Fun with Mainstreaming! Part 2 – the staff

This is the ninth installment of the story of our journey with Maura…

I want to pause here for a moment and talk about the school staff, the people in the trenches, those who worked with Maura on a daily basis during kindergarten.

When I think of Maura’s (second) para-professional, resource room teacher and kindergarten classroom teacher, I always smile.  These ladies were nothing less than kick-ass when it came to caring for my daughter.  If I were to start a school, I’d hire all three in a heartbeat.  They saw Maura for who she was, what her capabilities were, never held her back, and always looked out for her.  If they weren’t there, I don’t know if I would have been able to send Maura in every day.

The kindergarten teacher especially loved my stories of why we were once again late for school – and we were late enough, that at an IEP meeting, she had us explain why we’d be late a lot, and why it shouldn’t be held against us.  Sometimes, it was just so Maura could sleep in (her bus came at 7:30 am, and some mornings, she just wouldn’t wake up.)   Sometimes, I’d get Maura all set to go, go to get myself dress, only to come downstairs and find Maura had completely stripped down and I’d have to start over again (dressing Maura can be like dressing a drunk octopus.)

Once, it was a completely ridiculous scenario, where the dogs ran out, I ran out to herd dogs back into the yard, Maura ran out too, running after dogs, me trying to herd all three creatures back into the house…and discovered that Maura stepped in dog poop.  She only had one pair of shoes that went over her ankle-foot orthotics.  So I had to take off the shoes and scrub them down before sending her into the carpeted school.  I thought they’d appreciate that.  They did.

The resource room teacher was just everything you could ask for – engaging, caring, always trying out new things to help Maura learn.  She put her heart into her work and cared about every one of her students.

And yes, the aide who took care of Maura as if she was one of her own.

There was also the two speech therapists she had that year, two amazing women who worked hard to help get Maura talking more – who had also worked with my other children at various times.  I trusted them completely and yes, I’d hire them on at my fantasy school team.

There were others too – the bus driver who was also just the most trustworthy soul, I trusted her with all my kids, and I knew she’d keep a good eye on Maura on the way to and from school.  The school secretaries, who made sure Maura got her meds every day.

All these people made the impossible work.  Plus those who advise me from the sidelines – they know who they are, and they have my thanks.

I can’t even imagine how much better it would have been with the cooperation of the administration.  Because in a way, we were in an ideal situation – a small town where everyone knew Maura, who cared about her and knew her ways.  How Maura could walk into stores and people would be patient with us while I got her to use her words.  The coffee shop where she’d hand out hugs and get chocolate muffins.   My circle of friends who were always there willing to help out.  The ballet teacher who felt that of course Maura should be in class with her peers – I really miss that ballet teacher!

There was a lot of good that year.  There really was.  It’s what got me through the crazy times, and had me apologizing to all the people who had to put up with my ranting about the other things.  To them, they will always have my constant gratitude, and I will be singing their praises for the rest of time.