So, the new girl... I think it's working out. She's super sweet and I can tell she already likes the bird. Most people do. Seriously. I was telling my mom yesterday (she's out here visiting) that all of Little Bird's therapists kvell over her and talk about how much they love her. I'm not so sure they feel that way about ALL their kids/clients. She's a sweet kid. Gratitude.
at school, playing in the "kitchen"
The new shadow, Lena (Little Bird calls her yeena), has impressed me beyond my expectations already. She's advocating for my kid and might not even know it. When the teacher might have made it easy to exclude Little Bird from having to participate in something, Lena will be sure LB participates, just like the other kids because that's what she's there for. Sometimes if a kiddo is having a tough time in the classroom, a shadow/paraprofessional/whatever will take the kid out and maybe walk him/her around the school, or something like that to help calm the kid or regulate their sensory system a little bit. Laura and I both thought that Little Bird was WAY too smart for that. She'll learn that she just needs to do X to get "removed" from the class and whatever they're doing in there that she might not want to do. I think Lena's been able to see this as well.
This is how it's probably gonna be... there are always going to be people who will love my kid and work hard to advocate for her in all areas of her life. Although, there's a part of me that thinks that some day Little Bird will be able to do this for herself. She's a pretty tough cookie, after all... and she has no problem saying NOOOOO. Trust me.
When I dropped the bird off at school this morning, the teacher pulled me aside and said, "I just want you to know that even on her worst days, she could never be as tough as some of the other children. Her behavior falls well within the scope of typical in this classroom. We absolutely love having her in this class. She's a great kid." People ask me all the time what is the best therapy we've done, what's made the biggest difference for her. Without a doubt, the answer is inclusion. She has learned so much from the other kids. This is literally like social therapy for my bird. I will always fight for her to be in an inclusion environment- at least for some of her school day. It's definitely changed my girl for the better and there is no doubt that having a kid like Little Bird in the classroom has benefitted the typical kids in the classroom, too.
As sad as I am to NOT be seeing Laura every day and have her working with LB, I am really glad that Lena has gotten the chance to work with LB now, before they spend the summer together for camp. It's laying a great foundation for trust and love before Little Bird enters camp, which is gonna be a whole new world for her. But, with Lena by her side, I know she can handle it.