I’ve made a couple of posts about ‘Jaxson’s User Manual’ that I made for his school. The response to the manual has been HUGE. People wanting to know exactly what is in it, or better yet, people wanting to pay me to make them one! hahaha! So I thought I would write up a quick blog post showing you what his user manual is all about.
The day we took a tour of the preschool he was going to be going to in early spring, was the day I started to get extreme anxiety about him going. I knew the day would come, but didn’t think it would happen so fast. The opportunity presented itself for him to go to our first choice of preschools even when he was a tiny baby. So we jumped on it and got him enrolled!
As his start date quickly approached my anxiety was going through the roof. The thought of sending our non-verbal kid away from home was too much for me to take. How would his teachers know what to do? What he wanted? What he was telling them? Deep in my brain I knew his teachers would know all of these things because thats their dang job, they work with kids EVERY DAY! But for my own mental well being I had to do more. After consulting with another Ds momma I came up with a game plan to ease my anxieties.
I made his school a “user manual” so they could get to know him, and how to deal with some of the roadblocks that may arise.
My biggest fear was his ability to effectively communicate his wants and needs. For being non-verbal Jax has always been an amazing communicator. He uses sign language, gestures and hand over hand (his hand showing our hands what to do) to tell us what he wants. We have never had any frustrations in communication breakdown with him, but I knew it would be an issue for people who don’t know him. So I began his user manual with 20 or so signs that would come in handy at school. Jax had just over 100 signs at the time but I didn’t want to overwhelm them! I took photos of what Jaxson looks like doing the sign, a description of his version, then a cartoon of the ‘proper’ way to do the sign along with the proper description. This way his teachers could understand what he was signing to them as well as give them the ability to properly sign it back.
After the communication part of the book I just touched on a couple topics that will arise at school. Potty, eating, allergies, his physical abilities, stimming etc. I also gave a little description of Down syndrome and what that looks like for Jax.
This is the second version of the manual I sent with him at the beginning of this school year. He has changed so much and gained so many new abilities over the summer that it called for an updated book.
Here it is! I’ve attached the PDF if thats easier for you 🙂