Starting to get a little nervous

by Jen Lee Reeves on March 1, 2011 · 5 comments

in 2011, Kindergarten, School

I’m two weeks and a day away from signing Jordan up for Kindergarten. She has attended the same school for almost two and a half years. She hasn’t even changed classrooms in that time. She’s an incredibly flexible kid but I’m nervous about making sure she is prepared and ready to be in a new environment.

Sure, she is in new environments all the time. We travel. She attends a large soccer program. We go to the gym (different ones with different play rooms). We go out shopping and playing and meet new kids all the time. Plus, she goes to her new school all the time since her brother is currently a third grader. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be sure she’s supported. That doesn’t mean I am 100% sure she won’t get taunted or laughed at or who knows what.

I have prepared Jordan to be strong. She’s an incredible kid who can hold her own. But who knows how she’s react in Kindergarten?

So before the school year ends this year, I plan to work with our county resource program’s case manager and the school principal to set up a 504 plan. These are a little different from IEP’s. An Individualized Education Plan is set up for kids who have trouble with learning. Jordan’s been tested and analyzed and declared “not disabled” in the school system. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need some portions of the education program altered a bit. I plan to come to the class and share her helper arms and hands with her class, read a book and answer questions. I’d like to ask the school to look at lessons plans 24 hours in advance to see if there are two handed activities and if the teacher can’t find a solution, have them check in with me just in case I can offer other ideas. I just don’t want Jordan to feel left out if there’s an activity that she can’t do. I’d like to have an alternate already planned. I’ve talked to older kids who have been ignored and left out during PE and other activities. I want to avoid those experiences if I can in any way.

So, I asked my fans on Facebook if they have additional 504 ideas. I’d love to hear from you here as well if you can!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Nate Ramsey March 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm

My response here is a humble one, because I have no idea what it’s like to be a parent. I can, however, offer the perspective of someone who went through school with a limb difference. It’s natural to be concerned, but you probably don’t have much to worry about. As a resilient and resourceful kid, Jordan will find ways to make her difference work as an advantage instead of a disadvantage.

I tend to be slow learning new things, because I often have to think of adapted techniques. In my OT classes right now, I’m figuring out ways to assess joint range of motion with only one hand. It puts me at a disadvantage compared to my colleagues, especially when lab time is limited. I cannot simply copy the motions being performed by my professors. I have to figure out completely new techniques. Jordan wil encounter similar issues.

I have chosen not to register with disability services, because I want to be sure that I can function at the same level as my peers before going out to treat others. It’s only fair to my patients that they have a physically-capable therapist. Keeping up has been difficult, but I am on the dean’s list and have membership in two honor societies. A lifetime of creative problem solving has actually been an asset in this program, to the point that I may have an unfair advantage.

Anyway, that is my story. I have a feeling Jordan will find the things that she does well, and make the most of her talents. There may be some frustration along the way, but she seems stubborn enough to work through any problems. She also has a huge amount of support and a lot of charisma. :)

Jen Lee Reeves March 1, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Thank you so much Nate. Your input is really helpful. I realize Jordan is going to be just fine… I’ve just followed so many families on various listservs where their confident kids lose it a notch or two because of their Kindergarten starts. I want to be ready… I don’t want to shelter her. I’ve done very little of that. But I’m protective of her strong will and confidence.

Your perspective is always wonderful. I am so thankful.

Linda Moran August 9, 2014 at 11:08 am

Jen, which book did you read in the class presentation? Thanks for sharing — it’s so incredibly helpful to learn from your and Jordan’s experiences.

Jen Lee Reeves August 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Linda, we ended up writing a little book for Jordan’s first day of Kindergarten. You can see it here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/61372746/Jordan-Kindergarten-Book

Feel free to ask me any questions! I’m happy to help.

Linda Moran August 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Yes, of course, that book! We love that book and the ones you’ve done for later years. Thanks also for posting the video of Jordan giving advice about starting school and making friends and dealing with bullying. It relieved our new kindergartener who is Jordan’s mirror image. She was so excited to see an older girl telling her how it all worked — “I want to meet her!” — and seeing and hearing for herself that it was going to be okay. And thanks, Jen, for your example and experience-sharing too.

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