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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The First Day of First Grade

After spending the entire summer adamantly declaring that he was NOT going to first grade, just this week Korban accepted the inevitable.  Not only did he decide he was going to go to first grade after all, he keeps telling us he is going to LEARN!  Which is definitely a good thing, and we were thankful for his change in heart.

We are blessed to have the same sweet special education teacher (or Korban and I would've both had a meltdown) and once I finally got it through to Korban that it would pretty much be exactly like last year except we were calling it first grade, he was fine with that.  It only took me from May to August to accomplish that.  We are doing the exact same schedule we did last year, with his teacher coming to the home to do homebound classes with him on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and on Tuesday and Thursday he goes to the school for a little while in the mornings, and I stay with him.

The only thing that changed is the special education classroom moved down the hall to a bigger room, which was a positive change.  It looks really nice, too.  We got to see his new classroom at open house last night.  Korban was assigned a regular ed first grade teacher too, and he got to meet her and see her class room. 

We had a good morning and Korban was pretty relaxed about the whole thing.  We got to school a little after 8:00, in hopes of avoiding the morning rush. 
This is him on the way into school.  He looks like he might be having second thoughts about the whole thing!

His teacher was waiting on us, and took him to his classroom.  He colored a picture with her, and put stickers on a picture of the solar system, and did a lacing card (fine motor skills.)  He did good work, and we were proud of him. 
Here he is in his classroom.  Happy, happy, happy.

We also walked in the hallways with him to give him a break--he has a lot of trouble staying focused and we have to take frequent breaks.  He loves walking in the hallway, and I was amazed at how he was greeting people.  He saw his kindergarten teacher and her aide, as well as the aide that worked with him last year, and he was happy to see all of them.  He also saw several other teachers that he remembered, and some students too.  He was friendly and talkative.  We saw his speech therapist and he told her that he liked ice cream.  She asked him what his favorite flavor was, and he said chocolate mint.  She was pleased with his verbal ability. 

We went home afterwards, and I wanted to do something to celebrate.  We decided to do a "project" as the kids calls it.  We made homemade Gak!  Good, messy fun, and a sensory activity too.  If you want to try it, I made it like this:
Two 5 oz containers of white glue
Food coloring of your choice
3/4 cup of liquid starch
(A lot of recipes I've seen used Borax instead of the liquid starch, and I bought some Borax but never could decide if it was totally safe to use.  I found a recipe using the liquid starch instead and went with that just in case Korban decided to try and eat it.)

 Here's the kids adding the glue to the bowl

Adding the food coloring and stirring it up...they decided to use blue food coloring, and since we are planning on going to see Smurfs 2 this weekend, I told them we were making Smurf guts! 

 Playing with the finished product.  (Yes, she's sitting on my kitchen table.  What?!?)

Now, a word about sensory play and why it's important.  Most kids love messy, goopy stuff, and they learn by playing and experiencing new things.  But it seems to be doubly important for kids with autism.  It can go one of two ways--touching certain textures can be very calming for people on the spectrum, so sensory play is great for a high-strung kiddo like Korban.  On the other hand, the feel of certain textures may be difficult for some people with autism.  (Or some people without autism.  Everyone seems to have a little bit of this.  I have a neurotypical friend who gags when she touches suede!)  At any rate, some kiddos have a hard time adjusting to different textures, and it's good to introduce it to them in a non-threatening manner so that they have a chance to get acclimated to it.  The technical term for aversion to certain textures is "tactile defensiveness," and Korban has this too.  In other words, textures sometimes make him do this:
Yeesh!  He wasn't too sure about it at first.

 But do you see that little index finger reaching out to touch it?

And he decided it wasn't so bad after all!

 Selah would've climbed in the bowl if I had let her.  She settled for adding some of her toy animals.  

All in all, it was cheap, easy fun and we all enjoyed it.  It did stick all over our hands, but it washed right off of us and the plastic animals and didn't stain skin or clothes.  I saved what was left in a plastic container with a lid and I think it will last for a little while.  

To further celebrate back to school, we went to Sonic during happy hour and got slushes.  Yay for Sonic's happy hour!  We also stopped by a little grocery store in Burnsville for a minute on the way home.  While we were there, we ran into our pastor's son, who also preaches at our church.  Korban was feeling all conversational, and asked him "You been preaching?"  Very cute.  He replied "I preached Sunday."  Korban said "I enjoyed it."  And I'm getting the warm fuzzies, and thinking about how well Korban has been doing at church the past couple of Sundays and how truly amazing it is, the way his vocabulary and conversational ability has blossomed.  And then Korban decided to ask him another question.  "Do you like stinky poopie?" he inquired loudly.  Oh, my.  But you know, we take the bad with the good.  He IS having conversations now, even he randomly interjects bathroom yuckiness.  ;)

We ended our day by eating spaghetti for supper.  This is one of Korban's favorite meals, and we had it the first day of kindergarten last year, too.  He was hungry.

 And he takes his pasta very seriously...

We are so happy today went well and hope that all of you guys who are dealing with back to school are doing well too.  Please pray that this is a good year for us!  I prayed out loud on the way to school this morning, and then Korban prayed for his teacher and his friends.  So sweet to hear, and I just think I'm blessed to have my little family.  :)


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