Preschool Already?! Eek!
Last Wednesday our beautiful daughter started preschool. I’m so proud of her. I’ll have to tell you all about the first few minutes of her first day shortly – but first some background.
You may remember the blog post I had a little while ago fearing that Tori has autism. We’ve learned a lot working with Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) through the recommendation of Tori’s pediatrician. What we have found is that Tori does not have autism, but has a delay in her communication development and in her social skills – and she has a sensory processing disorder.
As far as the delays, we’re not concerned about them, per se – I didn’t start talking until I was nearly two years old, so Tori having very few words at 19 months doesn’t worry me yet. We’re not surprised about her social delay because she stays at home with Dad during the day and doesn’t have the opportunity to meet friends.
But what about the sensory processing disorder? What it means, in a nutshell, is that Tori senses things differently than we do. She enjoys rocking, bouncing on the couch, and being tossed around up-side-down because she loves the motion and its sensory input. She doesn’t like having water in her face during hair-washing because the sensation is too much for her. She doesn’t like having her fingernails clipped because of the sensation of having the ends or joints of her fingers squeezed. She used to crab-walk on some surfaces because she didn’t like the textures of linoleum, hardwood flooring, or grass against her knees.
What this boils down to is that Josh, Tori, and I will be working with an occupational therapist to help her acclimate to these sensations so that they don’t bother her as badly. Our goal is to make her more physically comfortable in the world around her.
That brings us to the original point of this post – Tori’s first day of preschool.
We walked her in for her first day at Project Help and then went back to the observation room they have behind a double-sided mirror. We watched as she sat down quietly for her snack, waited her turn, and then went off to play. She immediately made friends with the little boy sitting beside her and started mimicking his actions – they looked like they were doing the wave! The little boy raised his arms in the air and lowered them – then Tori did – then he did again – and so did she.
We didn’t stay very long and left so that I could get to work. At the end of her morning, Josh picked her up and got that day’s report card. She did exceptionally well her first day! Yesterday she wasn’t feeling very well so she didn’t do as well. They reported that she was fussy and cried a bit, but I’m not surprised. I’m sure that the days will get easier as she’s there longer.
She’ll be going on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. While she’s there, Tori will have peer models that will help her with her social skills and communication. They’ll also work with her on her sensory issues there. Josh and I are very excited to be working with the teachers at Project Help! (Pictures of Tori on her first day of school are soon to follow.)