School’s out for summer…

Yesterday was Tad’s last day of school (today is the district’s last day, but since Tad’s school has a Monday through Thursday week, his last day was yesterday), but Tad absolutely does not believe that.

Since it was his last day of school, I took each of his teachers and his speech therapist something. The school had its end-of-the-year carnival last week, and the Webmaster and I snapped pictures of Tad with his teacher, the teacher’s assistant/paraeducator, and his speech therapist. I then gave them each a copy of their picture with him, along with notes from myself and the Webmaster, thanking them for all their hard work with Tad this school year and wishes for a relaxing summer vacation. They all loved the pictures, and Tad and I hugged each of them good-bye, though Tad was clearly perturbed about something.

The paraeducator said to me, “He’s upset that he’s taking his helmet home.”

Now, each child at the school is required to keep a bike helmet at school in their locker/cupboard/cubbie. We bought Tad’s at the beginning of the school year (we picked it because it had FISH on it – it looked like a printed aquarium), I bought reflective letters that usually go on mailboxes to put on it, spelling out Tad’s name (because each helmet had to be clearly labeled, and I was going for “permanent” – very important when it comes to Tad), and it has lived on the bottom shelf of Tad’s cubbie ever since. The school wants kids to have bike helmets at school because they have cars and trikes that the kids can ride in the courtyard, so the kids all wear helmets to recess, so whenever they want to ride, they can.

In Tad’s mind, this is his SCHOOL helmet (he has a red one for home, which we bought for him long before he needed a school helmet) and it needs to stay at SCHOOL. And he did not want to bring it home with him.

Before I could say anything to Tad about taking it home, his teacher unclipped the helmet from his backpack and said, “Tad, do you want to just put your helmet back in your cubbie, and it can stay at school for the summer?” She looked at me. “That is, unless he needs it at home?”

“Well, he already has a helmet at home…” I began, but Tad promptly seized his helmet out of his teacher’s hands, and started walking back into the school building.

“I think he’s made up his mind,” I called to his teachers as I followed Tad inside.

He marched straight down the hallway to his cubbie, opened it, and deliberately put his helmet back on the lower shelf where he always kept it. He shut the door, dusted off his hands, and said, “Les go, Mama,” as he walked back to the front doors.

When we returned, I informed Tad’s teachers that his helmet was back in his cubbie, where it belonged. His paraeducator smiled. “So long as it’s got his name on it, we should be able to put two and two together at the beginning of next year,” she said.

I hope she’s right. The boy will be mad beyond belief if his helmet goes missing over the summer, and his mother won’t be too happy either.

And then I heard some fantastic news…

Generally, the special education students at Tad’s preschool stay with the teachers that they are assigned to at the beginning of their preschool career for their entire time at school – it provides consistency for those kids who need it most (peer models, however, get moved around from year to year). However, earlier this week I learned that therapists may also be moved around from year to year. I was a little concerned and upset, because Tad absolutely adores his speech therapist. He has really bonded with her, and I desperately wanted her to be his speech therapist again next year because of the consistency that would give him in that particular, VERY important area.

She told me today that Tad’s class is the only one that she is getting to keep for next year. She will be Tad’s speech therapist next year.

I was so happy I almost cried. In fact, I did cry when I told the Webmaster, because I was just so happy for Tad – and so freakin’ relieved. Now I won’t be thinking about it all summer, wondering if he would do as well in his speech therapy if he had to adjust to another therapist.

And so, we walked away from school, Tad and I, with our good-byes said, hugs and pictures exchanged, and his helmet back in his cubbie.

Only 86 (I think) days until he sees his helmet again.

One Response to “School’s out for summer…”

  1. Matthew
    June 20th, 2009 22:32

    I want to give Tad a big hug. He’s such a little trooper.