Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One of those days.......

Today I had the chance to visit the building that houses some of Monroe county's special needs children. The kids here are anywhere from 3 - 26 and have a whole multitude of disabilities and challenges. I believe that the kids here are dealing with pretty severe developmental delays which prohibit them from attending regular or school-based special ed classrooms.

I had dropped Ada off at her school which is called the Transition Center and it located right next door to the Ed Center. She had had an appointment with Community Mental Health and after I dropped her off I decided to go visit a couple of people I know who work at the Ed Center.

Anyway, with Lo Lo in hand I walked through the halls of the Ed Center and neither saw nor heard anything reassuring. It wasn't that the teachers weren't doing their jobs or aren't truly good at what they do...they really are. They are so committed and wonderful. There was just such an emphasis on managing behavior and not so much on education.

(I'm realizing as I write this how hard it is to not sound critical of this program -i'm really not. It's just not what I want for Lauren, though I'm sure I'd be grateful for it if this is where she needed to be.)

It just hit me as really sad that kids like Lauren come to a school like this. I don't really even like saying this because I know that all of these children are loved and probably make progress and surprise those who know them.

But still, I don't want Lauren to need a school like this. I want her to attend her neighborhood school and to be a pretty much regular kid. I know that it will take her longer to learn to read, write and do arithmetic but I don't want that to ever stop her from being just a regular student in the classroom.

Sometimes I walk the fine-line of 'realism' VS 'high expectations'. I'm chastised for not having high expectations but also warned not to expect too much. This is not new ground for me, at all. I went through all of this with my first daughter and am very familiar with the concepts of:

second-guessing myself
not wanting to get too excited about progress in case it's just a fluke
not setting my standards too high in case they weren't reachable

etc etc.

I know that Lauren is different; she will progress in different ways and have different abilities than my other children, but I do know that I will always want more for her.
It's just too hard not to:


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