My life is much too busy lately. And it's my fault. I guess I thought it would be a good idea to over-extend myself just for fun. The good news? It's a temporary situation. Here's the schedule. Last weekend was Lila's birthday party. This weekend we're going to Dutch Wonderland with some friends. Next weekend is our women's club fundraiser- the biggest of the year. I'm working Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Wedged in between is the Down Syndrome Pumpkin Pick on Saturday. The following weekend is Parent's Weekend/Homecoming at Justin's school in Pennsylvania. Our local Buddy Walk is the next weekend. As I'm on the committee, I'll be busy Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The weekend after the Buddy Walk is Nick's high school reunion in New York. You get the picture. The thing is...............well, here's the thing. Even though I'm crazy busy with all that, my mind is completely somewhere else. I'm worried about Lila.
I mentioned in a couple of earlier posts that I am very concerned about the situation at Lila's school. They combined the special education preschool classes into one class this year. It's not something that could be helped, as the school's population tripled in size and I think they just ran out of classrooms. I feel that the ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) program got screwed, but that's just my opinion. So instead of having a maximum of 10 kids in the room with 2 teachers, there is now a maximum of 20 kids with 4 teachers (2 teachers, 2 aides). On their busiest day they only have 14 kids, but that's a lot of kids. That's a lot of noise. That's a lot of stimulation. For someone with sensory issues, like Lila, that could mean a lot of trouble. And it looks like that's what is happening.
I have heard from both teachers and both aides that they are having problems with Lila. She's not listening very well. It seems that Lila is one of their problem children as we definitely aren't getting positive feedback like other parents are. If I thought this was strictly a discipline problem I wouldn't be so worried right now. Somehow I just don't think it is. Lila's actually been getting better at listening when she's at home, especially on the weekends. During the week, when I pick her up from school, she's exhausted but too stimulated to sleep at nap time. I brush her and do joint compressions, which calms her down quite a bit, but I still have to hold her very firmly and rock her until she goes to sleep. That usually takes 15-20 minutes when she's been at school but much less time on the weekends. In the evenings on school days it is a battle to get her to go to sleep- even when she's exhausted. She has also started crying out in her sleep which she has never done before. I don't feel that it's a coincidence that these things have started happening since the beginning of school. I think the combined classroom is too much for her.
The thing is, she loves school. She loves her friends at that school. She loves the teachers and the aides. And they care about her so much. I don't know what to do! After school today I had a good discussion with one of Lila's teachers- not the one from last year, but her new teacher that was in the other class last year. While we talked, one of the aides voluntarily walked around with Lila so that I could talk without being distracted. The teacher didn't have to stand around with me for that long after school. And the aide definitely wasn't obligated to play with Lila so that we could talk. These people genuinely care about my daughter! I don't feel like I'm fighting the system, I just feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I don't feel like this is the best situation for Lila but pulling her out will mean taking her away from everything she knows and is comfortable with! As I pulled away from the school, I started singing "You are my sunshine" to Lila, like I do every day. (Singing calms her down when nothing else will, so I usually try to sing with her the whole way home.) I didn't even make it through "you make me happy" and I was bawling like a baby. That in itself hacked me off because I had just showered and my makeup was freshly done. HA! I realize that I'm running on very little sleep and a crazy schedule but this is a big issue and must be resolved for her sake.
Tomorrow we have an appointment with our private OT, Kelly. Kelly and I have been talking about the combined classroom and she's very concerned about over-stimulation. She said from the beginning that it might be way too much for Lila to handle and that we would have to keep a close eye on her. Nick has tomorrow off and will be going with me to the OT appointment so we'll all be able to talk and decide what the next step should be. I would like for Kelly to observe Lila in the classroom setting but will need to convince the school administration that we're not requesting this because we're unhappy with the school. On the contrary. Lila has great teachers, aides and therapists. We're very happy there. We just want our old set-up back, with 2 classrooms. Since that isn't going to happen, we have to decide how to move forward and what will be in Lila's best interest.
I realize this is not a very upbeat post and I still need to post pictures from the birthday party but I really needed to get this off my chest.
Opinions and feedback are always welcome~