Almost four years ago, I held a very scared little boy in my arms in China. He clung to me an trusted me unconditionally that I would take care of him. He had spent the first two years of his precious life in an orphanage with his hearing completely unaided with his caregivers assuming he would never speak. After just a few days, he shared hugs and smiles with us and quickly loved us as much as we loved him. As he fell asleep in my arms, my promise to him was that I would do everything in my power to help him attend a mainstream Kindergarten program on time. At his IEP meeting in the spring, his teachers and speech therapist all said they expect him to be a very successful Kindergartener, and today, Jack started Kindergarten at the same school all our other kids have been attending. It has been a long road to get here and I am sure we have challenges ahead, but Jack is doing really well and I am beyond proud of him! Those days in China seem almost a lifetime ago!
A quick update: Jack will still need once a week speech therapy at the local public school. He has mild to moderate hearing loss (hearing at 20-40dB unaided) so benefits from wearing his BAHA on the softband. We are considering having the BAHA implant - maybe next year? I think Jack benefits tremendously from his canalplasty that has given him much improved directionality to his hearing. He functions well without his BAHA, but we feel his speech is much better when he wears it. The school district has provided an FM system for the classroom, which I think will work well for him this year. Everyone who is involved in his education and therapy has been tremendously helpful and seems to sincerely care about him and his future (which I believe is bright!).
Here are some pictures of the first day of school - my how they grow!