Vince started first grade yesterday. So far, so good…. If he only knew how many days he has left in school….
It seems as if you have a kid with special needs the ultimate goal is for the child to be happy. About school, language, society the big secret lies within ‘as long as s/he is happy’.
As long as Vince is happy that is what matter, and that should be what defines the challenges in his life.
On the other side, if you have a child without special needs, happiness is taken as a given. Or at least not as a defined goal when it comes to planning the child’s elementary education plan.
Do you realize exactly how ridiculous that is?
I mean, all parents who do NOT want their kids happy, please stand up and put your hand up now.
No, I did not think so.
If you have a kid without special needs (and guess what, I have one of those too so I have some insight) the expectations are rarely for the child to ‘just be happy’. And I am not minimizing the importane of happiness in ones life, not at all, but really? My kid has Down syndrome, and therefore as long as he is happy in school I should be fine with that?
No, I do not believe in that.
I believe he will have to be rather unhappy quite a lot of times. He is happy when he gets to do what he wants to. Does that mean he should be allowed to sit and eat candy and play on his i-pad and take breaks whenever he wants to? Does that mean he should play with the knights and the castle till he is 15, just because that is what makes him happy? Is that how life is and will be for him in the future?
At least my life is not always going as planned (and just as a side note, I chose happy).
So about school again, I want Vince to be challenged to his fullest ability, if that means learning to read when he is 8,12 or 22, is really not the point. That he is challenged after his own ability, and not after what someone else thinks he can do, is what matters. If it means that he will not learn to read because he simply can not, well then we will have to live with that, but if it is because the educational system can not find his channel to learn, him being happy just will not be enough.
You know the saying reach for the stars, it really does not make a difference the number of chromosomes you have. We still aim high for both our kids.
Filed under: bilingual Down Syndrome, Disability, Down Syndrome, Dreams, Happiness, Just Life, Life, Reading, School, Sweden | Tagged: down syndrome, education, Happiness, School, special needs | 10 Comments »
Yesterday I had an appointment with Vincent’s teacher. It was one of those meetings I think (assume) it is easiest to picture yourself in if you have a child with special needs. It was one of those eye openers or IRL experiences you get every so often when you realize how much your child does not know. It kind of hits you and the physical pain is real:
-Crap, do 6 year olds know THAT much????
I am not trying to compare, but it is pretty impossible not to compare. My issue is not with what the other kids know or what Vincent does not know. It is neither with the school or with the teachers. My issue is within me.
I am extremely proud of Vincent and how he is developing.
I am extremely proud of everything he knows.
I am extremely proud of how mature he is becoming and how much he is his own person.
I am extremely proud of how he has made little friends an big friends.
I am extremely proud of him, just they way he is.
What I am scared of is that Vincent will not have the best ability to learn for HIM. I believe Vincent will learn a lot in school. But the struggle will be to find the Vincent-motivators that will challange him just right. If he does not want to do the work it is going to be tough,close to impossible. But if they can find the key to teaching him in a way that captures his interest I fully believe his potential is significantly higher.
I know that the more time we as parents spend with him working on homework and such, the better equipped he will be for his adult life. I also realize that there is a breaking point where the study effort is not worth it, the cost of other life aspects will be too high. Where that breaking point is, time will tell.
So I thought and my mind twisted and turned. And then I talked to the best people in the world. My bestest friends with the smartest of takes on it. Actually all with ‘only’ so called normal children. And I felt a lot calmer and relaxed and less stressed and no longer so scared and sad.
When I picked up Vince from school today I was told he had a great day. He participated all day and he did excellent in gym classes. He waited in line and took turns and walked to the cafeteria just fine. He played with the boys in his class for recess and was on the soccer field with the bigger kids too.
I talked to his assistant about how she feels she is equipped for first grade next year. She understood my concerns and we came up with some good things to bring into our next meeting in prepping for 1st grade.
The school road ahead of us is long and I have no clue in what direction we will end up. We are starting off in our neighborhood school, and so far so good. Vince enjoys going to school. Vince is comfortable there and he likes his assistant. I like his assistant. I feel we are being listened to and communication is working. And most important of all: Vincent is happy!
The snow finally disappeared last week.
Tonight Mr B did homework with Vince, while I had the luxury of going for a run with a friend.
Homework: the letter H. He has drawn a rabbit (HASE in German or HARE in Swedish). The second part are words that start with H (really?) that I wrote down but Vince helped find. And the last part is practicing writing H and h.
And yeah, as we started running the snow start falling again. Now it is white outside again…
Beyblades are big in Vince’s school. And Vince is more than mighty impressed. Vince has made friends with a lot of kids and he is constantly hanging with the beybladers. I was informed a while back about the situation, and I looked the toys up in a store without really getting the cool thing about them (total sign of being an uncool mom, I do recognise that…) so I decided not to buy one. Then Vince friend T got one. T and Vince are really good friends. It might even be so that little miss T is quite smitten by Vince and Vince sometimes abuses that point. Apparently so on the beyblade side. I was told (via our school communication book) that Vince now took Ts beyblade and treated it like his own and refused to give it back. Hence me heading back to the toy store to pick up a beyblade for Vince. Had I known how happy he would be, I would have gotten him one a long time ago!