31 for 21: The highs of inclusion can be worth the risk and be oh so sweet!

I’ve posted before how Luke is in a 18-24 month old preschool class with 7 other kids his age in support of starting inclusion early.  I understand not everyone will be a good candidate for inclusion, but we are hoping Luke will be.  Generally, the class has been great. But like other moms before me, questions like “is this the right choice for my child” and “will he be accepted” all went through my mind. You wonder if your child can “handle it” and keep up with everyone else. You worry about putting your child out there and how other people may react (other parents, the teacher and the kids). So when only 3 kids showed up last week, I thought maybe it was because Luke made them uncomfortable, even though logically it doesn’t make sense. 

Then we had this week’s class this morning and there were 6 kids in class. It seems some have been sick and another had plans last week. So my paranoia was completely unfounded!  When we arrived, one of the boys who has been there every week just like Luke, ran up to Luke and gave him 3 hugs!  Luke was a little overwhelmed by the 3rd hug, but the thought was very sweet!  It was definitely a great way to start class!

I had also purchased this baby walker that is essentially a harness that has straps so that you can give a little extra support to early walkers. Click here to view the one we got. I’m pretty sure we will be keeping this one, even though it’s one of the more expensive ones out there but it’s easy to take on and off and supports him from the bottom unlike the cheaper ones out there. Also, I like the fact that the straps are detachable and we mainly use it without the straps, plus it is comfortable. But most importantly, Luke loves it!  He wears it over his spio and I take off the straps and just hold him up using the shoulder straps. He takes steps with me and I think he likes his new found perspective. Before that, he would refuse to stay upright on his feet when you wanted him to – this boy could not be forced to stand!  So he’s already taken hundreds of steps in this, although we will have to work on form next.  It is also nice not to have to carry him around all the time, and we want him to know he is not going to be carted around place to place, especially at school.   

So back to school, I put him in his early walker and we took steps into class. I sat him down for a quick art project and he tried to eat the paint on his fingers!  But he isn’t the only kid to have tried that!  He played with trucks and sat nicely for books in circle time. 

Then it was time to walk to the gross motor playroom which is a small gym with a nice indoor playground and it is quite far! So it took us a awhile to get there using the baby walker, but we made it eventually!  The past few weeks, Luke has mainly held back just watching the other kids. Well, not this week!  He got right into a laundry basket of balls and was shrieking with excitement!  Then while I was talking with another mom, he crawled right over to the playground steps and started crawling up. He went up the stairs all on his own, went through the tunnel to the platform to the slide and went down the slide head first all on his own!  I couldn’t have been prouder!  Another mom said that he could keep up with the other kids and I couldn’t agree more!

Then on the slow walk back to the classroom, the same boy who hugged Luke this morning (his little buddy!), saw that we were lagging behind everyone else a great deal. He turned around and walked back to Luke and took his hand and walked with him all the way back to the room. He definitely is his little buddy and is very sweet and considerate of his friends (he held hands with another child a couple weeks ago so he is just a cutie pie!). He sees Luke as who he is and that is just his friend. 

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