Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child. Have fun!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Team Victor

When Victor turned 3 in the spring, we transitioned from Early Intervention services to the Intermediate Unit. At the time, all of his EI therapists believed that a regular preschool would be a good choice for Victor in the fall. During his IU evaluation, his evaluators agreed. Victor needs to be with his peers in a structured setting yet we feared an IU preschool would set him up for mimicking undesirable behaviors. Even though I've never sent a child to preschool before, I agreed that this would be a good choice for Victor. And let's just be really honest here, I need the break. Probably the worst reason in the world to send a child to preschool but then again, come walk a few steps in my shoes. (Or even just listen a few minutes with my ears.)

But we all know Victor, and knowing Victor, we knew that the only way this could work would be for him to have a one-on-one assistant. In our state, this means a TSS. I started the process to have him evaluated.

Stepping forward in faith, the Good Doctor and I set out to find a preschool that we could feel good about. We knew we wanted a Christian based preschool but beyond that, we had no idea where to start. Who would even want a 3 year old that bangs his head, bites his arm, and spits at you? Especially at a Christian based preschool where the pay is even lower than low and they aren't paid enough to consider purposely choosing to accept this challenge. But I made a mental list of local churches that have preschools and prepared myself for some difficult phone calls. My first move, however, was to fill out an on-line application for the preschool at a local Christian college. I was honest on the application. I didn't expect a response.

But I got one! And she wanted to set up a visit and tour. We were blown away. Not only were they willing to talk with us, not only were they willing to accept Victor in their program, but they were enthusiastic about having him in their school! I couldn't believe it. They were thrilled at the opportunities it would bring to teach empathy and compassion in the other students and looking forward to the opportunities this would give their student teachers. We never visited anywhere else.

Stepping forward in faith, because now I not only had to have him potty trained by fall, we had to be approved for a TSS, we sent in our deposit.

And then I was at the college as a guest parent speaking to students in a special education class when the preschool teacher asked me if I had heard what was going on behind the scenes. I had not but what she told me brought tears to my eyes. On Victor's behalf, some very special educators at the college were thinking outside the box. They had found a student with interest in early intervention as a career, who could gain experience by serving as Victor's intern for a semester. As time went on, it got even better. Victor now has an intern just for him, one for the first semester, and one for the second.

And that TSS to assist him? We were approved in June.

We're still waiting to be assigned an actual person.

Stepping forward in faith, Victor, HopeAnne, and I met with his team one morning last week. His teacher of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility instructor, occupational therapist, preschool teacher, and the professor of special education who will supervise the interns all sat around in a circle with us. Victor was clearly overstimulated and anxious. His spinning made all of us dizzy. His spitting made us all damp. But we weren't told to leave. They didn't try to shorten the meeting to just get us out of there. And afterward, an email was circulated among all who had attended, suggesting that Team Victor (there was even a suggestion of matching T-shirts) was ready and willing to accept the challenge.

Victor will start preschool on a shorter schedule, arriving after the chaos of all of his peers with weepy parents and anxious kids. He'll stay as long as he is able each day. We'll increase his time as he is ready. And the first 2 weeks, while the interns complete classwork, I'll be Victor's assistant. Pray for me.

Would you join Team Victor by praying for his transition and his year? You should probably be in prayer for all of the other members of Team Victor who will be in the trenches with him either full time or flitting in and out of his class as they work with him weekly. In faith I believe that this is the right thing and the right place for Victor. But it is all in the hands of a child whose behavioral specialist has "Victor will comply 60% of the time" as one of his goals. We're aiming high here, people. Aiming high.

But one thing I know for certain, Victor is wanted in this preschool and he will be loved. For who he is. Plain and simple.

Isn't that how Jesus would love the children?

"God's deepest desire is not that we would help the poor. God's deepest desire is that we would love the poor; for if we love them, we will surely help them." - Richard Stearns, Unfinished

Poor, vulnerable, lonely, widowed, orphaned, disabled - the least of these. Yes, if we love them we will help them.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I'm thankful for your transparency and your courage. Your family's love continues to be example to all of us. I'm praying for all in Team Victor. Have a great year!

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  2. I am sitting in a hotel lobby with tears of joy in my eyes. Victor and your family are always in our prayers and will continue as he grows and learns. Thank you for sharing. God is so very good.

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  3. I am sitting in a hotel lobby with tears of joy in my eyes. Victor and your family are always in our prayers and will continue as he grows and learns. Thank you for sharing. God is so very good.

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  4. Tears for the goodness of God. Go Team Victor!

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  5. I will pray for Team Victor knowing that God is able to do even more than we can ask or imagine!

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  6. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably. It's not wrong to need a break. It's important for you to build reserve and resilience as his mommy. Definitely praying for you and especially for Victor in this big transition!

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