Navigating education for a child with special needs is tough. It's a mix of too much and not enough at once. Always riding the line between more intervention and just being a kid. So often feeling inadequate, that we can never do enough. Realizing there will always be a list of things (OT, PT, and speech goals, books to read on Down Syndrome, specialists advice to impalement...) I didn't get to each night was devastating to my nieve picture of the perfect parent. If we had to get it down to one word, I think most parents of kids with special needs would say they feel so UNQUALIFIED.
We are grateful to God for providing Claire the
opportunity to learn with her "typically developing" pears for the
second year now. It seems obvious but being with pears is actually a
pretty big deal and hard to negotiate for a lot of families. We are blessed with amazing teachers and a great program in our area of Spokane.
have no idea what next year will look like for Claire. There are a few
options. Integrated kindergarten, private school, special ed, a
combination of kindergarten and special ed, home school... Seems like it
depends a lot on what the school finds "appropriate" at
the end of this school year. I don't really like to think about it.
I think we want her to be integrated for as long as
possible. It can become a big ugly fight and I want to understand what I am fighting for. It's easy to go into this white knuckled for integration and miss what is really best.
We are raising her to be a part of society. We want her to
be able to interact in the world. To have meaningful relationships and a
purpose. That's the big picture at least. With that in mind, it seem
imperative that she does stay with her pears.
There are always so many questions. Will children accept her enough for
integration to be a positive experience? Will the curriculum be so far
over her head that she losses her academics in a classroom? Will
children in special ed have extreme behaviors that will rub off so much
that she isn't appropriate in other settings?
What is really best for
I don't want to fight so hard for integration that I am lost to
reality. I want her to be in an appropriate placement. It's
not like special ed is the end of the world. True, our first year of special ed was a bad experience but I do see some positive
sides. The one on one will give her a chance to learn things otherwise
Why don't I just home school her at that point where she cant be in a typical classroom? She comes to the preschool co op I teach for Makenna and loves it. But I want her to graduate with people she knows, go to football games, spirit week... Do I have
to choose between having a child who can relate to the world or a child
who is three grade levels ahead with limited social skills?
I don't have the answers for these questions and I'm not sure
anyone really does. Each child is so different. We will take it one
year at a time. We are constantly redefining education for Claire and at some point she will probably have an opinion too. Can't wait to see who she is growing up to be.