OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMatan’s made a HUGE improvement during this year in a special education pre-school. A year ago he spoke only a few words, and usually resorted to non-verbal communication to express his needs. Just a few months into the school year, there was already a huge leap in his verbal abilities. Today he expresses complex sentences and asks questions that indicate a deeper understanding. It’s hard to explain, but everyone who knows him sees a big difference.

Halfway through the year he began “integration” into an aftercare program for regular children and he’s been doing very well there. In the beginning he didn’t participate much in group sessions, but now the teacher sends me photos of his active participation in several of their regular activities like drama and animal visits.

Several months ago we met with his teacher and the assigned psychologist, and both felt he would be better off remaining in special education for at least another year. They did not recommend a full integration program for him, which would allow him to spend two days a week at a regular kindergarten and the other four days in the special ed program.

All that changed when we met with both of them this week. They both agreed that he’s ready for a formal integration program, not just in aftercare, but in a regular kindergarten, twice a week. Yay! This means he will be spending time with other children from our neighborhood so that he will be better socialized and more able to visit with friends. It also means he will have more incentive to measure up to the regular kids.

His swim therapy is also going well, and he’s finally willing to put his head under water to accomplish tasks in a game. He’s really beginning to enjoy going to the pool. In the past, he would spend most of his time playing with trucks outside the pool, with occasional dips in the baby pool to splash around. Now he enjoys showing me how he’s learned to kick, blow bubbles with his mouth and nose under water and even submerge his head. And summer’s only beginning!