I think Sadie needs more time around other children. She loves it when she hears kids playing or sees another child (even if that child is 6 or 7). And we don't really have a lot of opportunities to interact with other children. Some of that is my fault because I don't participate in mommy groups and things, but taking Sadie on a field trip to the children's museum can quickly become a disaster. Sometimes Sadie goes to childcare at the gym. She usually stays in the infant room, and all the babies crawl all over her and grab at her hair. She loves it. But they're not equipped for a special needs kid, so sometimes taking her there is more work than it's worth.
But we found special needs day care at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).
I kind of had heard about UCP when Sadie was first diagnosed and things were being thrown at us from all directions, but she was so little then, and their services seemed like they were for bigger kids. And anyway, even if we knew about day care then, Sadie couldn't have gone. She needed me, and only I would do. All.Day.Long.
But now Sadie's bigger, and she still needs me, but not as much as when she was a baby. So, today we took a tour of the facility at UCP...which really meant going into the classroom and talking to the lead teacher. As soon as we walked through the door Sadie could hear kids playing outside on the playground and she got really happy! Everybody there was so nice. And they knew how to interact with Sadie and talk to her, they weren't afraid of her because she's different. And of course they told her how pretty she is...because it's true.
We saw the 1-year-olds room, and we got there just at the beginning of nap time. The lights were out and precious little ones were snuggled onto their cots with their blankies. They were so cute. Some weren't napping, just laying there. Some needed patting or rubbing, so there was a teacher helping to do that. And there was one who just wasn't interested in a nap at all, so he was playing quietly in the corner by himself. I told her Sadie doesn't nap, she said, "that's okay, we have other kids that don't nap, we'll help her with whatever she needs at that time." We agreed that some quiet time with the lights down did seem like a good idea, even if she never fell asleep.
The more I talked to the lead teacher and asked questions, the more I realized how wonderful this could be for Sadie. They have a lunch menu and the cook will put it in the blender and puree it for Sadie and they'll feed it to her by mouth!! But they'll also use her tube as necessary. This teacher, who couldn't have been a day over 24, wasn't phased by anything... I asked about meltdowns, she said they're used to it, these are toddlers, they can handle it. I asked about puke, she said they have strong stomachs and it doesn't bother them. I asked about rocking and bouncing and she said they don't really have anything, but that they have a lot of teachers and they'll give her the movement she needs. (I looked at her like she's crazy, she doesn't know) They even told me that as she gets settled, they can talk to the therapists in the other part of the building and see if they have equipment Sadie can use. And they encouraged me to invite her therapists to come visit her at day care and talk to her teachers about what else they can do to help.
We agreed that even though Sadie will probably be 2 when she starts coming, that we'd start her out in the 1-year-old room because it's a smaller group of kids and it's a little more calm. Good idea.
So, the ONLY downside is that it's REALLY far away from where we live now, and will be even farther from our new house. But, that's not really a bad thing because it's only about 15 minutes from where Sadie has physical therapy with Tami twice a week. I'm hoping we can run to UCP after therapy and then I can go somewhere with wifi and get a few hours of uninterrupted work done. Even though we'd have to drive 45 minutes (one way) for therapy, it makes it worth it if Sadie can go to "school" and make some friends and play with other kids.
I'm really excited about this! I can't wait to get this started! Sadie's getting to be a big kid and before you know it, I'll be writing about her first day of school.