a lot of support.
And I don't have a lot of concern when Nick is in school.

So we had a transition meeting with Campbell's and Nick's home school.
The school board, CCAC (which is community nursing), the principal of the new school and the special education teacher (called a SERT) where there to learn about Nickolas and his needs. Nick's therapists (speech, physio and occupational) as well as his class teacher were there to tell everyone about Nick's needs and experiences.

I was ready with my updated pamphlet for everyone. And printed out enough copies for everyone to have.

And then everyone had an opportunity to talk. It was good for us to learn where Nick is as well.
I had my whole binder all ready and prepared, and also had resources from the spina bifida and hydrocephalus association for educators. 

Speech therapy will not be a problem, he will be discharged from them in June (as he ages out) and she doesn't think he needs to continue. Which is good, because the waiting list is 2 years (so that means 2 years without therapy, unless we pay for it privately).

We talked about his needs for the classroom, and what kind of equipment he will have. That is all OT, so we will have an OT assessment and recommendations. Nick will have his computer and his walker that will go to the school. He also uses a stander, which we don't have at home, so I'm not sure if this is his or not for school or just a loaner.
Nick will need enough room to move around the room.

The SERT teacher and principal also needed to know about what kind of help he would need. This is for EA requests. The EAs are part of the school and not assigned to any individual child. Morning, recesses, lunch and home time would all be times he would need extra help getting shoes/boots on and ready to go outside. Transferring between stander he will definitely need help, but I don't think he will need help to get in and out of his wheelchair to walker.

It's hard, because we want to plan for needs he will have for the school year. And like a lot of stuff when you are applying for government things you want to be harshly realistic. There is a lot of support that he currently gets at Campbell's and we need to remember that he will now be 1 kid in 30, instead of currently 1 in 10 (with 2 EAs), but all of those 10 have special needs.
It is so hard to know what we don't know.

I'm worried that we are missing stuff (and even now I can't remember half of the things that we talked about) so we are trying to have another organization (Resources for Exceptional Children) come to school meetings to help to support us and help us with the system. I'm hoping that at an upcoming PA Day for Nick we can go to the new school and explore a bit. Nick already knows their yard (including the accessibility issues with the yard) from Katheryn's Sparks nights.

I think there is going to be an OT assessment to try to address some of the issues; like only one independently accessible exit, and one other door but a pretty inaccessible yard door, which has a ramp with a step up and a door that opens over the ramp. They will also look at the classroom and other (?bathroom) issues we might come across.

I am so glad that we have Campbell's because they pretty much are able to talk to all of the issues and Kyle and I were just there for the ride. And they will continue to be there for a resource for us and the school as needed.

Both Nick and Katheryn are excited to be together next year!

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