Thursday, August 29, 2013
Keegan's First Day of Kindergarten
Yet another milestone in the Harrison house. Today was (technically) Keegan's first day of kindergarten! He is still homebound and unable to attend school with other children due to his immune suppression. So, this year he will receive four hours per week of one-on-one instruction at home with his special education teacher from the school district, Ms. Jenni. We were so excited that Keegan was able to stay with Ms. Jenni, and it was reassuring to see him slip right back into the routine with her, as if summer break never happened. Consistency is key for Keegan!
This year is slightly different than last year, in that the standard kindergarten curriculum will have to be adapted to fit Keegan's developmental stage. Last year, he was in pre-K at the Early Childhood School, where the entire school consists of kids with special needs in need of preparation for being mainstreamed into traditional kindergarten. Keegan is now technically enrolled at the local elementary school. He was assigned a classroom and teacher, who must "pretend" that Keegan is actually at school. She is required to create curriculum materials for him, keep an empty desk for him, and even a cubby for his things, even though we all know he will never step foot in the building. Each Tuesday, Jenni will meet with Keegan's classroom teacher to collect the materials the class completed the week before. Then, she will adapt the lesson plan to Keegan's level. It's complicated but reassuring to know that everything is planned out so well for him.
We know this is the best plan for Keegan. He works very well with Jenni, and we couldn't ask for better attention and dedication for him. We are extremely grateful that this option exists to help him learn and grow. But the pain is still there and gets just a bit deeper with every step on this journey. We have attended Meet the Teacher at the school alone and watched all the other kids from our neighborhood enter their classrooms for the first time. We discovered that Keegan would have been in class with his oldest friend, Lainey, from across the street and even would have been cubby-mates with her. It is easy to pretend that Keegan is not that much different from other kids his age when he is alone, but watching all the other kids at school events, it became painfully obvious how the gap has grown over the years. I couldn't help but wonder what he would have been like at this age had things not gone the way they have. We are grateful for every day with Keegan, no matter what, but it doesn't always make the grief over how things could have been any easier to swallow.
But today, we reached another milestone with our Bug that we were once told we never would. It may not be what we thought it would, but he has defied yet another odd on this journey. Congratulations on your big day, Keegan! We love you and are so proud of you. Welcome to kindergarten, buddy!