August 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
Schuyler started school this week. Second grade, believe it or not, which is the appropriate grade level for a neurotypical kid her age. Last week, we visited her school and saw all her teachers and classmates in her Box Class. (Schuyler strutted into the room like a Roman general parading in triumph down the Via Appia.) I also met her new mainstream teacher and saw her little desk in her regular second grade class, the one where she spends a good chunk of every day. Neurotypical kids greeted her excitedly, and if you blinked, you might miss her monster altogether.

We sat down and did her homework just now, and once again I was struck by how far she's come. She learns quickly, although it's still hard to know how much she can and can't read. (Imagine for a moment how you might determine reading ability and comprehension with a non-verbal kid, and you'll quickly see the gulf we deal with every day.) It's clear, however, that she is reading at some level, and learning more every day.

Here's an example of how it works. The sheet we're working on tonight asks some basic questions about likes and experiences and such. I read the question to Schuyler.

"I would like to visit _____."

She answers on the Big Box of Words.


"I would like to visit this place because _____"

"I want to see animals."

She then writes the answer in the blank, referring to the BBoW screen for spelling if she needs to. Her handwriting is unclear (it probably always will be, as her polymicrogyria seriously hampers her fine motor skills), but it's getting much better. Since she has a new teacher, I transcribe her answers in small letters underneath her writing.

It's pretty basic stuff, no different than any other second grader's homework anywhere. But for us, it's a gift. Not from God, because fuck that guy. It's a gift from Schuyler, and the Big Box of Words, and all the people (including many of you) who have worked so hard to get her to this point.

But mostly Schuyler.


kris said...

Rob, can I tell you a secret? You may already know this, but 2nd grade is magic. Trust me. I'm a second grade teacher. The most amazing things happen in second grade--light bulbs go off every day and you can literally SEE the wheels turning in their little heads. I can't wait to see where Schuyler goes this year!

Sounds like you are doing homework *just* right with her too. So many parents do either too much or not enough!

Anonymous said...

My daughter started second grade this morning. For the first first-day-of-school ever, she sat at her desk and waved happily to me as I left the classroom -- no clinging, no tears, just pride and excitement. 's a magical time. Warm wishes to you and your beautiful second-grader today.

Christy said...

I loved second grade.

"Fuck that guy" cracked me up!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is a 3rd grade teacher. At her school they have a program called AR reading. The kids read books and then test on the books on the computer. The computer tracks reading levels, etc. Great program and I would suspect that in a few years your little girl will have the program in her school and you will know exactly where her reading level is.

Amy Lynn said...

Second grade was a good one for me, as well. Truly wonderful to see how well she's doing.

Trixie said...

The jungle huh? Why does this not surprise me? She's quite the adventurer.


Here's to a great school year!

Linda Ball said...

My little great nephew is only a couple of months younger than Schuyler but he only started first grade this summer term (they track kids year round in his school) because he needed more time his parents thought.

I am proud of Schuyler's use of the BBoW. I've got to say that when I contributed my money I never dreamed she would do so much with it. Makes me feel great.

Anonymous said...

Are there progressive "software" updates for the BBOW? (I should know this but ...)

Robert Hudson said...

I'm sure there are, although at this point, Schuyler and the kids in her class are still just scratching the surface of what they can do with the language software currently running the BBoW.

There is a new device right now that also runs Windows and is more of a hybrid device. It's still being put through its early paces right now. I'm really curious to see how it works out.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you.

rennratt said...

I'm glad to see that Schuyler is doing so well.

May this year be full of wonder for ALL of you!


Anonymous said...

Awesome. Just awesome.

As always, Schuyler rocks with both substance and style.

Did they do away with the uniforms? I recall her wearing some sort of uniform/strict dress code last year, and I don't remember it involving skulls/crossbones and camo pants.

Robert Hudson said...

The school actually discontinued the uniform program after that one year, mostly because apparently we were the only ones actually doing it. (Personally, I think it's silly to have a school uniform but then make participation in the program optional.)

Apparently all the little Plano Bratz girls wanted to show their asscheeks in non-uniform ways.

britmummybites said...

Hoping that the "light bulb" will go off for my middle child this year. At the end of last year it started to. I think one of the aims this year for her will be to start trying to write more independently as she has a scribe.
Really wish the UK would abolish school unifroms, they are expensive, and if a child has a werid body shape, it's nearly impossible to get the uniform to actually fit.
Getting a "tailor" to take the clothes up might cost more then the actual clothes itself.

Anonymous said...

I love how you started this entry - "Schuyler started school this week." Just like all the parents of neurotypical kids started their entries this week. Yeah, back to school time, no big deal.

Anonymous said...

Do y'all get Animal Planet? I think Schuyler would go BERSERK at "Bindi Irwin: Jungle Girl". She reminds me so much of your girl. They are both strong, outspoken (so to speak) and fabulous. I can't believe she's seven. Holy crap, I've been reading you since she was the size of a kidney bean!

Anonymous said...

PS: My favorite teacher in all time was in second grade. It was also the time I finally got glasses and was able to see ANYTHING. Magical year.

Tammy said...

Wonderful post. She's starting to look like Julie.