Thursday, June 16, 2011

One Down, Twelve to Go: Kindergarten Accomplished

Wow. One hundred and eighty days (give or take a snow day) have passed since Nolan started attending (mainstream) school. Thursday marks his last day of Kindergarten, a day that (quite honestly) we once worried we might never see.

We had questions last autumn before he started. Some were the concerns of any parent; others were unique to our son. We had concerns about field trips, waiting in line for lunch, meltdowns in class, riding the bus, academic comprehension, going to the bathroom (he still struggles with potty training), and making friends. And those are just a few.

Nevertheless, (while Nolan did have several days where we worried about his progress, and sometimes even his status at school) he made it!
o Some field trips that we knew would bore him he had to skip (going to a farm); bowling and swimming however, not a problem.
o There were mornings when we would get to school too early, he wouldn’t wait for the kitchen ladies to get breakfast into the chafing dishes; others days he would actually wait for a friend who was farther back in line.
o Meltdowns were unavoidable, but amazingly, the other kids worked right through it (and in public, many of them would admit aloud, “Mom, that’s my friend Nolan”).
o There were days Lori would have to pick him up from school because Nolan was simply not getting on that bus; another day, the bus simply forgot him.
o This is the boy who couldn’t speak in September; now he writes his name and whole sentences, and even reads!
o Somehow we/they worked through potty training (good luck next year, Angela and Mrs. Swift), and as for friends, if you were reading, you know we just covered that.

Take today for example. There was a Books and Beyond award ceremony at the school today. While everyone gathered in the room, Nolan waited. He waited while kids went to the podium to get their medals. And, when his name was called, Nolan went up to the teacher, dipped his head as she put the ribbon around his neck, and went right back to his seat. I had to work, but Lori saw every tear-squeezing second of it.

When Lori picked the kids up though, she stopped by work to get me first before making the routine trip home. By the time I got to the car, he was in Full Nuclear Meltdown.

But you know what? Even in public, I’m still okay with admitting aloud, “That’s my son, Nolan.”


Anonymous said...

This post made me cry!!!! I was so proud of him as I was reading this. I have worked with quite a few autistic children and i know how amazingly proud of them it feels when they sit still for a period of time, or show patience or read or talk.
Love this post and im looking forward to reading more

Jon G said...

Thanks for posting. If you liked this one, look at the sidebar and check out some of my other posts. Let your friends know we're here, too. Thanks for stopping by. I posted a comment on your site, too!

Amanda said...

I am a 2nd year teacher working with students with moderate to severe autism. I just started a blogging activity as part of my professional development requirements and searched from some autism blogs and found yours! I have skimmed through all of your posts and have found many that I enjoyed and that inspired me. Its hard for me to see a parent's perspective sometimes, so your blog is insightful. I will definitely keep following! And congratulations on the completion of kindergarten! I had one of my students graduate kindergarten this year and it was an amazing moment!

Jon G said...

Amanda, thanks for taking the time to look at my blog and scan the other posts. I see from your profile page that you also follow my friend Julie's page. She has a lot of great things to say as well. I think a blog from your perspective would be interesting as well...especially since you are at the grass roots level. I hope you find the time

Deanna Schrayer said...

John, this post is wonderful! The best part, in my humble opinion, is the fact that Nolan waited for a friend in line. You know that I know how thrilling it feels when our autistic children accomplish any goal, but when they "break through" on a social level that thrill is all the greater. Congratulations to Nolan, and to you and Lori, on this terrific achievement!

Jon G said...

Deanna, thank you again for stopping in. I always look forward to hearing from you! Hope all is going well.

And yes...that incident would be considered a huge milestone.