Monday, December 14, 2009

Where to from here?

Long time no blogging...yes, I know. Facebook has become so easy and fun for me, that I forget about blogging. Yet, here I am today.

Today's blog entry will be about my daughter Julianne, and our journey to help her.

I often feel bad for being sad or worried about Julianne and her disabilities, because let's face it, her learning disabilities are minor compared to many, many others. She is not autistic, thank God. She does not have a disability that inhibits her from letting her communicate her needs. She just has a learning disability. Just.a.learning.disability. Simple enough, but hardly.

I won't go into the long journey we have already taken in her short 7 years of life. I won't go into the details on how *I*, her mother, knew things weren't quite right from way, way early in the game....even as early on as 9 months old. I won't go into the excuses I got everywhere I turned...the "she'll grow out of it, she'll just start talking a blue streak one day, she lets her siblings do her talking for her, she is just behind on her own schedule, she is a picky eater, blah blah blah blah". I also won't go into the guilt I forever will feel for not just standing up as her advocate and saying...NO, it isn't JUST those things...something else is going on.

A quick rewind look at what Julianne has done so far would include a special education preschool room, occupational therapy, physical therapy, glasses, adhd meds, night school, camp for the learning disabled, speech therapy, music therapy, and many other things.

So here we are. We are faced with making a decision on what now. She currently attends school at our "home school". The school where all my other children attend. The school that is literally 2 walking minutes from my home. The school where I know the parents, and love the teachers, and feel the family and church attachment to. She is in her second year of Kindergarten there.

But there will be no third year of Kindergarten.

This is the part that hurts. I want so badly for there to be special educators there, at our "home school" to help children like her. If other schools have such programs, why can't ours? She can't really go on to 1st grade there, because she isn't a typical first grader, and there is nobody to work on an individual pace with her.

We are now faced with finding the best fit for her. A different school. That pains me to even type it out. A different school. Different than the one she is used to. Different than the one where the teachers who care for her are. Just a different school.

So many things to think about. And it is sad that money also has to be a factor in the decision. Sucks.

Today I went and checked out a "Learning Center" in one of the local Catholic schools. I had hopes that it would be something good for us. It is super close. It sounded like a great concept...a few, 6-8 kids with learning disabilities, grouped together in one class for all the core work at their own pace. The teacher was super nice. I have no doubts she is an extremely nice lady who cares about her students.

With that said, I was not impressed. At all. It seemed chaotic to me, even though there were only 8ish students in the room. It was a very visually busy room. Stuff written everywhere. But the thing that really made me squirm in my seat, was this little boy...a first grader, probably the same age as Julianne. He was told to do his work, and it had to do with the letter "L". He was really frustrated and couldn't figure it out. The teacher kept saying things like, "it's L. llllaaa llllaaa...." She kept telling him to look up and find the letter L, on the letter banner thingy, way above the blackboard. It was a banner that had the entire alphabet on it...and not to mention, the letters were in CURSIVE!!!!! Seriously. :( I guess you had to be there, and be me, to understand what I am saying. But it was rough to watch, and realize that this was not going to be the answer I had been hoping for. This was just one thing that bothered me.


It's OK. I am confident we will find the answer for where Julianne should go next year. It just makes me sad that she will be leaving (again) people who love her and believe in her.