Yesterday we met Gili's teachers and left her at "school" for a few hours. Today we had to take her home early because she was sick. I had concerns about her health this morning, but I didn't want her to miss her first full day of care. Hopefully she'll be back on Thursday. I was a little nervous and giddy leaving her there. She's my little buddy; I'm not used to doing anything without her. But Dad was even more emotional! I don't know if he was sad or scared. I feel like my little baby is growing up. She actually has classmates! I'm just so happy with everything, I don't know where to start!
I'm so grateful she's finally getting all the care and therapy she needs. And it's only a 20 minute walk from our place! Transportation is part of the package, so hopefully next week she'll have a driver and an escort who will pick her up and bring her home. I feel like I don't have to spend as much energy worrying about her progress and general well-being now that I have professionals to do that for me. I know it seems like a bad attitude in this age of Nanny-cams and background checks, but her teachers seem so loving and "with it." My biggest worry is teachers/caregivers kissing all the kids, and the parents kissing the kids... that's a lot of germs linked cheek to cheek. But if you have to worry about something, too much affection is a good option. Each child has their own thermometer so the teachers can check if they have any concerns, which they did today. There is one main teacher and at least two assistants for the class. Officially Gili has seven classmates, but I've only met 3, so I'm guessing it's not usually a full class. They have food, bibs, matresses, blankets... all the stuff I had to buy for my other kids' preschool.
There are different therapists who work with the children on different days: Physical therapy, speech therapy (including eating and communicating), ocupational therapy (including using hands), and a visual instructor. This facility is specifically for blind and visually impaired children. I had to stress GIli's vision issues at our hearing in order to get in, and I will try not to take it for granted. I expect that if they fill up with more severely blind kids, Gili might be sent elsewhere.
For more information about Gili's new school, "Eliya," visit the website for American Friends of Eliya. You can also see pictures of parents and children in the hydrotherapy facility.
A couple of the staff members questioned why I hadn't learned Hebrew, but we haven't had any communication issues. And Gili's teacher's parents are American! Gili has a note book that we send back and forth to write notes or quesitons for the teacher and v.v. It's great to be able to write in English and the other staff has been very helpful with the forms. G-d willing Gili will get water therapy on Sunday! I'm so excited for her! She will have a special chair set to her size and needs and she will also have a "standing chair" to help her body get used to standing.
I have so much more to say, but I think I should get some sleep and put down more thoughts once Gili's had a little more time in "school."