A Busy Week!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted more this week. We’ve been very very busy!

It’s been a pretty monumental week at our house. Remember a while ago when I started talking about shifting paradigms? Well this week marked a crucial change of paths in our journey with Nathan and how we approach his disability. Let me explain.

Nathan’s IEP meeting is next week. This is a HUGE meeting and will determine his new services as he will soon be the “responsibility” of the school district. In preparation for this meeting, I asked Mrs. Tiscia, Nathan’s Waldorf teacher, for help. On Monday morning she came over so we could talk about what Nathan’s educational goals would be, how things would work out between the special needs preschool and the Waldorf preschool, etc. It soon became a heart to heart talk about Nathan’s journey, and our journey as his parents.

And what came out of the meeting was a decision to change how we take care of Nathan. We decided to fully commit to a Waldorf way of life. Not just for Nathan, but for us as his caretakers as well. So Mrs. Tiscia came almost every day this week to help us transition. Here are some of the things we decided:

* Nathan will ONLY go to the Waldorf preschool. He will go to the mommy and me program 1 day a week, and to the preschool program 2 days / week. The other 2 days he will stay at home with us.
* We will receive NO services from the state / school district. Wohooooo!!!! I can show up at the IEP and say, thank you very much, but for now, your services are not required. Those words will roll off my mouth with GUSTO.
* Well, ALMOST no services. The only thing we will request is speech therapy. Everything else – we’ve got covered! We have an in-home PT program with MEDEK. And all his other needs will be adressed by the Waldorf approach.

So you must be wondering, well what is the Waldorf approach?

Here is the routine that Mrs. Tischia helped us create for Nathan. We implemented it most of the week and it was LOVELY. Not just for him..also for us.

* Wake up – Morning song and massage
* Breakfast
* Walk to the park
* Medek at the park
* Circle time – music, games, play time
* Snack
* Domestic Arts / Crafts
* Swimming
* Lunch
* Story
* Nap
* Snack
* Circle Time
* Medek
* Outside Activity (swim class, gymboree, music class, visit grandma, play dates)
* Bath & Massage
* Bedtime story & song
* In bed by 8 pm

This is what’s called a Rhythm. The times may change day by day, but generally, every day we will follow a similar Rhythm and we will try to do things at similar times. This will help soothe Nathan’s nervous system and give him a sense of what comes next. It will take the mystery out of his routine. This should also help with some of his behavioral problems, as he will always know what comes next.

Instead of forcing him to learn through therapy, he will be learning through sensory stimulation. Instead of seeing flash cards of nature objects, we will have a nature walk every day. Instead of having him play with plastic toys that light up and make sound, we will be introducing wooden and handmade toys. We will sing to him, massage him, tell him stories with puppets, read him books, tell him rhymes. He will touch beautiful, natural objects.

Since young children learn through imitation, we will include him when we are preparing his meals and snacks. Instead of presenting him with food already ready and in a container, he will watch us as we prepare the food, and “help” prepare his meals. For example, yesterday we made kelp soup, and “helped” us derib the kelp. He enjoyed it so much! He enjoys being in the kitchen and participating in “domestic arts”. He will also watch as we do the dishes, clean the floor, etc. This way he will understand where his food comes from and he will hopefully learn to wait! Instead of demanding food “NOW”, he will see what the process is of making the food and learn that sometimes he has to wait for things to be ready.

There’s a lot more I can say about all of this but I will talk about it over the coming weeks. What’s most important is that Nathan THRIVES with this sort of routine. He LOVES listening to songs, stories, “circle time” activities, crafts. He has been lit up from the inside out like a candle this week. There’s been an inner glow emanating from him. Instead of life happening TO him and being forced to do so many things, now he can learn those things within a gentle, loving, spiritual context.

It’s also stimulated more peace for us. Instead of being wound-up about therapies and all the things we need to do and accomplish in a day, we flow from activity to activity with joy.

So it’s been a busy week – but a very beautiful one! Next week I will try to film some of the activities that are now a part of his day.

I leave you with a wish for a Happy 4th of July and a couple of pictures!

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