One thing I will never be in this world,and something I’m mildly interested in,if only for the free flights!-is an air traffic controller.For that you need a fairly decent level of depth perception.This is something I sorely lack as the many scraps and bumps on my car will attest to,I have immense trouble with judging the distances between objects,often banging into sides of tables,bed posts and on one occasion nearly walking head on into a street light while stone cold sober-not my finest moment!
This inability to process distances extends to people too. I have this odd quirk where I think I’m taller in relation to others. I’ll think I’m the same size as people and then I’ll find out that in actual fact they re 5 foot 7.Im only 5 foot 5,well in reality I’m 5 foot 4.8-I found out Id lost .2 of an inch when I went for a medical a few years back-but that seems a bit faffy to say so I round up. Everybody rounds up right? 😉
So I have a problem relating my physical space to those around me. And now it also seems I have a problem relating my child with her environment. After 3 years,I don’t think of Mini as being any different from other kids,I don’t see the Down syndrome,I just see Mini.I think she is smarter than she is,cos to me she is one smart cookie. She counts, she paints, she talks, she sings, she acts out scenes from her favourite cartoons but that’s not to say she doesn’t need help with somethings that come naturally to most kids.
We were recently interviewed as a family by a local preschool that we’re hoping to send Mini for five mornings to this September.It’s a Steiner kindergarten. I love the holistic approach of Steiner schools to teaching kids,how they work with the seasons,how they encourage the kids to feel,not just to learn. This particular pre-school sounds amazing. They go for walks three times a week,on Wednesdays they chop vegetables and make soup,on Thursday they bake bread.Music and art feature heavily throughout the week,two things Mini absolutely loves.
At the interview,we met the teacher, a lovely woman who is French-perfect! And whose brother has Down syndrome-even more perfect!She chatted to us about the kindergarten while Mini
made shit of explored her surroundings. Despite our best efforts,She’s still in the throwing phase and of course in her mind,to sit still for more than 30 seconds may cause her to turn to stone,so she spent the fifteen minutes or so that we were talking walking up and down the classroom,taking cups off the table,rearranging the nature table and trying to leg it out the door. None of these things seemed to phase the teacher at the time and she proclaimed that the kindergarten would be lucky to have Mini which made my heart swell. Inclusion in all facets of society for Mini is so high on our list of priorities for her.
I had thought Mini’s place was secured, however, I received a phone call from the school’s administrator this morning. She was enquiring if Mini was eligible for funding for some assistance in the classroom, like a special needs assistant but one offering basic help. I told her that we were waiting to hear back from the HSE on whether we would get funding for 3 hours assistance during the week. When Mini’s community nurse had suggested applying for the funding a few months ago, I had been reluctant. Sure, she doesn’t need that, I thought. Yet again forgetting that she does have needs. Not so much potty training as this won’t be an issue-they are happy to take her even if she is not fully trained but in other areas such as being a disruption to other kids, which she could be-she is still falling back on screaming to get her needs across-or plotting her escape at the mere hint of an open door an assistant would be a welcome and perhaps invaluable asset. The administrator suggested a trial for Mini as she had some concerns with how well she would cope with the walks, i.e. not run off at any chance she’d get, which to be honest would be very likely.
So Mini is booked in for a 2 week trial starting in June and we’ll see how she gets on. I’m praying she gets on well as I think this preschool is such a great fit for her. Either that, or we’ll hope the funding for assistance comes through. My depth perception for seeing how my child interacts with others has plumed new lows it seems. How did I think it would be ok for Mini to attend preschool without any assistance? I don’t see the Down syndrome, I just see Mini, but that doesn’t mean the Down syndrome isn’t there. It sounds crazy but it’s something I’ll have to remember, even though in the early days after Mini’s birth it was all I could see.