Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Born this way

Born This Way

Click on the link above - and I hope it takes you to a youtube clip that I just LOVE! I have watched it a few times already today - cos I just enjoy it so much.

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. Last year on a  whim I wrote a fb post - and then felt a bit trapped into writing one each day up until the 21st... it was fun but also required a bit of time and thought as to what I could say and how I should say it. THis year I found myself feeling guilty. Committed families were putting up posts and I was still dithering around as to what to do. In the end I opted for organising an early dinner with another family that we are friends with - whose daughter is absolutely Hannah's favourite person in the whole wide world...and some picture postcards that I have put up on fb.... One of which already had the "Born this way" quote on it....

This video clip is all I really would want to say for this year's WDSD. I guess that I am lucky enough at the moment to feel how totally 'normal' our lives are and hence I was struggling a bit with what to do to mark WDSD - because I absolutely believe that it is an important day to celebrate and advocate for inclusion for people with DS.

I might think of more to add before the 21st but for now - if you haven't seen this on fb - please check it out - it is awesome fun.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Sewing and School

Things have been going rather well in the Dock although I do get a bit tired of the rain....
I am working 5 (short) days a week this year - after working 3 long days for 7 years...it is actually working rather well. Work is more manageable, I can do pick ups and drop offs which is great and Mon-Wed I take the twins to the library to work on their homework which is having a positive effect on their learning. The worst part is trying to work out when and how I can vacuum and mop my floors - especially as the weekends have tended to be quite wet.
Ready for Year 3...they are in the same class again this year with a teacher who is new to the school.
 Hannah is coming along in leaps and bounds - she is keen to be seen as 'grown up' and for the first time is happy to work independently on her worksheets for periods of time. It is a great start for her.
 She is as ever very keen on her dancing and attends a mainstream dance class as well as a class for children with a disability. She loves and is coping with both. Here are two of her new dance outfits.

As well as that Kit has taken up ballet. He loved helping out at Hannah's class for children with disability so much last year that this year we decided to enrol him in a ballet class of his own. Unfortunately it means he can't volunteer at the moment as there is only so many days in the week! Still he is loving it and I hope that one day he will be able to volunteer again.. he gets so much out of it.
He is loving it. His class is on 15 minutes before Hannah's - they are 1 suburb apart - so I race to Kit's lesson - where they both change out of their school uniform and into their dance clothes and then I drive Hannah to her lesson, drive back to get Kit and then he and I go back for the last part of Hannah's class...it is a little manic but usually there is at least 5 minutes to spare at critical points in the itinerary so it works and is better than having to fill another afternoon with an external activity.
It is the only time that I get a little twinge - as I take Kit to his 'regular' class, where he is one of only 2 or 3 boys surrounded by all these fluttering princess fairies in their dance costumes that I then have to leave to take Hannah to her 'special' dance class.
I don't mind - she attends a mainstream class too - just not that one. And the class for special needs is fantastic and I want her to be able to go and enjoy herself - somewhere SHE is catered for - where SHE is the 'norm'...still I always get a 'feeling' about it...I wonder if my parents felt it when they would drop my sister at the school for Deaf and Blind and myself and my oldest sister at our school?
Hmmm it isn't a big deal and yet it is a 'deal'. It is something we have to consider -  I am very happy to have Hannah spend time in settings that are specifically designed to cater for special needs -  as I know how important it was for my sister to develop ties and bonds with the hearing impaired community (or 'deafies' as she refers to them). I also see how important it is to provide her with a range of environments. To see what she can do. For years I used to hope she'd say she was done with her mainstream dance class but every year she'd say she wanted to go back and her teacher would say how happy he was to have her - and then last year I saw it. I finally 'got it'. She is progressing and learning so much as part of that class. She is 'coping', in fact I rather think she is thriving. You just don't always know what is going to work do you? And so I have my beautiful dancing twins....
This week saw us back again for another IEP meeting - it was productive, positive and enjoyable. Her new teacher is working out a treat. Goals are set that address her social and academic needs. We have found a rhythm that is working. I have a principal who is committed...I consider us to be very lucky because without the best resources (funding enables approx 1 hour a day of support for Hannah) you really are relying on rabbits out of hats or lots of dedication!
A 'selfie' for school...
Our weekends have been pretty relaxed. We took the brats into Chinatown for the start of Chinese New Year.

 Eating those noodles...

Valentine's day was quite close to the Lunar New Year.....
 so as part of our Valentine's feast of Japanese - Hannah worked out how to use chopsticks by herself - a skill that Kit is still to master. We were very proud of her!
One day I went on an excursion to Taronga Zoo with my students so I offered for the twins to come with me. Initially they both said that they'd go to school as usual but on the morning Hannah was up bright and early and said that she wanted to come. Here she is with one of the worksheets that our students do. Ready for work:

 My favourite- the flying fox...or fruit bat:
One positive of all this rain on the weekends has been the time to do some patchwork:
 I am loving my Saffron Craig fabrics - so pretty!

And when the rain stops, towards the end of the week - there is the possibility of a reward for all of our efforts: