Our first week of the new school year is drawing to a close, and I'm glad to report that it has been a success. Once again, God is showing that, if we give Him our fears and worries, He will make all things good. (I know I mangled a couple of Bible verses there; forgive me!)
Our first day was Tuesday, and we always start with just a half day. So, for Dale, not only did he have the adjustment of attending several different classes but also his class periods were much shorter to enable each teacher to at least meet their students and explain class policies. Normally, a class hour runs for about 50 minutes; on Tuesday, they were more like 25 minutes long. I'm sure Dale was thoroughly confused by the time school finally ended! Plus, he took a fall about half-way through the day. He was seated in his third-hour class when he leaned down to get his Bible out of his backpack. As you know, Dale has no balance check to indicate he's leaning over too far; one minute he is sitting there just fine, and the next he's plunging headfirst toward the table leg. He wound up with a new scrape on his forehead but really none the worse for wear. In his words, "I've had worse!" Poor Bro. Minge---he told me that, for the rest of the class period, every time Dale twitched at all, he would jump! Yep, we know how that feels. :-)
Dale has had a couple of guys helping ferry him from class to class. One guy is responsible for keeping Dale upright, and the other carries Dale's backpack. Yesterday Dale and I went through his backpack and locker, trying to set things up in a way that requires him to carry fewer things in his backpack. If he only carries a couple of classes' worth of books at a time, he (Dale) should be able to hold his backpack in his one hand while allowing the helper to steer him with his other hand/arm. I posted Dale's class schedule in his locker to assist with book choices, and I may color-code or sticker-code his classes' books to help him and his helper figure out which books to grab when. I'm waiting to do that until I think it is necessary; I want to give Dale time to figure things out on his own first, if he can. I've certainly given enough instructions to him over these first days of school to last him a lifetime! He seems to be thriving lately. I don't know if it's just being back in a regular school routine or having his friends around more or what, but I've noticed a difference just in these last few days. Dale will walk around more on his own---just down the hall to the bathroom or into his bedroom after brushing his teeth---without waiting for me to stand near him. My heart skips a beat whenever I look up from my couch to find Dale at my elbow, but I do my best to hide this reaction and instead act like seeing him walk around is absolutely normal. Easier said than done! It just seems like Dale is accepting that he doesn't need constant help now and is more willing to "take steps" to prove that to himself. I don't want to jump the gun and assume he's never going to have a bad day again, but it is good to see him more relaxed and mobile.
We are slowly discovering that more procedures need to be put into place to make sure Dale writes down and completes all assignments. He has a school planner and has been given repetitive instructions to be sure to record everything, but apparently that is not enough. I checked this planner after school, only to find that Dale had only recorded one subject.......and that was written on a date at the beginning of August! Sooooo, I talked to those of his teachers whom I could find, wrote down the homework they laid out, and had Dale start as soon as we got home---which wasn't until nearly six o'clock. Dale worked on school work with a short break for dinner until his nine o'clock bedtime and still didn't finish, simply because it takes him longer to write things out than an average student. We'll have to keep tweaking our system until we find what works for Dale, but lots of homework is a pretty decent trade-off just to have our son in school. (Dale probably wouldn't agree with me!)
Praise the Lord for His goodness! I don't have time or space to tell all the blessings and recurrent miracles we have experienced just in the last three days of school. Dale is accepted by his schoolmates; he is taking notes in class; he is walking more than before; he even tried running today---while holding Katie's hand, of course! Running........can you believe it?! He had a fun moment with some of the guys because they wanted to carry him sack-of-potatoes style into the gym. High school guys---need I say more? God is so good to us, and we will ever praise His name. God bless each of you as He has us...........without the drowning part! :-D
Psalm 23: 1 "The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want."