As I have mentioned before Sara started a new school this Sept. At her previous school we had begun to identify that Sara is able to “keep up” for Term 1 and Term 2 and then falls apart Term 3. Her transcripts show that for Grade 5 she was absent &/or late only 5 days in Term 1&2 combined. Term 3 there were 49 days impacted by her disabilities.
Grade 6 was much the same; she was only late/absent 16 days during the first 2 terms combined and 3rd term saw a whopping 55 days impacted by her disabilities. So we knew already that the school year was too long OR that we needed to shorten her school day so that she could maintain her energy level and be present for the 3rd Term.
We went to the school prepared to have this conversation. But we knew it wasn’t a priority as Term 1 is historically very successful. Except this time it wasn’t. It was disastrous. Every single thing there was new and it all overwhelmed her. She was exhausting herself as she sat there processing every new sound, face, wall color, all the new hallways, the posters on the walls, the new yard, the new textures on and on.
She was often bedridden and unable to come out of her self imposed sensory deprivation. Quite quickly the conversation came around to “How do we get her HERE??” So it was quickly teased out that she could be exempt from both Music and Gym. Both of these subjects are very difficult to someone with Dyspraxia. As well music class overwhelms her with all the music and chaos of an unstructured classroom.
As well we decided to temporarily omit her from Math class as it is first period every day and she was forgoing so much needed sleep in order to make it to a class that she has an LD in and does better when learning those concept during 1 on 1 teaching. Hopefully once she is adjusted she will resume math but have her curriculum modified long term. As well they gave us some temporary EA support and established 2 “safe” places that Sara could go whenever she is feeling overwhelmed.
One of these safe places is in the office. We have the most amazing secretary and early on she asked me what Sara’s issues were. I listed them all off and the first thing she said was “how can I help?”. I was floored. No one had ever replied in that way before and certainly no one who had no obligation to actually HELP her! So she asked a few questions about Sara and learned that they share a common love of loose tea and crocheting. So now Sara has an open invitation to go to the office and have tea with the secretary whenever she needs a break.
We still have a long way to go but each days she gets more and more comfortable there and gradually they are increasing the demands on her and starting to begin to teach her. She loves it there and thankfully (and unexpectedly) I am beginning to love it there also. To be honest I didn’t think public school was the right place for Sara this year. I really pushed to have her homeschool but she equally pushed back and now I am glad that I listened to her!