Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Short Bus

I am ashamed - beyond ashamed - to say that as a teen, I made comments about 'People riding the short bus'. I have even been so offensive to call something (never someone) retarded - it could be how long I was waiting on hold or the endless line in the post office or even the amount of traffic I was facing. Regardless, I am embaressed.

I look back now and think, IGNORANCE.
I think how I was probably trying to be funny or get someone's attention or be dramatic in describing something that was annoying or obscure to me.
Now, I would take back every single judgmental, asinine, flippant comment I have ever made. And I certainly would clean up my vocabulary to show some intelligence, having removed the 'r' word long ago.

That is all I could think of as we pulled in to tour preschools for Shaw this week. The short bus just seemed to glare at me, as I found my park, collected my notes and proceeded through the doorway of a very exceptional school.

Shaw continues to thrive and excel but we as his parents are constantly having to ask ourselves are we fulfilling his needs - and can we do more?  It seems like there is always a new question. This week, it was deciding on preschools for next year.

Let me preface by saying we ADORE the preschool that Nash goes to. We feel it is exceptional and Nash is beyond happy with his teachers and peers. We couldn't ask for more.

Then again, if more were to include: pet therapy, physical therapy, light therapy, speech therapy into the everyday preschool curriculum, it is something we had to investigate. While not isolating the child, therapists are on staff around the clock and look for opportunities to work with a group of children or child, knowing their challenges and obstacles in an integrated setting.

One facility in particular was beautiful. The playground had swings for saddle sitting, bucket seats for low tone and amazing swings for those little ones confined to a wheelchair. The foundation of the floors was softer, to anticipate falls. All classrooms had changing stations, since many children move on to kindergarten in their diapers. The teachers were special. They were not just teaching play, but they were skilled in positioning and encouraging and praise. And the children were exceptional. The special children played together with their not-special-needs peers and both were 'colorblind' to their differences - a utopia of sorts.

It was a hard day for some reason. I don't know if it was the reality that we will always be exploring other options or if it is just the fear of not having someone have the answers for us. Things that we haven't had to blink at before, take serious consideration.

We didn't chose the special school.

Michael and I agreed that Shaw has exceeded all expectations placed before him. While others have put limitations on him, he is hungry to be pushed (thanks to racing around trying to keep up with Nash). Why would two days of preschool be any different? And when I think of Nash's teachers, I know, without any doubt, that those women are capable of all the love and encouragement Shaw could ever ask for in his first social setting.

Thankfully, I had a long talk with the Director of Nash's school and she put any anxiety I had to rest. "Does the shunt worry you? What if he needs help getting up/down the stairs? Will he need a buddy on the playground? Can we have a magnet free class?" (Her response, 'So we have peanut free classes, what's the difference?' - which I love). The bottom-line: "What's the difference?" And that is what I love.

These woman and teachers are wonderful and as we embark this next Fall of coming out of isolation and into main stream society, I know we are in the best of hands. I also know we will reevaluate if we need to and be grateful we have so many choices.

Here is to big decisions and zero limitations.

PS - please don't ever use the 'r' word... no matter the context. please.

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