Planning and Collaborating for School Success

Week 1 of Grade 2 is in the history books!

We stepped into the school year with cautious optimism. T ended Grade 1 on a positive note but entered the new year without a dedicated CYW.

School is often a challenging journey for kids with FASD. This year, we will build on T’s many strengths and try different approaches based on lessons learned to support his needs.

Raising Awareness

The super team at FASD Caregivers Success created this awesome Understanding Me document that explains what FASD is and lets parents fill in info about their child’s strengths and needs.

The hubby and I will give it to T’s teacher and we think it’ll help them develop his IEP and understand him better.

Establishing Routines

Following routines is important, as is understanding the trigger points during the day.

Last year, it was often the after school bus ride to daycare that caused issues.

We asked the daycare staff if they could have a debrief as he gets off the bus, to let him share any issues so they can course correct.

They said it may not always be possible, given staff resources, but we are thankful they are willing to try where possible.

Helping Develop Independence

When we debriefed with T’s teacher and CYW at the end of Grade 1, they said T needs to practice getting settled in class and packing up at the end of the day. So we’re working on it.

I also mentioned T’s writing needs improvement.

His teacher suggested making writing practice purposeful and one idea is to get T to contribute ideas to our weekly grocery list.

So we put up a magnetic whiteboard from the dollar store on our fridge. Before I do groceries, I ask T to write requests down. Yes, we need to work on healthier requests – and spelling “marshmallow” – but one step at a time!

Adjusting Medications

Before school started, we met with T’s developmental pediatrician to ask about adjusting his medications.

The hubby read other parents rave about Guanfacine and how it helps with mood issues often seen with ADHD meds.

So we started T on Guanfacine in addition to Biphentin – and stopped Methylphenidate – on Day 1 of school. I’ll share an update in a future post.

Creating Weekend Learning Opportunities

We’re in the camp that thinks giving kids homework is beneficial, so long as it’s low stress and about practicing concepts.

We’re continuing reading practice and while we wait for T’s new teacher to assign school books, I borrowed these T-friendly library books.

We also have worksheets left from T’s Grade 1 teacher that she gave for summer practice. We’ll finish them over the coming weekends.

This weekend, T started swim lessons! More on this fun new activity in a future update.

Teamwork Is Key

As T’s parents, we have to trust in the school and daycare staff whom T spends a substantial chunk of his days with.

Advocacy, checking in and course correcting are key. Genuine and respectful collaboration is essential. This means give and take – and understanding T is one of many kids in the mix.

It’s not always easy, especially when I feel the anxiety of lost resources. But we’ve been blessed the school and daycare support, accommodate and understand T so far.

Marathon Not Sprint

This continues to be a hard lesson for me – but I’m taking it easier; not just because I feel tired at times.

It doesn’t means I’m less attentive – but it’s about picking and choosing my battles and focusing on the big picture and not sweating the small stuff.

T feeds off our energy and taking a measured calmer approach benefits us all.

Have Fun

We’re making a concerted effort to celebrate every success and to savour them – to be in the moment and not worry about the next speedbump.

Week 1 of school was short – three days – and T had an awesome first week.

His school has a new CYW that serves the entire school, instead of just T, but she spent a large chunk of the first week with T.

She gave detailed updates each day and we saw a lovely note for T in his bag on Friday night and put it up on our fridge (above), so T can share in the proud moment:

“T, you did an excellent job all day today. I’m so very proud of you. Keep up the good work.”

This was a wonderful way to end T’s first week and I hope it sets up a foundation for the road and its ups and downs ahead.

Best wishes to all parents, caregivers, children, teachers and school staff in the year ahead!

23 thoughts on “Planning and Collaborating for School Success

  1. That’s wonderful the first week went well, that set’s him up for the following weeks. I am so glad the staff is working out. What a great idea having T write his grocery store list and I still love that you give him a note to read everyday at school. It sure seems like you are doing everything right, Ab, you definitely got this! 💕

    1. Thanks Diane. I hope so. You’ve worked with special needs kids/adults, so you know the needs and accommodations are lifelong. But you take it a day at a time!

  2. Glad to hear that T had an awesome first week of school!! Woohoo! Here’s to hoping that the rest of the school year will go as smoothly. P.S. I never would have guessed that the second word on T’s grocery list was marshmallow!

    1. Thanks Linda. Hard to believe it’s week three already. Time seems to just fly. And yes, it doesn’t quite look like marshmallows to me either. 😆

  3. Looks like T went through his first week of Grade 2 quite well. So happy to hear that! Here’s to more ‘successful’ weeks and months ahead! But when there is a hiccup, don’t forget to take a rest, drink, take a deep breath, and continue moving, one step at a time.

    1. Thanks Bama! 🙂 Today is Friday and second week almost done too and went ok. Fingers crossed is 5/5 good days. 🙂 And good advice for when it goes sideways as it sometimes does! Enjoy your upcoming weekend. 🙂

  4. Looks like a good start. Love the note from the CYW! And the idea of the white board on the fridge. But I’m wondering in the first note, who is swinging and who is standing?

    Our school teachers are on strike so Miss O hasn’t started Grade 2 yet (I’m hoping we’ll start this next week). Thanks for showing us how it’s done!

    1. Thanks Wynne. The dads are on the swing and T is standing. 😂

      I’m very sorry about your school situation. I didn’t realize you’ve been on strike all this time! I hope the kids get to back to school soon!

      1. I’m sure there will be some bumps, but it sounds like between the teahers/faculty & daycare you all have cultivated a community of support. Plus, you are consistently on my prayer list.

      2. Thank you Tammy! We are very lucky to have a great group of support and I hope it stays that way. The prayers are very appreciated. 😊🙏

  5. I can’t imagine how hard it can be for a child to take ADHD meds and even to change them. I hope T will benefit from Guanfacine.

    I read “monstersmelow” and I loved the word. 🙂 He’ll get better with the practice, patience, and love you’re both giving to him. I wish all the best to the three of you.

    1. Thanks Maja! I was very apprehensive about medication for a long while – and it’s not something for all families, I realize – but I’m glad we did it for T. It wasn’t and isn’t an easy decision and one we definitely proceed with lots of consultation with his pediatrician. Here’s hoping the new medication adjustments make a positive longterm impact. 🤞🏻🙏

  6. Caregiver Success! Jeff Noble! An amazing man! I am so in awe of how you all are advocating and learning and doing with T! So amazing! So many parents and caregivers and educators can learn from you! Have a wonderful 2nd week! You got this T!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. I’m a huge fan of the team at Caregiver Success. They do a great job in supporting and informing caregivers and families. 😊 And yes, we’re thankful for the good start to the year and look ahead to week 2 and the rest of the year with optimism. Hope your family is off to a good start to school too!

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