Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kindergarten, Take 2

Another post from my drafts on Joshua's educational experiences:

After 2 weeks in Kindergarten at one school...Joshua was "moved" to a kindergarten class in another elementary school in town. And I was about to throw up. But at one of our "meetings," Mrs. Thomas, a teacher from the other elementary school, met with us, along with all of the therapists who would be working with Joshua.  I was immediately calmed by Mrs. Thomas' demeanor and her knowledge of children with Special Needs. Turns out, she had taught in a regular class previously, but, for the past few years, she had taught in a Special Needs class. We decided to give it a try.

Joshua didn't seem to be traumatized by the move to a new school AT ALL. The Kindergarten teacher they chose for him at the new school was not the most ideal choice for him, but...whatcha gonna do? She basically tolerated Joshua in her class, and had him in there the minimum amount of time required on his IEP. But, knowing the majority of his day would be spent with Mrs. Thomas, I felt okay about it.

It was a long, hard year...not gonna lie. But, every week we saw improvement and learning. Mrs. Thomas really encouraged us with Joshua's progress. At the end of the year, we met again with allllll of the professionals and administration at the school who were even remotely involved with Joshua's education. And even some who were not. Seriously, how one little guy could be upsetting the apple-cart all over town was beyond me.  The consensus of the group was for Joshua to have another year of Kindergarten, and we agreed.

And leave it to Mrs. Thomas...she had found the perfect teacher for Joshua...and the teacher WANTED Joshua to be in her class. I just about cried.

No, I'm sure I did cry.

That Fall, Joshua started Kindergarten again with Kim Rupard. Ms. Rupard was a sweet, sweet young teacher...very loving and fun, but also firm (altho she says that she found it really hard to be too firm with Joshua, because he just loved her so much!). Joshua was scheduled to only be in her class for certain things, and for as long as he could handle the structure. The rest of the time, he would be receiving instruction in Mrs. Thomas' class. But, Ms. Rupard...she had a heart for Joshua and anytime her class was doing something extra recess...a birthday party...or if someone brought a puppy...she would send for him and he would come from Mrs. Thomas' class and get to be a part of the fun stuff.

This was also the year that he met Lindsey Walker. Lindsey Walker was the daughter of one of the other teachers, and she was one of the kids in Ms. Rupard's class. Lindsey Walker became Joshua's friend, confidant, protector and helper. She tried to be his boss (and Heaven knows he needed a lot of help), but he fought that tooth and nail. He's pretty stubborn. But she stuck around anyway. It's just really rare to find a Kindergartner with enough maturity and sensitivity to take a kid who is "different" under their wing...but Lindsey Walker did. She loved him, helped him and fought for him. She even fought with him when she had to! They stayed friends all the way through school...until graduation.

I am so thankful for the efforts and influence of teachers in Joshua's life. The school years that were great for Joshua...were the years that he had really great teachers. Teachers make ALL the difference.

"...whatever you did for one of the least of did for Me." Matthew 25:4

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