Several week’s ago I realized I haven’t blogged in over SIX MONTHS! So much has occurred since my last post. The entire world was on lock down. That was definitely an experience. Throughout that time, God really blessed and provided for me and the boys! I still had my job, I was able to work from home, and Kenden had nursing 5 days a week. It was scary having 3 different nurses in my home but I needed the help! I wiped down daily and made sure I had enough food in my home to offer the nurses. Mom and Mike ( stepdad) made sure we had paper towels and tissue paper. As you know they were hot commodities. Thankfully I have a mother that believes you can NEVER have enough tissue so I was able to shop for that at her home. She even offered tissue to Kenden’s staff. During quarantine everyone had to stick together and make things work.
The end of March or the early part of April our school system decided to shutdown for the remainder of the school year. Kenden’s amazing teacher, Ms. P did weekly zoom meetings with him. He looked forward to their time to talk and catch up. she would read his absolute fav, “The Cat in the Hat!” He knew every word to the story. She didn’t do any academics just strictly checking in. We both knew online learning was not the best structure for him. However, she emailed educational material. Ms. P had no concern about regression. As for me, I was just trying to survive and make it through each day. I could not add another thing to my plate. Ms. P has been more than a teacher. She has been our rock. This summer I had to fire a nurse. In the beginning of the quarantine I had three nurses. By the summer I had one full time person. I thought she would work out but I noticed a change in her attitude and demeanor with Kenden. I no longer felt comfortable with her in my home so I had to let her go. The day I fired the nurse I called Ms. P. I told her I needed help with Kenden until the home health agency could find replacement. She said “no problem and asked what days would I need her?” I was so grateful for her willingness to help me.
Last year I found a special needs summer camp. They were absolutely amazing to Kenden. They were able to accommodate his needs and handle his behaviors. I knew this was the place for him to be during the summer months. I signed him up mid March for his second year of camp. With COVID-19 and quarantine happening I was unsure if they would still have camp. I prayed it would still open. Kenden was becoming increasingly bored at home which leads to severe behaviors. They made the decision to open camp however they would only take 6 children. Thankful Kenden was one of the six kiddos. I was so excited but unclear how I would pay the cost of camp. Late February to about early March I applied for grants and scholarships to cover the cost of camp. When I got word camp was still on I had not heard from any of the organizations I applied for grants through. I prayed and asked God to find a way and he didn’t disappoint. The Autism Spectrum Foundation covered the entire cost of the camp. I paid absolutely nothing out of my pocket. After two weeks into camp I heard from My Goal Autism. They gave Kenden a 1,000 dollar scholarship to use on whatever he needed. Since camp was covered, I opened Kenden a checking and savings account.
Before the close of summer, the school system made the decision to start school on the scheduled return date. However, the first two weeks of school would be a hybrid schedule. That meant 2 days at school and 3 days at home. I knew that wasn’t the best learning style for Kenden and to make it worst Ms. P wasn’t returning for the 2020-2021 school year. I was sad but happy for her. She has a gift that needs to be shared throughout the world. Without Ms. P I wasn’t sure how the boy would make it. For the last two years she has worked extremely hard to get him to behave at school. The progression and successes are all due to her dedication to Kenden. After I found out about the hybrid schedule I reached out to his education team. I wanted to know if Kenden could go full time because of the small size of his class and hybrid not being the best learning environment for him. They told me he could NOT go full time despite the class size and they agreed hybrid wasn’t best for Kenden. They assured me there wasn’t a need to stress. They encouraged me to do what I could at home and not to worry about the rest.
A week before school started Kenden and I received the most devastating news. One of his classmates unexpectedly passed away. He was only 9 years old. I will never forget the day we found out. Ms. P came over and broke the news. She just cried and cried. I expressed my condolences. Kenden had no understanding what she just said as we had no way to help him comprehend the tragedy. Ms. P said “I just needed to come over and hold Kenden”. I felt so bad for her and had no words to make it right. She loves her students as if they were her own. I knew this loss was hard and would have a profound change in her life as death usually does.
Kenden completed the two week hybrid schedule. After the 2 weeks, the school superintendent decided that the special education students and elementary kids would return full time. I was happy with this new plan although he would not have an official teacher and no students in his class. Unfortunately one passed away and the other child would be learning virtually. The school utilized the special education teacher next door to oversee his learning materials. I was comfortable with that. She has had experience with Kenden and knew him very well. He still had the same assistants and engaged with the kiddos next door. He loved having an entire room to himself. He was able to receive one on one attention. About a week later he officially moved next door. The teacher they wanted to hire didn’t work out. Though it was lots of changes and transitioning, Kenden handled it well. I was pleased with the care and decisions made to fit what was best for Kenden and his learning environment.
Overall, our Mr. K is one blessed little boy! We have had several nurses throughout COVID but we finally have one awesome nurse and a great backup! Mr. Donnie is his full time nurse and Ms. Jerika is the backup. Both have been amazing to work with and take wonderful care of my kiddo! During COVID Kenden had a overnight hospital procedure. Everything came out fine and no major concerns. Ms. P is no longer his teacher however she will be our life long family and friend. She will be babysitting for me soon and I’m super excited. Autism parents know the hardships and struggles of finding someone to babysit your kid. We have experienced many losses however God has provided a way for us to witness and to be a light to the hurting. I have had the opportunity to have a couple of my written pieces published. I encourage you to check out Message Magazine and Autism Journey to read them. Kenden’s life has been encouraging and a blessing to so many. I’m so thankful we are able to share his Autism Walk with others. We want to give others hope, encouragement, and light! Please be blessed and look for my next blog soon………..
Below are the links to my published pieces!!! https://autismjourney.org/an-unbreakable-bond-between-a-teacher-and-student-ms-p-mr-k/ https://www.messagemagazine.com/articles/a-mothers-plea-for-autism-awareness/