We were all a bit excited.
This was a big day and there were so many wonderful possibilities before me.
What if it didn't work?
What if we were wrong?
What if the doubters were right?
What if the kids didn't like me?
What if the teachers didn't like me?
We could feel lots of eyes on us, watching as my wheelchair stopped in front of the classroom.
We wondered how many parents might have wished I wasn't in their child's class.
I could feel that Mum and Dad were a bit worried, but I was excited.
On my wheelchair, I have a tray. And, on my tray, was my communication switch. I pressed and pressed and pressed that big blue button. The pre-recorded "Good morning!" could be heard again and again and again.
And, kids were saying hi to me, which just made me press that button even more.
That morning, Mum and Dad walked away from my classroom, hoping with all of their hearts that this school business would be a success.
The choice to send me to that school was perfect. The kids in my class were amazing. They walked around my bulky equipment without a thought about it. They came to know me and started slinging an arm across my wheelchair... Mates.
They had conversations with me. The grown ups often didn't understand me, but the kids did.
I can be noisy, even though I am non-verbal, but the kids knew I was learning and trying to stop talking, so they didn't care.
The kids touched me. A lot. Often.
There were quiet, whispered conversations.
They were excited to see me and I loved being with them.
(We don't have photos of my friendship with my classmates, because we are careful to respect the privacy of others. We don't post photos of other people, unless we have asked their permission.)
And, I learned!
I learned to look. I learned to focus. I learned to recognise what I was seeing. Often, the work on the big whiteboard was copied on to a smaller board, to help me see it.
My writing is much better. I still need a pencil to be placed in my hand and I have special grips that help me hold the pencil. But, I hold on so much better, now. And, when someone helps me write, it is so much easier. My teachers worked on this with me, every day. If I am interested in what is being written, my hand is nice and loose and the writing is easy. (I do need help to form the letters.) If I am not interested in what I am writing, my hand is tighter and the writing is messy.
Sometimes, it was hard for me to decide what I wanted to write stories about. Mostly, this was because I am non-verbal, so I cannot express an opinion. (Of all my disabilities, this is the hardest. It's also the scariest.) I am learning to use a communication board, to help show what I would like to do, so hopefully, I will get better at writing.
I love stories! I love the funny ones and the ones that need the reader to use funny voices! We are hoping we might get some home readers in a computer version, to help me with the reading. Mum read my home reader to me, almost every night.
I love maths, too! That might be my favourite!
One thing I didn't really like, was news. I love people and kids and animals and noise... but, I am a bit shy when it is my turn in front of the class. My news was done on an ipad, using a cool app. I would press my communication switch button for each piece of my news to be read by the computer's voice.
I went on lots of excursions and enjoyed the school's Color Run and dress up days.
I went to the sports carnival (and, my teacher helped me win one of the races!).
And, so many friends invited me to their parties.
I did chuck a couple of sickies, convincing the teachers I was sick. But, Mum got me in trouble for that. She said school is important and learning is important and I have to be good.
There was such a positive atmosphere.
Everyone assumed I would learn.
They believed in me.
They expected me to listen and to learn and to try.
And, so... I did.
Mum and Dad were so proud of me.
They were so happy when I got my big certificate (for earning three certificates during the year).
And then, when they got the letter to say I was getting an end of year Excellence Award, they were so, so excited.
When my name was called out, and my teacher said I brought out the best in everyone, Mum had tears in her eyes. When the whole assembly hall burst in to loud applause for me, those tears ran down her face.
And, I was so proud.
I spent most of my last day of kindy with one of my best friends. I love her.
When Mum came to get me, for my swimming lesson, I didn't want to leave school. (Sorry, Ron!)
But, she made me go.
Leaving school, that final day of Kindergarten, Mum had lots of emotions.
She was relieved, because it had all worked out so well.
She was proud, because I had shown that I can learn.
She was grateful, for the time and effort and care I had been given.
She was happy, because I had made so many friends.
She was sad, because I won't have my awesome teacher next year. (But, we are sure I will have an awesome time with my next teacher.)
And, she was a little nervous for the unknown of the next school year.
I am so pleased Mum and Dad didn't listen to the people who refused to believe I could go to mainstream school. There were a lot of them and they were loud in their opinions.
To all my classmates, teachers and school friends... Happy Holidays!!
See you next year!
#dextersreality #cerebralpalsy #school
Brain Damage – Finding Out
See the Cancer?
They Want Octopus Arms
Little Fingers Reaching
Something to Say But No Words to Say It
And Then, They Whispered about Me
Open Letter Thanking Parents for the Parties
I’m a Kindy Kid!
Dexter's First Month
Dexter's Cerebral Palsy
Who is Dexter?
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