The Power of Inclusion

When all kids are included, accommodated and set up for success, everyone wins.

Maintaining a positive relationship with T’s school is a priority for the hubby and I.

We try to be open, transparent and collaborative with his teachers and principal.

We shared his recent FASD diagnosis and we’re thankful his school has been so supportive.

We’re blessed T has a super organized teacher and a dedicated Child and Youth Worker.

Having an Independent Education Plan (IEP) is helpful. It doesn’t mean that less is expected of him, but that he is set up for success.

Grade 1 has had ups and downs, including: a period of disruptive behaviour, his CYW’s unexpected departure, and adjusting to changes to his medication.

But as life with T continues to show us, when we persevere, we get through the rough patches.

As we entered the second half of the school year, I feel hopeful we’ve settled into a positive rhythm.

His new CYW is great. She is experienced and has kept routines that T’s previous CYW used.

T’s teacher’s extra homework is making a positive difference. It’s part of our evening and weekend routine and we see a confidence for academics developing in T.

The school was also able to fast track an OT assessment for T to help identify the cause of his disruptive behaviors – such as “digging” and “thrashing” movements and “buzzer sounds” – and to identify strategies to reduce or replace these behaviors.

It’s normally a two-year waitlist but he had his first in-class assessment this week, two months after the request was submitted.

I feel grateful for the school’s effort, because it demonstrates they understand T’s behaviours aren’t “bad” or intentional, but rather because of a disability – including impulse control issues.

Gym class has also been a struggle for T. He is not keen to participate and for his recent report card, his teacher wasn’t able to give him a grade for “Dance,” because she didn’t have any evidence.

During the week before Spring Break that T had to stay home because of a cold, his gym teacher asked if we could complete a dance assignment with T: work with T to create a dance to The Gummy Bear song with different movements that show opposites – e.g. up and down.

I joked with the hubby that it was a fake assignment and the teacher was fucking with us.

It was the last homeschool assignment we had to do with T before Spring Break and we filmed it 8 hours before we woke up to leave for the airport.

While it was not Britney Spears level choreography, T did a super cute job.

After we submitted the video separately to T’s teacher and his gym teacher, his teacher e-mailed to let us know she will suggest to T’s gym teacher that similar future assignments can be completed at home, where T is more comfortable.

My initial reaction was, “Oh God! Please don’t punish us like this!”

But I then realized how amazing it was to have a teacher willing to work within T’s comfort level to maximize his success.

The hubby and I gladly agreed and thanked her for her inclusive and accommodating approach.

On the Sunday before return to school, the hubby worked with T to make two birthday cards for classmates.

His teacher provides a monthly calendar that includes student birthdays as a way to encourage classmates to think about others.

I remember how happy T felt last month when his classmates created cards for him so we reminded T about the importance of paying things forward.

The rainbow cards he created, pictured at the top, were lovely!

This past week, I celebrated my birthday and got my own homemade cards from T. I put them on my home office desk.

I don’t wish for much during birthdays nor need anything other than my loved ones’ happiness.

Although this homemade carrot cake by the hubby was delicious!

T had an amazing return to school after Spring Break. 5 out of 5 great days of following routines, participating in class and completing his work.

That was the best birthday gift I could ask for and I hope his positive momentum continues.

The past week’s spelling test.

22 thoughts on “The Power of Inclusion

  1. “When all kids are included, accommodated and set up for success, everyone wins.” Truly beautiful and priceless. Happy Birthday my Friend. Wishing you all the happiness, love, blessings, good health and many memorable adventures. Carrot cake looks delicious. Simplest of celebrations are the ones filled with sweet love and joy that warms our hearts and memories always. Congrats to T and to you and your Hubby. And yo his teachers and school staff. It is very important to acknowledge the hard work of everyone that contributes to the successful learning and growth of our children including our children themselves. The dance assignments sounds like a fun family activity. Builds up our kids …even parents dancing skills and confidence. Happy Birthday once again and May all your heart dreams come true.🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re laughing now. Just imagine having to choreograph an off-the-cuff routine for him. 😆 I didn’t sign up to be a stage mom. 😆

      The cake was indeed yummy. T said he wants one instead of a Dairy Queen cake next year! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Happy belated birthday!! Glad to hear that T is feeling supported and that his new CYW is working out. I don’t remember learning dance in gym class, but that sounds amaaaaazing. That’s awesome that T’s teacher has suggested an alternative approach that works better for T. How fun for you to be a part of it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our birthdays are just days apart as I just celebrated mine a few days ago. Happy belated birthday to you, Ab!

    It’s really heartening to see how far T’s teachers are willing to go to ensure optimum development and learning experience for him. It sounds like they not only do their job, but they actually care about T, which is very sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, happy belated birthday to you, Bama! Mine was on Wednesday. 😉 So maybe even on the same day!

      We are very fortunate to have an amazing support system in T’s school. I know it won’t always be like this so going to enjoy and maximize this time while we can. 😊🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like things have been well. I’m so proud of T’s growth & happy for you all. It’s nice to have a great support system in the school staff. For months I’ve been receiving offers to teach & today is day 3 of the teachers strike here. I never liked teaching in a structured environment when children learn differently, those days are long gone for me. You all keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We’re thrilled at the progress and can only hope and work hard to help T keep up the momentum. 😊🙏

      Sorry about the teachers strike and hope it is resolved soon to everyone’s benefit.


  5. There is so much awesomeness is this post. First, happy birthday! So glad it was a nice week returning to school – that is a gift! And second, like the new blog title. Third, I’m laughing at the at-home dance routine jokes.

    And of course, I love how you walk us through all the work of it and show us the wisdom of the never-ending love, support and kindness to others for T. It inspires me every time I read one of your posts.

    Hope you enjoy the weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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