an exciting day for Lucas

Lucas went to his first day of "school" today! What a fun day for him! I took the day off to experience this fun milestone.

We have been VERY fortunate to be working with Clarke PA (auditory/oral school for the deaf) since early September. I haven't posted much about it, but it's been a phenomenal experience. By some luck of the draw, Early Intervention in our county decided to start contracting with them, and they now provide Lucas's weekly hearing therapy session. Over the summer, we visited the school to learn about their early childhood programs, and shortly thereafter, Lucas started benefiting from their services AT OUR HOME. Um yeah, we're very fortunate.

When I first searched for auditory/oral programs in the vicinity over a year ago, I concluded that the commute would not be worth it. I thought we would make do with what is available to us locally. Things have changed, and here we are.

The drive is 80 miles each way. We're talking 3 hours in the car round-trip, without traffic. It's a good thing that Lucas likes to go "bye-bye" a lot! Lucas is also very lucky that his Oma is as committed to his educational success as his mommy and daddy are, or else he would have no way of getting there.

Right now, the "early toddler" program meets just once a week. That's one of the reasons we feel that the commute is doable. The next age group goes twice a week, and the preschool-aged kids attend up to 5 days a week. Our goal is to mainstream him locally at 3, and we hope that this program will give him the language boost he needs to make that possible. Who knows where we'll be in a year though!

There were 7 toddlers in the group today. It was really a introductory day, but Lucas enjoyed free play, circle time, a gross motor activity, a snack and then more free play. He interacted well with the other kids, and even sat well for circle time. I can't wait to see how he grows through the spring. I just wish I could be there to see it each week. It breaks my heart just thinking about missing it.

It's a state of the art facility, keeping in mind every detail for creating an ideal listening and learning environment for hearing impaired children. It's seriously impressive! The staff is just amazingly friendly too. I already feel very welcome there.

Here are a few pictures from today (Oma came in extra handy):

coloring fun

engaged during circle time

up, up, up goes the balloon

snack time

free play fun on the trampoline

Another big plus to the day was that Lucas got to visit his cousin Ryan, who lives pretty close to Clarke! These boys are going to be trouble together someday soon. Just wait...

I never imagined sending my 2-year-old to "school" already. But, I'm so excited for the experiences this program will provide for him and I think it's going to be well worth it!