The county provides different levels of services for kids on the autism spectrum and the services that we all agreed were the most appropriate for Will were afternoon preschool five times a week. After a bit of a mixup regarding what school Will would attend, we finally got things straightened out and he had his first day of school last week. Here is the obligatory "first day of school" photo as well as a few photos of Will in the classroom on his first day.
Will is in a class with other kids with special needs. These can include developmental delays, speech issues, behavioral problems and autism. We don't know much about the other students but right now there are five total kids in the class. In October, they will be adding one "typically developing" child to the class. The purpose is to give the kids at least one child to interact with that doesn't themselves have any special needs. In a very strange but welcome coincidence, the child that is being added to Will's class is actually the daughter of some of our friends. She and Will have played together multiple times and I think it will be nice for both of them to have a familiar face in class.
For the first week of school, the bus routes were still being figured out so we had to drop Will off at his school and pick him up afterwards which was a little inconvenient since the school he is assigned is not the closest to our house. Thankfully, by the end of the week he was able to start riding this bus home and starting this week, he rides the bus both to and from school. Here's a video of him getting picked up at our house of the first time:
Will wears his backpack to and from school and his teachers help him eat his lunch while he is there. They send home a report every day detailing things they did, how Will performed certain tasks during the day and any suggestions or requests the teachers have. Every morning we send a report back that talks about what Will did at home after school, what he eat, what he played with, etc. Sometimes we even have to help him with homework. Here's a picture of Ashley helping Will with his "About Me" poster.
Will loves going to preschool and still gets excited about the bus every time he gets to ride it. We've also noticed some small but encouraging changes in his demeanor and his willingness to listen to things we ask him to do. He's also even started to answer past-tense questions. One day my mom asked him "How was preschool today?" and he responded by saying "It was fun!"
Right now, one of my favorite parts of Will attending preschool is the way he insists on saying "press cool" and I think it's because when he reads the word "preschool" he only sees one letter E and therefore concludes that it should be pronounced almost with a French accent. I think in his mind, everyone else around him is saying it incorrectly when they say "pree school". He'll figure it out in time but right now it's just another one of the things that makes him so quirky.