I am preparing for my meeting. I leave in one hour and hope I do not allow myself to get overly emotional. I am bringing a copy of goals that were made for M two months before we moved away from the mother ship; just over two years ago. My, how things have changed in that time. On this same goal sheet are progress notes like the following: 'The student has made good progress in increasing interaction with peers. He interacts in play with peers for 1-2 minutes. He is showing an increased interest in his peers. Often greets them by name. Smiles at them, touches them, laughs when they laugh, approaches them, and verbalizes to them. He inconsistently identifies at least 7 body parts. Attention to task is brief with frequent verbal, visual, and physical redirection. He attends well to singing and story time. He will walk in line holding an adult's hand.'
'The student has made good progress in identifying colors, but performance is inconsistent. He does not identify his name, but verbally spells his name leaving out the 'l.' He rote counts to 5 consistently and to 13 at times. He identifies the number 5 and circle shapes.'
So, these things may not sound like a lot, but oh, what we would give to hear him say another child's name, to laugh when they laugh, to almost spell his name verbally, to name ANY body parts or count ANY numbers! This report was just two years ago...two years in which his and our world has crumbled and gone backwards, instead of progressing.
I also found a few photos that one of his old teachers had sent of him interacting with his peers. He was so happy back then. These are smiles we don't generally see anymore, and that in itself is a very difficult thing to stomach.
I'll leave you with photos of him and his classmates from the mother ship, as well as a photo with his best buddy and two teachers when he visited them five months after we left. Damn...
Here he is with two typically developing peers that were in his preschool class. The blonde, C, was one of his favorites. He would call her name as we got to school, beam with happiness, and then enter school while tightly gripping her hand...not once looking back at me for reassurance.