Monday, July 20, 2009

The best summer ever...

I feel bad to say again that it has been awhile since I have posted. Seems like I can't get my routine together this summer. Well, actually that isn't true...I have just been lazy about blogging.

This really has been the best summer ever for us. I can remember very vividly the anger I felt after Alex was diagnosed and finding that he would start school in March but then for the summer I was left to figure out what to do with him. I remember thinking he would be getting used to a schedule/routine then it would all change for 3 months! This is why I am sooooo in favor of year round school.

Finding programming for the summer for a preschooler was basically impossible. There are a lot of "camps" for school aged children but not for preschoolers. At this early stage (the first summer after being diagnosed) he really needed more therapy based programming and I was just having a hard time finding that. I mentioned before the Hahn-Hufford Center for Hope in Piqua, OH. They became my saving grace. We did 6 weeks of programming over the summer but the time commitment as his mom and with a toddler to take care of as well was a lot for me.

We struggled with each summer after that even taking him to Camp Allyn of Stepping Stones in Cincinnati (an hour and a half away) and staying with family while he attended their daycamp a few weeks through the summer. Last year we tried a YMCA daycamp where I worked. I was really searching for a program that he could attend about 3 days a week and the other days he would spend with me and his sister to help him understand what summer vacation was. Also, we had some extended school year programming (tutoring) with his teacher and I was trying to figure out when to fit that in. Well, the camp was for an entire week and I had to pay for the entire week whether he went or not. So, on a few of the days each week I would take him out early and have him meet with his teacher. This was hard to schedule and I am sure was confusing to my structured child as the days he saw her changed. Maybe this was good for him but I'm not sure.

This summer is a completely different story. The school we transferred to has a summer enrichment program (we call it "camp"). I sent both kids 3 days a week with the exception of a few weeks where I had the kids with me or we had other things planned. Once a week, his teacher has offered to take him and work on some skills he is lacking in anticipation of what will be required of him in second grade. This in itself makes me cry because she is doing this on her own (not through the school) and won't let me pay her. The camp has been very accepting of Alex and he is very excited to go each day. Simone is also enjoying it but quickly informed me that they days they aren't there (T/TH) is when the camp goes on field trips to places like the movies and putt putt golf, etc. So, this week I'm letting them go on Thursday so they can go on the big field trip to Cosi. To top it off, Alex's teacher is going too. This makes mom's anxiety level low :)

It has been quite expensive for us to send both kids 3 days a week. When we originally planned to do this I thought I would have a part-time job. Well, I don't. We are using our flexible spending account but still it is a lot. I'm thinking that we will just do the two days a week next week which would cost less and that way the kids can go on the field trips. The days they are going this year (M/W/F) are days the camp goes to the pool and I miss laying by the pool with my kids :) Or, who knows, maybe I'll have a job and they will go more next never know!

Quite a few people have commented to me on how much he has grown. My pastor (who in her past life was an occupational therapist) asked me specifically what was different between the school we are at now and the school we were at because she sees such a change in him. It is hard to say really because I totally loved his special ed teacher at our old school. Maybe it is because he was immediately included in a real 1st grade class for most of the day and "forced" to socialize in the classroom at our new school. Before we moved, he was kept a lot of the day in the special ed classroom but went to the 1st grade class for some of the day. I think the goal was to increase his time in the 1st grade classroom but we moved not long after school started so that didn't happen. Or, maybe it is because he is just having a growth socially. I feel that he often grows either socially or academically but not both at the same time. All I know is that I am loving our new school and the way they have approached Alex's education. Now, that being said...every year is different so we'll see what happens this year. I pray for the best!