We were so worried about how Maya would adjust to a mainstream classroom this year, but as usual our Miss Mouse has knocked everyone's expectations square on their ass. She has a way of doing that.
School - she's doing beautifully, despite being in a loud, chaotic class of 35. She's having fun, participating appropriately, behaving well (no meltdowns so far! *knocking on everything wooden in the room*), and interacting incredibly well with the staff. Almost too well, her teacher told me the other day that she's quite the little tattletale (is that spelled right? it looks funny), running to her all day long to rat out her classmates. This from the child who didn't say an understandable word to her teacher for nearly a month last year and spent half that month flinging herself to the floor and screaming, and when she finally did begin speaking to them it was only in a whisper. We'll be discussing when it is and isn't appropriate to tattle, but her teacher actually thinks it's hysterical since this way she's got a little informant keeping her apprised of everything in class. She's opened up less to the other children, preferring to be by herself more often, but that's typical Maya and very understandable. It will take her a while longer yet before she's really comfortable with all those new kids, for now she's staying mainly with the few she already knew and a couple of other non-intimidating children. Frankly, I'm surprised she's even doing that much, we really thought the adjustment would put a lot more stress on her, which she normally reacts to by keeping to herself and trying to process it all.
Speech - her speech therapist will be doing a comprehensive evaluation over the next few weeks. Early indications have shown that Maya has actually closed the gap with her peers, both in terms of vocabulary and aural comprehension and memory (she was coming from way behind since she was a non-native speaker with communication issues) and in some categories she's actually advanced for her age. Wow! If the full evaluation backs this up, she will be discharged from speech therapy at that point. This therapist has been amazing and Maya has absolutely blossomed in her care. So much so in fact that she'll be disappointed to stop I think. (I'll be happy to get the time and the extra cash back though.)
Extracurriculars - I've enrolled Maya in a gymastics-type class once a week. She really loved the trial session and immediately asked to come back "a million times" so we went for it. It's some traditional gymnastics combined with basic body skills and awareness stuff, with a healthy dose of music and games thrown in for good measure. The teacher was good, despite having one of the most disruptive children I've ever seen in the class (hopefully he won't stay or will at least settle down a bit). As for Maya, she dove right in - answered the teacher's questions loudly and clearly and then proceeded to express her opinions whenever she felt necessary (i.e. she kept suggesting to the teacher that this or that (non-musical) activity would really be better with music LOL).
I'm in awe. Her conversational skills have exploded, and with them all these typical nearly six year old behaviors that we hadn't seen until now. She's developed a ravenous curiosity about the world around her, she jumps into conversations with suggestions or comments, she tells me all about her day (this is huge), or else tells me that she doesn't want to tell me if she feels like blowing me off, she actively negotiates when she wants something. All these incredible, amazing, utterly typical behaviors. And she's doing them.
If I hadn't seen her progress with my very own eyes I'd never ever believe that this is the same child who used to rage and scream like a wounded animal for an hour (literally) when asked to do something like get dressed.
I keep remembering how I sat in the psychologist's office 18 months ago and she asked me what my goal for Maya was - what did I want most of all. My answer? That I could ask her if she was hungry for dinner and get an answer, not a scream or 20 minutes of quoting an episode of Dora, and that I could do it without having to walk over to her, squat down in front of her, force her to make eye contact, and ask her directly, right in her face, and even then to not get an answer most of the time.
I can call to her from the other room and get an answer like "I'm not ready for dinner yet Mom, I'm in the middle of watching something. When it's over then I'll be ready."
I don't know if you can really understand the magnitude of how very far she's come, we've all come, without having lived through it, but to stop and actually think about it makes me literally gasp out loud. There were times, many many dark times, when I never thought we'd make it half this far.
God I love that girl.
(And my boy, who, even though he continues to get less air (screen) time because life flows so much more easily for him, continues to amaze and astound us even more with each passing day.)