Friday, October 5, 2012

Haley's Teacher

Haley has a great teacher.

He is the same teacher she had last year, her first year in high school, the kids call him 'B'.  He is young and very enthusiastic.  He is so enthusiastic about Haley that it makes me wonder if he is just as excited about the other kids in his class.  I am sure he is.

I called him two weeks ago and we talked about Haley was doing in school.  Haley's Big Sis had noticed that when she sees her at lunch her current helper, who was also her helper last year, seems to be answering questions for her.  Haley seems super shy and her Big Sis just didn't feel right about it.

When I called him I mentioned that in grade school Haley had the same helper for three years in a row.  We noticed then that she was relying too much on her helper and really not progressing.  They started switching up her helpers and she did much better.  I was worried that they may not have that kind of flexibility in her current classroom, what with staffing and budget cuts, but I thought it would be worth mentioning.

This morning I got an e-mail from her teacher, which said:

I am writing to give you the latest on how well Haley is doing.  There are many different things I would like to tell you about.  The most important have to do with safety signs.  Last week, Haley was able to hear 9 different community safety signs, identify them, and fill up her safety sign bingo card.  She was the first to win on "black out."  I made sure her usual adult support was at lunch.  I am really, really encouraged that she finished the card on her own with absolutely no adult intervention. 

That is so encouraging to me, not only was she able to do it all on her own, but the teacher actually got to see that she could because we had talked.  He also said:

Haley observed another student building a small tower out of colored blocks.  (She gave us one of her Haley mischief laughs.)  Instead of watching the tower crash down, she approached the tower and actually TOOK OVER with building blocks.  I couldn't believe it.  She was able to place three blocks on her own before the tower fell.  The falling tower was the big pay off!

'B' likes it when Haley gives him her "mischief laughs."  I love it that she does that at school.  He has also told me that he uses her as a barometer in class.  She is quiet, but in tune to what is going on in the classroom at all times.  If she starts to act differently he knows that something is up and is able to make some changes.

He also mentioned her speech therapists observations:

At the moment, Haley is working with (the therapist) on speech.  They are using an iPad.  According to (him), Haley is able to pick out an item based of the description about 90% of the time.  (He) just said out loud, "I am extremely encouraged."

Her speech therapist is awesome too, they are a great team.  'B' closed the e-mail like this:

I got to thinking about what you said about adult supports.  We are actively switching it up on her.  Haley is stepping up.  This is a very enjoyable start to the year.

I am so happy that Haley has a teacher that gets her and that is willing to work with me.
~ Haley's Mom

I am participating in 31 for 21 Blog Challenge this month. The challenge I have accepted is to blog every day in October to raise awareness for Down Syndrome. Learn more about Down Syndrome at the National Association of Down Syndrome.

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