I went in this morning, dropped off Micah to my mom before school (she lives a block away from the kids' school... that is NICE!) and went in to the classroom. I asked if I could stay and just 'be around' for a little bit and needed to pick up Micah at 9 from mom so I knew it would be a short visit. The teacher is a wonderful CHRISTIAN woman and I really like her. Emma's 1:1 is great too, as is the other aide in the classroom... so I really am comfortable with E being there (I don't think it's an issue of neglect or harsh treatment, etc..).
I read several comments that said observe without her seeing me... but I decided this morning to do it where I was there simply for her to know that I was there. I sat at a table a little away from where she was as she ate breakfast and I tried not to 'interrupt' their routine but did talk with the teachers as they initiated. Then at 8:30 (school started at 8 ) they went to art and I walked with the class down there. When they stopped outside the art room and the door opened, E took her glasses off and threw them. *bingo*. She doesn't know where they're going or what they're doing there. Transition.
I was standing just behind her but I picked up her glasses, put them back on her, took her hands and gave them a little squeeze like I do at home and said 'no, don't throw, you leave your glasses on' just like I do at home. She didn't take them off the rest of art.
When they went in she still was unsure about things. Started playing with the velcro on her shes and then fidgeting until her aide had her paper out and magazine clippings and had moved the chair away for her wheelchair to fit, etc. Then once they were engaged, tho she had to be pulled back in to it and 'made' to participate (she's not exactly using glue sticks and arranging papers quite yet ;) ) she did fine. I offered to the 2nd aide to help the child next to Emma since there are 5 kids and the other aide has 4 by herself while the teacher is on planning and I occasionally would put my hand on E's shoulder or rub her hair, etc. just to say "I'm here, and you're ok."
The other little girl is probably around 7 and I talked with her about finding two pictures and cutting 'between' the pic's and helped her hold the paper so she could cut. She signed and is nonverbal so was excited that I knew what she was saying :) . Anyway, toward the end of art I told Emma I'll see her in a little bit and I left because I needed to get Micah.
I think I'll ask the teacher this afternoon whether I can come the last 30-40 minutes of the day tomorrow and do the same. Just "be there" and let Emma know that there's not a magical wall between home and school and that she's 'safe'. I've not disappeared.
We'll see how the rest of today goes and play it by ear. If anyone else has ideas/suggestions I'm very open!!
For now I'll try to spend a bit of time there tomorrow afternoon and then go from there. I think I'll write a note today as well that just has a few observations about the morning (like the trigger of a new room and the glasses...) and maybe I'll suggest the transition tools as well. "We're going to art class" with a crayon in the hand. I know they have a picture schedule on the wall but I'm not sure how much they use it. They did prepare the kids verbally pretty well for the transition but I'm not sure that's enough for Emma.
*sigh* and the second week of school continues...