Thursday, September 25, 2014

My little Kinder!

So Dakota Man is officially a BIG boy at a BIG school now! No more preschool for this kid…it’s the REAL DEAL now folks!!

9.22.14 First Day! All of us had to come wish him a happy day! An official Discovery Dolphin! ;) (I’m sure he was thinking…you guys are SO embarrassing! ;))

I think we were both a little nervous about this big school, new teachers, new kids, ALL day thing!!
So we prepped the night before by reading this book together! ;)
Not sure if that really helped! ;)

As you know we have ADORED his preschool teacher to death!! I knew she would be irreplaceable but I hoped he would have a teacher who could see the boy inside and the potential he has like Miss Kerri did!!

I was nervous what this “special ed” class would look like…would the kids be able to talk to him? Would he get enough interaction? How often would he get to go to the kindergarten class and be with kids his own age??

How would he handle all day without a nap??

Would the kids accept him and be nice to him?? Would this be the year where maybe he would get made fun of or treated badly?!

I had SOOO many worries and questions about what this year would look like!!!

Kindergarten started a week later then all the other kids so that they could have kindergarten assessment. I was surprised that even Dakota got assigned a time and day to come for Kindergarten Assessment…I wondered how they were thinking they were going to test and assess him? ;) But intrigued we went…and really it was just for him to meet his assigned Kindergarten teacher and see his classroom.

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Mrs. Fawcett

The classroom didn’t look nearly as fun as the preschool classroom but I guess it is time to grow up! ;) His kindergarten teacher seemed very sweet but also a little timid with him. I’m sure it will take her a little bit to get used to him! She asked me that day if I would be willing to come in and talk to the kindergarten class about Dakota. I was so excited and thought what a perfect idea!! So day 2 of school starting I went in.

I brought my FAVORITE picture EVER of Dakota because it is a picture that represents EVERYTHING Dakota!
His cowboy hat and boots because he is all cowboy, tractor because he is a tractor man, Sophie the Dog because he likes animals (dogs and horses especially), and my favorite…if you look closely is Mr. Buzz Lightyear snuggled up behind him because he is a Toy Story fanatic! ;)

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I shared with the kids what Dakota was like before the accident. How he was a lot like them and could do some of the same things they could do.

I shared that a fence fell on him when he was 2 and that he couldn’t breathe which hurt his brain and made his brain forget how to do all of those things he used to know how to do!

I told them that the doctors were AMAZING though and saved his life. I told them that doctors were really smart and that they used some special things to help Dakota be able to live. I showed them the trach that helps him breathe and cough so that he doesn’t get really sick and die. I showed them how cool his g-tube was so that he can still get food and water even though he doesn’t remember how to chew and swallow like them. I even told them how lucky Dakota was that he doesn’t even have to taste his vegetables…they just go right in! (Dakota smiled at that part!)

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Showing off his sweet g-tube! (And 6 pack! ;))

They thought that was pretty lucky. Just the other day a little girl came and sat at the lunch table with him and her whole lunch was vegetables. She told Dakota’s nurse she was going to eat vegetables like Dakota!! (Melt my heart!)

I told them that Dakota has a cool chair (wheelchair) so that he can get around like them even though his legs don’t work like theirs!

Most importantly I told them that even though Dakota can’t talk back to them that he understands what they say to him and he LOVES to have friends and have kids come talk to him, hold his hand, share their toys with him, hug him, etc.

At the end I asked them if they would be his friend for me? And so sweetly and innocently they gave me the biggest nods!

It made my heart so happy!!!!

I started off the year very nervous about the “special ed” class. I never pictured my kid in “special ed” and it was hard to face the reality this year that this is where he will be throughout his whole school career. (Preschool was just preschool!)

I decided this year to take him to school every day instead of riding the bus since it would pick him up super early BUT it has been the best decision I could have made…FOR ME!! Walking in that “special ed” class every day has COMPLETELY changed my perspective of “special ed.” I have come to see as I have gotten to know and watch these SPECIAL kids “special ed” is just that…SPECIAL!!! Each one of the kids in that class have a heart of gold!!! They LOVE each other, their teachers, me, the nurses, everyone…but especially my Dakota man UNCONDITIONALLY!!

They don’t Dakota’s disability like other kids, they see Dakota! They say hi to him just like they would say hi to anyone else! The sweetest little Down Syndrome girl is his BIGGEST fan!! The minute we come in the room she comes over to hug and kiss him and pat his mohawk. They send me pictures of her and tell me ALL day is just like this!!
Does this not make your heart want to explode!!!

She just loves him to pieces and I know he loves her! I swear they were special friends in heaven and just got to reconnect here at school!

I no longer feel bad that my kid’s future is in “SPECIAL ED”…I feel privileged!! He IS so special and there is no other class I would want him to be in!!!

Even though he is in the special ed class…he has lots of opportunity to interact with the other kids at school and he has made quite the impression on the ladies out at recess! The nurses tell me he is constantly swarmed by the girls! (It is great to have nurses to be your picture takers and informants! ;))
Hey Ladies!! ;)

One day a girl asked to go down the slide with him (double slides) holding hands…as soon as they got done there was a line of girls all wanting a turn! ;) Made my heart so happy to hear!

He has this little beauty who likes to take care of him. She just hangs with him at recess while her friends come and go! ;)
Don’t you love the way this girl is just handling his wheelchair like she owns him!? ;)

I feel so blessed that this year is going so well! I know Dakota is loving the constant stimulation and friendships he is forming! I think he was ready to take on the big school…it just took his mom a little bit to catch the vision!

I especially love that he gets to experience more new things at the big school like music class…he loved the drums!

He loves to go to P.E.! And he even got to go to his first assembly! I remember loving those as a kid! The nurse said he was ALL smiles soaking that thing up!!

I am MOST excited that they are all getting trained on using an eye gaze communication that he will be able to use in class! We went one day to learn about it and to see how he would do and the lady over the district said he did the best she has ever seen a kid do on their first time!
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The screen has a tracker on the bottom that tracks where he is looking. Once he looks at an object for so long it lights up and says what it is! So he would be able to make choices and play games on it and eventually maybe learn to communicate more and more!

I am SOOOO excited to see where this could go! If we could get this kid an avenue to communicate with us I know he will have SO much to say!!!

I am learning to love his new teacher more and more. She has a lot different personality then the preschool teacher…more serious and quiet. But as she has come to know Dakota she has built quite the schedule for him and makes sure he is working and learning right along with all the other kids! Not sure how these special ed teachers do it…so many different kids with so many different needs! They are superhuman!!

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Mrs. Hansen


  1. So many blessings in such unexpected forms. I'm so happy for you and Dakota. There's nothing better than having some of your Mom-worries put at ease.

  2. It was all I could do to not cry through this whole post! I'm a special ed teacher in Utah and love, love, love my job. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, but also the most rewarding. It's amazing to see these kids grow, learn, and change!!

    1. You are amazing and special for doing what you do! Thank you!!!!! The world needs amazing people like you!!!

  3. It's hard as moms to let our kids grow up and be gone from home so long. Glad he's loving school! One of my best friends has a down syndrome girl and she is one of the most loving person you could ever meet! They are all so special in a very good way:-)

  4. What a great post! I love hearing that Dakota's entry into "big" school has gone so smoothly. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your heart. Xoxo.

  5. I don't actually know you, I think I found you through a friend of a friend kind of deal forever ago. And I can't remember if I've ever commented but I wanted to share how inspiring your journey is to me. You are a rockstar mama!! This post had me crying though the entire thing-happy tears for you and your little man. What a special guy with so many people cheering him on! My kindergartener is autism spectrum and I too worried about how peers would treat him and all his little quirks. It's amazing the amount of love those kids have to offer and how smoothly it all has worked out. God bless you and your family!