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.
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.
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!
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.
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!