Monday, August 24, 2009

Letter to the Teacher, 2009 edition.

Hi! My name is KayTar. I'm so glad to be in your class this year! My mom helped me write this letter to tell you a little bit about me that might help our year go more smoothly.

Sometimes I have neurological episodes that make me feel very sick, when that happens I need to go to the nurse to be given 0.3ml of Zofran gel on the inside of my wrist and I'll need you to call my mommy right away. Usually I need to lay down some place dark and quiet when I start to feel sick, too.

These things might help you know that I am starting to feel sick:

* I might say, "I feel spinny." or "Everything is shaking." or "My eyes feel sick."

* I suddenly look very tired. I might lay my head on the table or close my eyes. If I'm standing up, I might hold on to something for balance and close my eyes.

* I might stop responding to you. Sometimes I get very quiet and sometimes I make noises like I am in pain. It might seem like I am slipping in and out of a deep sleep, too.

* I won't want to stand up or walk. I probably won't move at all, because it makes me feel worse.

* Sometimes my eyes do funny things. You might see them wiggle, roll, or twitch. Sometimes they get stuck over to the side, and sometimes I can't open them at all.

* When I get sick, sometimes it hurts my tummy and I start to vomit.

* I might be in a lot of pain and the lights might really hurt my eyes.

It is important to remember that all of these things don't happen every time I get sick, but if you notice even one of these signs, please call my mom so she can come and get me. My doctors aren't really sure how to stop these episodes, so I have to go home and rest in my bed until it is over. Sometimes they can last a very long time, up to 11 hours.

I also have asthma and if you notice me coughing a lot or coughing so hard it makes me gag or vomit, I need to be given 4 puffs from my Albuterol inhaler with the yellow spacer mask.

I can't hear with my left ear. I used to wear a hearing aid, but my hearing got worse and it stopped helping. Because I don't hear as well without it, make sure you speak clearly to me if you are helping me do something, stay on my right side. It is hard to me to filter out background noises and I might have a harder time focusing, especially if the room is noisy.

I don't like to eat much, so at lunch or snack time I might choose not to eat. My mom will send something that I like every day, just in case. The textures of some foods might make me gag, either by sight or touch. I try my best not to touch these foods or get too close, so if I ball up my hands or say "No!" it means it is probably the kind of texture that will make me gag. If it gets too close to me I might push it away from me to protect myself. My mom will also send a sippy cup of Pediasure with me, since this is my main source of nutrition, it will be important that I drink it. My mom gives me Pediasure in my g-button before and after school, but I like to drink some, too.

I am severely allergic to nuts, so please do not give me any snacks or food that haven't been pre-approved by my mom. Many packaged snacks are contaminated by traces of nuts even though they are not a main ingredient, so I have to eat my own foods usually. My mom will try to bring snacks and treats for me that are comparable to the kind my friends are eating, if you will let her know in advance. If my friends are eating foods that contain nuts or peanut butter, please make sure they do not touch my food and that they wash their hands before touching any common surfaces or toys. My allergy is serious and even trace amounts can make me react severely. If a food has nuts in it, please tell me and I know to stay away from it. If you notice my lips swelling, or if I say, "My tongue hurts." it means I'm having an allergic reaction. Take me to the nurse immediately. I need to have 1.5 teaspoons of Benadryl per my g-button. If I have trouble breathing or stop breathing, I need to be given my EpiPen Jr. Call my mom immediately if I have signs of an allergic reaction.

I am a little slower than my friends and I get tired easily if we are walking long distances and I might need extra help. Sometimes I fall down, because I'm not always steady on my feet, especially when I am distracted. I often have a difficult time keeping up with the class when we have a fire drill. My teacher from last year said that a grown up needs to be my special helper during these times.

I wear glasses to help me see clearly. I am nearsighted, so my glasses help me to see things that are farther away. I like to be very close to what I am looking at usually, because my eyes work best when I am up close.

Some days I am very light sensitive and can't bear to be out in the sunlight. If my friends are going outside and the sunlight is bothering me a lot, I might need to go sit in the nurse's office or with another class while my friends play outside. Other days it doesn't bother me as much and I enjoy playing outside with my friends very much!

I can read almost anything that follows the rules of phonics. I even read big words out of my mom's college textbooks! I learn very well from written word, especially because I don't always hear verbal words or instructions as well. When I watch TV at home, I like the captions to be on, so I can follow what is happening. I think it would help me a lot if my reading skills were used in class to help me keep up with what is happening in our room!

I'm so excited to be in school this year and I know I will have lots of fun in your class!

Your new student,

PS: You can find last year's letter here. The letter has grown and so has she! She sounds like a hot mess on paper, doesn't she? She'll knock 'em dead tomorrow, though. She always does. As long as she doesn't have the episode that is lurking on the horizon, but let's not think too much about that. (also, KNOCK ON WOOD.)


S said...

Well, I for one would LOVE to have that charming girl in my class, medical issues notwithstanding! :)

Magpie said...

She does sound like a hot mess on paper - but we know better, and so will her teacher. Good luck!

karengreeners said...

Who would not want such an enthusiastic learner in their class! Your letter both brought tears to my eyes, and made my universal mama-pride swell.

On the practical side of things, does your school do split classes? Sounds like having Kay-Tar with the same teacher for two years in a row would be a good thing. Any way to advocate for such a thing?

Kyla said...

Kgirl: She normally would be with the same teacher again this year, however she was nominated for a pilot program in our district for a full time integrated classroom for (6) high functioning special needs kids and (11) typical kiddos, so we wanted her to be a part of it. Last year her classmates were not functioning at her cognitive level and I think this will be a good environment for her. She adjusts REALLY easily, so as long as we communicate well with the teacher and break her in, so to speak, I think it will work well.

painted maypole said...

i love that you write it from her point of view. it makes it much sweeter and easier to digest so much information.

angiesarman said...

Yay KayTar! I bet she is super excited for K4. I am so excited for you guys too. I know you have busy schedules this year.

Anonymous said...

Look at that picture! Kaytar looks so big these days. I think she sounds great on paper, hot mess and all ;)

Tami said...

I love that you do this every year. My son Cody has ADHD and some anxiety and in second grade I decided to write a letter to his teachers (I included music, art, gym, etc) and his principal and it was a HUGE success so I did it every year of Elementary. I didn't realize what an impact it made until 5th grade when Cody's principal was promoted and a new principal came on board. He introduced me and the first thing he mentioned was my interest in Cody's school, education and the fact that I took the time to write a letter to the teachers every year. Since then I have suggested it to all my friends - regardless of their needs or lack thereof. I think teachers appreciate the communication.

Gwen said...

The pictures are pure gold. I hope her first day went well.

Unknown said...

Great job. I sent our own letter, and LK's teacher was so appreciative. Last year it was pretty much ignored by the sub, and his teacher didn't come back until Thanksgiving. It was a struggle all year to get them to understand his issues.

Today he is home after having two seizures this morning. Sigh. Eight days of school, of which two he missed. Hopefully the increase in med will take care of it.

Have a great day KayTar.

mamatulip said...

I got teary when I read this, Kyla. What a wonderful way for K-Tar to introduce herself to her teacher and get her teacher's attention at the same time. She doesn't sound like a hot mess on paper at all - to me she sounds like a beautiful little girl who has a mother that loves her very, very much.

You are amazing, Kyla. And so is K-Tar.

moplans said...

She'll do great! Good luck tomorrow!

flutter said...

She really has to live through so much, doesn't she?

Laura said...

What a wonderful tool and educational piece for the teacher.

Good luck to all of you on this new school year.

Anonymous said...

I love these letters and plan on following yours as a template next year when E-boy gets a new teacher. He is with his teacher for another year and she totally rocks, so we're all set to roll for another 9 months. Kaytar and E both sound like a hot mess on paper, there's no way around that, but in person it's amazing how they can fool people into seeing them as "typically developing". We're trying to figure out ways to use Ethan's literacy skills this year as well. Teachers seem to be taken off guard and not sure how to use it to their advantage, I guess because he's so young. I'm sure you've noticed that along the way too :-)

motherbumper said...

Knocking wood before leaving comment.

That girl will charm them all within the first five minutes.

~aj~ said...

I'm cracking up that you called your own daughter a hot mess. lol

I didn't realize she watched tv with closed captioning. I do that too for some odd reason.

She's gonna do great this year!

Amy Y said...

How was her first day? I'm hoping this is the longest letter she has to write...!