It’s the beginning of the school year her in Manila. It’s that time of year when it’s easy for me to get everything in order in the house. I make all the doctor appointments, pack lunches, and become a little more scheduled with our meals and activities.
Part of the beginning of the year for me means that I get to meet with Gellibean’s teachers at The Little Apprentice. We start the year off with a parent teacher (and therapist) conference, updating her new teacher with her progress from last year and setting new goals for Gelli’s team to help her achieve.
This time of year means we also visit her developmental pediatrician.
Last week, we visited Dr. Lazarro for the first time this year.
Dr. Lazarro has been part of the team of doctors who have taken care of Gelli since her birth.
We visit Doc once a year, so he can assess Gelli’s development, and set goals for the coming year. It’s our plan to enroll her in a typical school where she will be in a mainstreamed classroom.
There aren’t many options for us when it comes to “big school,” so we have to start doing our homework as early as now, in order to make the best choices for our girl when it comes to her education.
Doc is a very busy man. As many of the parents with children who have special needs may already know, securing an appointment with your dev ped is not an easy task. Part of the reason it’s so difficult is the fact that there are so few doctors who specialize in this area of expertise.
So, this appointment that I made with Doc was made WAY in advance. As in MONTHS.
I prepared for this appointment by asking Teachers Pat, Danica, and Geline to submit progress reports for Gelli. They each wrote their respective reports, and I brought copies of all of them to Dr. Lazarro on the day of our appointment.
Doc welcomed Gelli into his office and was ready to assess where she is cognitively, emotionally, behaviorally, and physically.
To be honest, Gelli surprised me. She was such a big girl. I asked Nino to accompany us to this appointment, and I think he was equally surprised to see Gelli so well behaved, so grown up, and so attentive. We are so relaxed at home, so seeing Gelli in “working school mode,” was an interesting change.
She completed all the tasks that Doc set in front of her. Many of the puzzle pieces were quite easy for her to place. She was even trying to get Doc’s attention during his assessment by calling him “Teacher.” I had to giggle a little bit because she was trying so hard to direct Doc to play with the toys that she had her eye on since we walked into his office. (Of course, it had a mirror.)
After Dr. Lazarro’s assessment, we talked about some of the things that we do at home. He wanted to have an idea of the kinds of activities Gelli does on a daily basis so he can make suggestions on how to improve the care we provide for her.
We talked about our goal to keep Gelli mainstreamed and Doc concurred that he thought it was a great idea. He suggested we increase the frequency of her occupational therapy, because Gelli has some typical behavioral issues that could hinder her development and attentiveness in class, if we don’t nip it in the bud.
When we left Doc’s office, I couldn’t help be feel hopeful. I know Nino shared the same sentiment, and while we were still in the car, we both shared a gratitude tear filled moment as we recounted what the doctor’s thoughts were on Gellibean and her development. I was proud of my little bean who accomplished so many of the tasks that Doc set in front of her. I was amused with the way her personality was undeniably assertive. She was following directions, but she also was very clear on letting Doc (er…Teacher) know that there were other things she was more interested in.
More than that, I was extremely grateful. Grateful for the team of people who help and care for Gelli as we nurture her development. If Doc was to give Gelli a report card, I’m sure it would have been full of gold stars, not just for Gellibean herself, but for all the people who are guiding her on her way.
AND, while I know this is certainly not a measure of the beautiful person she will grow into, it sure does validate all the hard work we are doing with #TeamGellibean to know that she is on the right track.