Friday, September 18, 2009

Questions from Kindergarteners

When I pick Faith up at kindergarten she is full of excitement wanting to share all that she did at school. And then when Dad comes home from work she relates to him everything she shared with me. Both Rob and I love to hear about Faith's time at school but we noticed something. She talks a lot about the adults - her teacher, her teacher's aid, her therapists, her special ed teacher - not much about her classmates though. Recently at Faith's IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting at school Rob voiced this concern.

We know that Faith is more comfortable with adults. She has seen therapists since she was six months old. It took her a long time to warm up to her preschool classmates. Even after she warmed up to them, their sudden noises and movements would cause her to startle. Adults are more predictable to her than other kids and predictable for her is comfortable.

At kindergarten Faith is around 18 other kids which causes her to proceed with caution. Her teacher assured us that it would take time for Faith to get used to them and for Faith's classmates to figure out how to relate to her. She said there are already signs that a few of the kids want to be her friend because they are her special helpers.

Yesterday I accompanied Faith on a class field trip to the pumpkin patch. Two of the little girls thought it would be quite something if they were able to push Faith around in her chair. While they were pushing her they began asking questions. "Are you Faith's mom?" "How did you have her?" "Was she in your tummy?"

Later during the day, it was time to give Faith a feeding using her feeding pump. The kids around us were a bit wide-eyed wondering what we were doing. They fired more questions. "What are you doing?" "What's this tube for?" "How does that get in her tummy?" "What does that stuff taste like?" "Does that hurt her?"

Along with trying to answer their questions in a way that they would understand I also showed them Faith's Mickey Button that her feeding tube was attached to. I think it was hard for them to comprehend but it was obvious they wanted to understand. One little girl asked how that button got there and I said a doctor had to do a little surgery. She replied, "I didn't know kids had to have surgery."

The questions went on and on. "What are those things on her feet?" (Orthotics). "How do you dress her if she can't stand up?" "How does she sleep?" "How does she go potty?"

I was encouraged by their curiosity. I believe they really did want to get to know Faith better and in order for that to happen they wanted to understand. I'm hoping that as her classmates ask more questions and get to know her more, Faith will be more comfortable around them and vice versa. I think we're off to a good start.

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