Mikayla and Hope went to our local public school for the first time last year. The team of people who helped them was fantastic. I was thrilled with the amount of independence the girls gained. Yet I had this nagging feeling that our girls weren’t in the right school. They didn’t go to P.E. class because all of us were afraid they would get hurt. It was obvious they wouldn’t be able to keep up with the regular ed. kids in any of the sports they played. They didn’t go to music class because it was mostly technical information and testing that they couldn’t understand. The nagging feeling that our girls needed to be in a different school just wouldn’t go away.
Last February I sent an email to the girls speech therapist at school. I told her I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the girls weren’t in the right school. She immediately contacted the special ed. coordinator. Within 2 hours they had set up a meeting to discuss how we should proceed with next year. I knew what was happening was going to be hard. We live in a small rural community. The only option other than our local public school was a school for kids with special needs that was nearly an hour away from our home. I wasn’t sure how the girls would handle going to school that far away. I wasn’t sure how I would handle them going to school that far away.
At the meeting we discussed the girls progress and what would be best for them for next year. We talked about the new school and how they focus on life skills as well as academics. The new school would give them opportunities that our local school simply could not give them. They told me the decision was totally up to me and my husband. They would help us however they could to make sure our girls get the education that is best for them. Brett and I talked a lot about what we should do. We decided it was best to try the new school. I went to the IEP meeting in April and the plans were made for the next school year. Mikayla would be in the junior high classroom. Hope would be in the intermediate classroom. They felt it would be best to separate the girls to help alleviate the behavior problems. It had been a tough year with them in the same classroom sharing an aide. They were constantly irritating each other and competing with each other. I was thrilled with the idea of putting them in different classrooms. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
August rolled around and I got nervous. Really, really nervous. I don’t know a single person at this school. It’s so far away. Are the girls going to be able to handle a full day plus 2 hours of riding the bus? This is going to be hard. What if it doesn’t work out? Then what do we do?
The first day of school finally arrived. Mikayla and Hope were totally fine. New school? No big deal. Let’s do this.
The girls were smiling when they got off the bus. They didn’t tell me much about the day. They basically told me what they ate for breakfast and lunch. But they were happy and that was all that mattered. This school year is going to be amazing. They will be able to participate in P.E. class, school sports and Special Olympics. It will be a whole new world for them. It was definitely a hard decision for our family. But sometimes the hardest decisions can turn out to be the best decisions. I’m confident this is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made for Mikayla and Hope.