January 3rd, 2011
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
I am writing because I have some pictures of your children that I have been meaning to forward to you... that I took when I spent some time here and there in class. Time keeps getting away from me and so I decided I needed to get these over to you before any more time flies by! I will forward each of you the pictures that I have of your child later today.
I also wanted to take this time to say thank you..... thank you for being so loving and supportive of Reid.
Bringing a child with special needs to a "typical" preschool is a scary thing for a parent. We have worried about many things...will my child be accepted, is it the right fit, is it meeting his needs, is he able to make friends? It may not even be necessary to explain why we chose _______ for him but thought I'd let you know a little bit about our thought process... For Reid, having Down syndrome means he will have to work a little harder to learn to do things and it will take a little longer than a "typically developing child" but he'll get there. For him, one of those milestones that will take a little longer is being able to talk. Our philosophy is that being in a typical preschool class provides typical peer speech models that will help him to develop these skills. We have found research that also supports this but for us what we have witnessed the last two weeks with him home over vacation is the proof we needed. Our little guy has just started to explode with words... beginning with the Christmas program where all our cuties marched on stage with heir little halos to sing. My husband and I both looked at each other in that room with pools of water in our eyes when we saw Reid actually singing the words to the songs, he had never put that many words together before. He has walked around the house all vacation breaking into the songs and prattling on with stories which we are not always sure exactly what he is saying (although one of his new phrases is "HOE-leeeee cow" so apparently he is talking about something big and exciting) ....but he is trying to communicate and he now has the concept of adding multiple words to his thoughts....this is huge developmentally and again I say thank you because it is because of your children... they are the best speech therapists we could ask for! :)
The second reason we chose __________ is because we live here in the neighborhood and Reid will be going to school locally with many of the children. Reid will stand out all of his life because of his extra chromosome but our hope for him is that by being in a typical setting early on he will gain friends and allies who will look out for him and who will know that he is not any different than them. ....and this is where I thank your children! There have been many moments this year that have totally melted my heart, like when we came to school late one day because of dropping my older son off and as we got there Miss _____ told a particular little boy that Reid was now there so he could show him something he had brought and had wanted to show my son... I watched as this little boy pulled a Mickey Mouse out of his back pack to show Reid and watched Reid put his little hand up to his mouth in excitement and the two of them had this sweet exchange.... That was just so precious that even though Reid's words are limited he knew enough about my son to know that that would make Reid squeal with excitement. That is just one of many stories that have helped me to take a deep breath and know that what I had hoped for was working.
I probably should have addressed this at the beginning of the year but please feel free to share with your children what Down syndrome is if you haven't already. The way we first explained it to Reid's big brother was that he was born with an extra 21st chromosome in his body and because of it it takes him a little longer to do things but that he will be able to do them with time. Depending on each child some want more information and for some that is just enough.... if you ever wanted more information please let me know... I have quite a few websites in my repertoire now ;).
Cheri and Toby