For people who care for children with disabilities …
In my last newsletter, I had been preparing for Jack’s IEP meeting—it went great!!! How did your meetings go? Did you benefit from any of the tips that I gave you?
This year it was decided that Jack will be integrated into the subjects that he excels at and stay in the self-contained class for subjects he needs one-on-one help with. He amazes me with the things he has accomplished in such a short time. I also want to point out that I don’t think Jack would be doing as well if it weren’t for his outstanding teachers-we have been so lucky each year.
The school has just introduced a new program called “NO EXCUSES UNIVERSITY.” It is geared to instill the desire to attend college within every student. I found that when Jack goes on to college, he will be enrolled in something called The PACE Program. The PACE program is a leader in the provision of integrated, postsecondary services to young adults with multiple learning disabilities. Their goal is to empower students with the skills necessary to become productive and independent adults living and working in the larger community. Many states have similar programs, so maybe you could talk to your school (NOW!) to find out what the plan is. You already can attest to the fact that our kids will rise to unimaginable heights when expectations and goals are set for them. I encourage you to start planting those “go to college” seeds with your children today!
On that note [setting goals and expectations], I recently sat in on a talk Don was giving to some of our customers. It centered on his thoughts about education and dreams for our children. As he was talking, I could feel his passion and love for what he does and for what he believes in. He said, “I hate the word disability, it means not able, and I believe every child is able-they just need the right tools and support.” From now on, I am going to be very careful with the way I describe Jack because medically his diagnosis is Down syndrome but honestly Jack is just a regular seven year old who enjoys life, family and friends!
I’ll leave you with one more of Don’s thoughts, he said, “if Kennedy can stand in front of the world and commit to putting a man on the moon within a decade, when we hadn’t up to that point even left the earth’s orbit, and then follow through by accomplishing it, tell me why we can’t solve the issues that exist in our education system today?”
Every day I am grateful that I am a part of this, and it’s all because of Jack. Please, continue to ask questions, pay attention, stay diligent, and above all, believe that together we can make it happen!