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Thursday, June 23, 2011

In a circle

Janey had her year-end kindergarten program today. She will be going to 1st grade in the fall, and this summer, she will go to a summer program for five weeks. I am feeling good about 1st grade---she will have great teachers, as she did this year, and I think (hope) it will be a smooth transition. I am not as sure about the summer program. The summer program here has a terrible reputation, but supposedly it's been completely overhauled. I will see what I think. It scares me to death to have Janey going to a school she's never been to (the summer program is held at a different school across town from her school) with teachers she doesn't know and I don't know. I am not sure exactly what I'm scared of. Everything. Having a child who can't talk in a meaningful way going off all day to a place you don't know about is very, very, very scary. I will drive her, I will see how things look, I will stay around at first, but I am still scared.

Janey had a good year in some ways. She was happy much more of the time than in previous years. She seemed to learn classroom routines, and she seemed to mature. Seeing her on stage at the program today, although her ABA therapist was right there with her holding her hands and keeping her in place, she was smiling and seemed more engaged. She did yell out with her fairly new autistic sounding yell that seems like a talking substitute a few times, but overall, she looked good.

In other ways, she made little progress. This is not the fault of the school, or her teachers, or I think me, or certainly not her fault. She just has a very hard time learning. Or if she is learning, she keeps it inside. I would say her talking is no better than, and probably worse in some ways than a few years ago. It's mostly single words, except for the delayed echolalia. She still can't answer Yes or No to questions. I think she understands us a bit more, and follows directions a bit better, but it's still very, very slow progress.

Tonight felt like a throw-back to the bad old days. She is screaming and crying non-stop. Maybe she understands on some level that her kindergarten days are almost over. Maybe something else is bothering her, that she can't tell her about. As I write, she is on my bed, screaming "Don't worry! I'll get you out!"---one of her Angelina Ballerina phrases, and then saying "Baba! Baba" for bottle (yes, she still drinks chocolate milk in a bottle. She can use a cup as well as any 6 year old can, but once a day or so, if a bottle makes her happy, she will have a bottle. Not that anyone said anything...) On nights like this, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, discouraged, like we are treading water and will drown some day. I hope not.

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