So once again, life has taken over. Since my last blog post, a lot has changed. I quit my job as a Vision Teacher in the Dallas ISD. There are a number of reasons why, but the main one is that I was spread too thin and emotionally drained. I don’t regret going back to school in the years I stayed home with Kendall. I certainly learned a lot that will help support Kendall’s education. I will continue to pay it forward and help other moms navigate the system and advocate for their own children. And, as luck would have it, I was able to go back to work for the company I worked for when Kendall was born. (A job I never would have thought about leaving if Kendall had been a “typically developing” childJ ) So it all worked out. I’m able to get my children up, dressed, and fed each morning, and see them out the door. I also have more flexibility for the plethora of appointments and school meetings raising Kendall requires.
This school year couldn’t have gone better. We have been so supported at our HOME CAMPUS! Kendall was truly educated side by side with her non-disabled peers the maximum amount of time possible! She only left for Resource classes twice during the day (and only for 30 minutes) She had teachers that made certain Kendall was included, and also welcomed her nurses and support staff into the classroom. Our district did an amazing job ensuring that her IEP was honored and that it was as natural as possible. The level of professionalism this year by her team and the administrators was remarkable.
We added a Behavior Specialist to the mix. She created a “token economy” behavior system for Kendall and made a video that gives step by step ways to positively encourage Kendall to show us what she knows! This video is easily passed on to those who work with her.
Although IEP time makes me stress a little, this year was much better than the past. I feel like the Diagnostician, Assistant Principal, teachers, and related services really listened to my concerns and shared in our family’s vision for Kendall. I’m confident this next year of progress monitoring will be better and make more sense, since we have more of a concrete plan written in to her IEP. I'm also extremely excited about the focus on literacy in first grade! I have no doubt next year I will be able to say she is a reader!!
We are finally on the right path with the communication device. Her speech pathologist at school has gone above and beyond to learn the ins and outs of the selected device, and also is training others how to use it. Kendall’s IEP requires her to use it three times in each class. I sleep better at night knowing that this is progress for her and a means to her independence and ending communication frustrations for her. We are going to do our best to continue that at home throughout the summer.
We have faced a lot of decisions regarding Kendall’s health this year. Tonsils and hip surgery are inevitable, but I’m still in denial about both. Kendall’s eyes are finally healing from the 5 surgeries this year…and we finally will have a three month break from eye exams under anesthesia. But despite all the absences Kendall had this year, she still did amazing!
This life of ours is not always easy. I still have my moments of anger and hostility toward the universe for how hard things can be for Kendall Ann. But overall, we seem to be plugging along! There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t count my blessings for our loving and supportive family and friends, our nurses, and school staff. Life is a precious gift, and I cherish every day of it!