For the past couple of years, I had been urged to check out The Miriam School. It is a school for children with learning disabilities, and children performing below their potential. For years, I looked at the website, and dreamed of being able to send Julianne to such a school. But, then I would see the cost of such a school...and quickly sigh and realize that it was never, ever going to be possible. Unless we were to win the lottery.
Well, we didn't win the Money Lottery, but we have had something even better happen.
This year, when The Miriam School had their open house, I went. I had to. This year I was faced with the very real question of "What are we going to do with Julianne next year?"
At the open house, I about died. I couldn't believe that everythig they did, everything they said, everything they utilized and believed in, was exactly what I ahd been looking for and dreaming of for year. It was, as Oprah would say, a light bulb moment. It was at that moment that I realized that Julianne HAD to go to this school.
The Miriam School Mission:
The mission of the Miriam School is to encourage children with multiple learning disabilities to recognize and successfully meet their potential.
Seriously! That is a strong statement. To be able to recognize your potential, and to successfully meet it! For children who struggle with what the rest of us take for granted, this is HUGE!!!!
Another HUGE sell for me was the fact that they actually have the time and ability to individulaize a plan for EACH child.
Students may stay at the Miriam School for three to four years to acquire the tools they need to succeed in a classroom and then transition into a public, private or parochial school with more traditional academic support. Families may also choose to stay at the Miriam School throughout the elementary and middle school years.
From their website:
We assist children with learning disabilities through:
A nurturing, structured environment that facilitates growth in the areas of academic and social skills
Small ungraded class sizes (1:10 teacher/student ratio)
Specialized occupational therapy for students exhibiting sensory and/or motor deficits
Specialized speech and language therapy for students exhibiting deficits
An individualized education plan (I.E.P.) tailored to each child's unique needs and strengths
An 8:1 ratio full-day Early Childhood Special Education Program serving students beginning at age four
Art, music and physical education classes which enhance self-esteem and creativity
Open communication between parents and faculty
Professional faculty consisting of certified Special Education Teachers, Registered Occupational Therapists and Licensed Speech and Language Pathologists
Extended Day Care
Advocacy and Support Services
I will admit something bad here. I am ashamed to have even thought it. ... Not everybody can go to this school. You have to at least have a low normal IQ. Juilanne went and spent an entire day there in April to see if she would be a candidate to go to their school. I am ashamed to admit that I was worried that she might not qualify to go there....or, in my own thought, maybe she isn't "smart enough". :( Guilt forever be with me for thinking that.
So...here is the miracle part.
Somehow, we were granted a HUGE tuition reduction. We are still left with a substantial amount, but it is an amount that we can imagine somehow making it work. We still haven't ironed out all the kinks, and we have small fires burning to help us with this...but we did it!!
WE OFFICIALLY SIGNED HER UP!!!! Contract was dropped off today. It's official.
Today, is the beginning of what I KNOW will be a very beautiful and awesome start to Julianne's future.
And I owe a big thank you to Laura Rose, Julianne's speech therapist from The Walker Scottish Rite Clinic. She has been my light in this dark tunnel called special needs. Thank you Laura.
Snapped from my car today!
The Front of the school:
The Back of the school, or as Audrey calls it, the park.