Thursday, May 22, 2008

Good Things are Happening

Seth is our social butterfly. He says hi to everyone he sees, including every person that we pass in the aisles at the grocery store. He makes people smile all the time. He is developing a fun sense of humor. He anticipates going to school and going to church by talking about the people he will see there.

Seth also has some developmental challenges. He is still young, and we have never had him formally diagnosed. He is making great strides at his preschool, and he loves learning new things. Today Steve and I were able to go and observe a portion of his class (he attends school from 8 - 10:45am) and to see him working with his speech therapist. He was so proud to show us what he has been working on, and it was wonderful to see him interacting with his teachers and classmates. His teachers and teacher's aides adore Seth. They are always hugging him, praising him, encouraging him. It is a truly great environment.

His teacher, Kelly Carrero (who we LOVE and cannot say enough nice things about) pulled us aside and told us that she had some great news for us. There is a program at Seth's school, which is funded by a grant, and all of the funding is used for a group of about 20 kids that stay in two classrooms. There are typically developing learners (code word for average kids with no known developmental difficulties) and also children with varying levels of developmental challenges. There are two teachers, one who is a general education teacher and one who is a special education teacher.

Basically, the premise of this program is that they believe that the kids with challenges are going to excel at a much faster rate if they can pair them up with kids who are not having difficulties.

There are over 500 kids that go to Seth's preschool. The teachers and speech therapists had to write letters of recommendation for the kids that they thought would benefit the most from this type of program that focuses a lot on social interaction and communication. So out of the very few spots, Seth got one! His teacher took us over to look at the classroom for next year, and we are so excited! We really feel like this is an amazing opportunity for Seth, and we are so thankful that his teachers have taken such in interest in his life and his progress.

His teacher then told us that she was at church last Sunday and the preacher was teaching out of Ephesians.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations. Eph 3:20-21

Then she looked at us and said, "and as he was talking, I was thinking about Seth. I just feel like God has amazing things planned for his life and I am so excited to see how that all comes to fruition. I think Seth is going to do things we cannot even imagine right now." Wow.

I definitely had some reservations about putting Seth in the public school system, even though it was just for preschool. Steve and I have often said that if we could afford it, we would put our kids in private school. But this experience has been nothing short of amazing! These have been the most sincere, dedicated and nurturing teachers, and they are not just going through the motions of another school year. They are making a HUGE investment in our son, and no "Teacher Appreciation" gift will be enough to thank them for what their time and energy has meant to us and to Seth.

THEN, to top it all off, we had an appointment to meet with the director of a private program for children with developmental challenges. Seth's preschool ends at the end of May, and we were looking into a month long camp that meets 4 days per week from 8:45am - noon. Our concern was that they would be focusing on academics, which is not an area that Seth needs assistance in right now. We walked in and met the OT (Occupational Therapist) who was a giant of a man with a wonderful, kind way about him. Then we met with the director, and she was so warm and personable. She began explaining the summer programs that they are doing, and she said, "I do just want to start off by saying that we are not focusing on academics at our camps. So if that is what you are looking for help with, this might not be the right program. We focus on social interaction, increasing communication skills, and new experiences during our summer camps."

Another perfect fit.

So in this journey with Seth that has seen its share of bumps in the road, today was a really encouraging day. It is so great to look forward to the summer and to the next school year with excitement and anticipation of all that Seth is going to experience and learn.

(Side Note: Thank you to the people who are making it possible for Seth to attend this summer camp program. You are blessing us and Seth way more than you can know!)


Karah said...

Wow, Courtney, that's AWESOME!!! What a huge blessing to have such great advocates for Seth!! It makes such a HUGE difference to have teachers who are on YOUR side.

That special class sounds amazing - I just know Seth with thrive in there!

Congrats to you guys on all the great news :)

Amy said...

Am I bawling my eyes our right now? Yes, yes I am.

I love Seth and I am so excited that he is getting into a great classroom next year and that he is going to a great summer camp program! Will he still get to work with Ms. Carrero? I hope so because she is precious.


Amy said...

umm I just realized something.... you are all named with either S or C.... I am guessing this was thought through, but not talked least I don't remember you talking about it.

Could we start calling you SC squared? ok, we will. :)

Anonymous said...

Courts, this is such wonderful news! What an amazing group of people at that school! Way to go Seth! That's really great that he's doing so well...and I'm so glad that you found a camp that is perfect for his needs this summer!

That teacher of his sounds amazing. I want to meet her!

Thanks for sharing. Love you all!

Courtney said...

Sadly, Seth will NOT be with Mrs. Carrero next year. She is going to be pursuing her Doctorate and is taking on a groundbreaking position, still within the public school system but at a different school, working with kids on the autism spectrum. With the incredible rise in autism diagnosis, there is huge need for more specialized help in the classrooms. We will miss her!

julia d. hull said...

Ok, THAT IS SO FUNNY! I love these pictures with Seth and ALL these pacifiers!!!

Courtney said...

I read this like a week ago and meant to comment on it. This is so awesome! God is pretty amazing at how he works things out. And can I just say that your boys are beautiful. They have the best personalities :)