Monday, February 21, 2011

Communication - Simple and Glorious

Communication with Ayla can sometimes be very frustrating.....sometimes it can be simple and glorious.

Here's our dinner conversation tonight as Ayla was deciding that she was finished her meal:

Mummy: "Would you like some chicken?"...I place the chicken on Ayla's tray table.

Ayla: *picks up chicken.....drops over the side of the tray table on to the floor*

Daddy: "Do you want some noodles?"....Daddy places a small handful of noodles on the tray table.

Ayla: *picks up noodles.....drops them over the side of the tray table and on to the floor*

I think that's pretty clear.....and glorious.....and kinda funny.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

First Day at School #2

Here is another very image heavy post. It was Ayla's first day at her Special school today, and another School Uniform. A fairly quiet day of getting to know the kids, the teachers and the Conductor (Gabi). Gabi is the person who is liaising with the teachers to create a program very similar to Conductive Education for our school.....and so far, I quite like her attitude to Special Ed. Anyone who stresses the importance of good nutrition for kids like ours gets a big TICK of approval from me :).
Ayla has made a gorgeous little friend already and surprisingly they both look very similar with their hair in piggy tails.
If you have read the earlier posts regarding Special Education here in Canberra, you will know that Steven and I have invested a lot of time into making, what we consider to be, 'improvements' to the school that Ayla is attending. Our philosophy has been that it is not enough to deal with a child's mobility impairment by plonking them in a wheelchair and concentrating on other things. That's not to say that a wheelchair won't be on the cards and it most certainly isn't implying that choosing a wheelchair for a child means that you're not working on their mobility challenges. Just that we don't think it's acceptable in a Special school situation where the children attend the school to get extra help with their challenges. The Conductive Ed program is really just the beginning and it is looking to be an exciting year for all of us. Will keep you posted when I am sure that my little something exciting is going ahead at school....
We have just finished the chook pen at the school and tomorrow I will be planting seedlings in the vege garden. And I think the chookies will be arriving late next week!

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Day at School #1

My big girl had her first day at school today......well, school #1 anyway. Monday and Tuesday are Ayla's mainstream school days, a day off on Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday are 'Special' School days....for a little while.
There were no tears from either of us. Tears were never going to happen on Ayla's part because she was way too excited about her return to school and playtime with the kids. She barely blinked when I said goodbye.
I didn't cry but I did choke up a couple of times. The first when I saw her all dressed in her uniform and surrounded by the other kids in her class. It was just amazing that we had made it that far. There was a time when I thought it may never happen. The next time I choked up was when a few kids were genuinely excited to see her at school and wanted to say hello. That probably sounds silly to most of you but when your child is the only non-neurotypical kid in a class full of neurotypical kids AND it's obvious that the other kids are VERY well aware of your child's differences, it does warm your heart to realise that they don't care and they still like her.
The third and last time I choked up was when the Principal of the school approached me. How wonderful and comforting to have the Principal come up to me and say, "I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have Ayla here today and for this year". We may have had to forego on the Steiner school down here, but it's an amazing experience to have absolutely NO obstacles to your child just being one of the kids in a mainstream school.
Ayla had an awesome day, beginning with squealing and giggling with excitement all the way to school, and roping several innocent bystanders into tickling her hands! She was totally exhausted when I picked her up at 1:30, but ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Learning to Say YES

I've had lots of lessons to learn over the years....we all do. Among my lessons has been learning to say 'NO' and not feeling guilty about it. My new lesson however, has been to learn to say 'YES', though not in the same context. 'NO' was about not taking on more than I could handle. You know how it goes.....a friend asks you a favour and then of course you say YES before thinking what that means....or you are asked out for lunch with a friend on the same day that you have 3 appointments and a tired child in tow....but you say yes because "I can totally make that work!". 'YES' this time around is saying 'YES' when I'm asked if I need some help.....Why yes, I do!!! I do need help with that door. Yes, I need help holding the umbrella whilst the rain is teeming down and I am trying to get Ayla out of the car and have us both remain dry. Yes, I really need help pushing Ayla's stroller whilst I carry a heavy box. And 'YES', I would really like some help with Ayla's ABR therapy. I know my little profile to the right says, "I'm a mother, carer, therapist, advocate, and fundraiser for my daughter Ayla, a wife and friend to my amazing husband, and a crafter.....and sometimes a little tired", and I know that sounds like I truly can do it all.....But I'm kidding myself. In that little comment, there is actually no room for me and I'm important too! So not only did I say 'YES' when the help was offered.....I actually asked for the help and got it! I have someone coming to the house 3 days per week to help with Ayla's ABR. During that time, I find that little piece of myself that loves to cook and I cook my family a beautiful nutritious meal. In peace and quiet, with space in my head to think, organise and create!