We have been CRAZY busy around here. It’s the end of the school year, the end of Gracie’s year in the public preschool at the non-inclusive school, and we are busy trying to prepare everything for her to start kindergarten in the fall. I think it’s going to be good—her teachers have been so thorough and the accommodations section of her IEP is a mile long. They even thought of things like allowing her to have a chair during circle time so she’s not concentrating on sitting there and can pay attention to what the teacher is saying. It’s awesome.
We also had a transition meeting at Gracie’s new school last Monday. Even though our neighborhood school has fairly abysmal test scores and it’s far from Ivy League Prep, I feel like she’s going to do well there next year. Everyone is prepared for her—well, as prepared as they can be.
Another thing that’s been occupying our time has been the search for a new daycare. Our long-time daycare person can’t do it anymore; she is having some serious life crises and daycare is about the last thing she needs to worry about. I’ve made dozens of phone calls, trying to find a daycare that takes special needs kids and also will take a school-aged typical kid. It has been a process. Many people never returned my call. Some spoke to me, only to end the call when I asked if they took special needs kids. We finally found two candidates, but one of them wouldn’t take Jackson. We met her anyway, liked her, spoke to her for an hour, and then found out she won’t take Grace either because Grace doesn’t nap (she only wants little kids apparently). However, the second one might just work out. We’re set to start Gracie there on June 1. Thank goodness.
Throughout this whole process of preparing a school for Gracie and trying to find a daycare, it’s become painfully clear to me that the Gracie on paper is a very different child than the Gracie in real life. On paper, Gracie looks and sounds very scary. She has two major disabilities that affect many aspects of day-to-day life. She requires pages of accommodations just to get through kindergarten. She overheats, she wears gloves, she is blind, she needs help going potty, etc. etc. etc. I can imagine being intimidated too after hearing all the particulars.
The Gracie I know, though, isn’t scary. She is a really sweet girl who genuinely loves others and wants to make everyone laugh. She loves dolls. She loves horses. She loves to be pretty and wear nice clothes. She makes up funny stories and makes us laugh. She is incredibly bright and picks up on EVERYTHING. She also repeats everything, which can be awkward for us at times. But in so many ways, she’s just like so many other 4-year-old girls.
Once Gracie starts school and they get to know her, she’ll be fine. The teacher and her one-on-one will learn to recognize the signs that she’s overheating and get her cooling vest on her before anything bad happens. They will learn that she is eager to please and will try hard, but when things get tough she’s the master of avoidance. They will figure out that she’s sweet and fun and wants to be friends with everyone. They may even discover that she has this thing about calling one of the boys in her class “her boyfriend.” But most of all, they’ll figure out that she’s just a typical kid in so many ways. I’m excited for them to get to know her, and for her to get to show the world how amazing she is.