Today was the big day. Philip started at the “regular school.” This has been a dream of Philip’s since he met Michael over the summer. Michael communicates with a letterboard and keyboard like Philip which allows him to attend regular classes with an aide at the local public middle school. Back in June, Michael asked Philip if he wanted to learn grade-level material. He went on to talk about how popular he is at school and how the teachers there are great. Since then, Philip has repeatedly told me about wanting to “go to regular school,” “go to (name of school),” and wanting to “get an education like normal kids.” By mid-year, after failing to get his special school to implement using the letterboard for more age appropriate education, I finally made the push to get Philip’s way.
Today was bathed in prayer, just as Philip’s path to communication has been all along. Even getting Philip into his new school was at first a challenge as I was initially told there would be no available spots for Philip in the program Michael was in. Then seemingly out of nowhere, I got the call from the district special ed coordinator that there was now a spot for Philip available starting next month. The coordinator could tell I was excited and said, “Go have a glass of wine to celebrate.” I in turn told her, “Thank you for giving me the best birthday present ever!” Could it be coincidence to get the news on my birthday after all seemed hopeless? I remember exclaiming, “Thank you God!” after getting off the phone and praising Him in my heart.
This morning, Philip was in a very good mood and spelled I AM EXCITED. He also spelled DO YOU THINK I WILL DO WELL AT (name of school)? I answered, “Yes, I know you will. Everyday you show me how smart you are so I know you are ready. I believe God has opened the doors to go to this school because He knows you can do it too. If you ever feel anxious, I want you to remember this verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
As Philip left for school on the new bus, I felt more at peace than I thought I would. I knew no matter what might go wrong, it would be ok overall. I felt the prayers and encouragement of my friends who periodically called, texted, facebooked, or emailed they were thinking of Philip.
The teacher called me at the end of the day to let me know how it went. Philip did have a rough spell in the morning, but he impressed and encouraged his teachers the rest of the day by joining in with the class and even spelling a little. During his speech group when the kids were getting to know each other and stating an animal they like, Philip spelled I LIKE MICE. “The whole sentence?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. Philip also did math using his board with the head teacher. I told the teacher how excited I was because Philip does not usually spell with someone new and this was better than I had hoped for!
When Philip got home from school, I told him how proud I was of him for working so hard to accomplish his goal of going to school. I asked him, “How was school?” He first spelled IT EACH DAY WILL GET BETTER. I thought that was an interesting assessment. Philip already had a good perspective that though today was hard because of its newness, it would get easier to handle. I asked him to tell me more. He wrote:
I was excited. It was scary at first. There were so many looks from kids. I was nervous and tense. I had a meltdown. I am sorry it happened. After I calmed down I enjoyed school. I met my classmates. They are nice. I spelled with Ms. M (Philip spelled his teachers’ full names). I love spelling with Ms. M. She is so nice. I love needing to spell with all my teachers. Mr. B is a math teacher. I liked doing math. I like (school) because I like real life learning. I am eager to do best tomorrow. I am each day proud of myself for trying to meet my goals. I like (my new school) too much to go back to (my old school). I love my teachers. I love my education. I was going nowhere at (old school) but now I am going forward.
How were the academics?
It was more challenging.
How was controlling your body?
I had a hard time but I did it.
What was your overall feeling?
I am each day stressed but each day I am enlightened.
Is that a good thing?
Y (for yes).
First day- Feb. 24, 2014