Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's that time of year...

When kids leave for college.

I often reminisce back to late summer....1986...when my parents drove me to Dickinson College in Carlisle (PA) for the first time. I remember not being able to contain myself...the anticipation of being "away" from home...the possibility of meeting new people, spending time "finding my way"... ahhhh!

I have friends and family with children leaving for college. I am truly so excited for those that are was by far, the most special time in my life. I still have good friends from that time. In fact, I'm currently trying to help out with the reception celebrating the 20th anniversary of my junior year in Italy with the 25 people I studied with and the professor and his wife that ran the program which is set to take place in NYC on 9/13. My college experience was stellar in every way.

I try not to think about it, but I can't help it. My kids won't have this special life changing experience.

Sure, now there are universities out there for the special needs community...where young adults can live semi-independently, learn life skills, work, etc....where I know I can send my kids.
It's not the same.
It's one of those things....why did I have such a special experience when I won't be able to share that and impart that to my own children?
I notice sometimes that my neighbors complain about the amount of homework their kids have and they claim how they can't help them because they can't remember the simple principles of elementary math...or how to diagram a sentence...or memorizing all 50 state capitals....and I cringe.
Don't they know how lucky they are to have children that can learn those things? Don't they know how crucial all that stuff is in life? I can still visually see in my mind the 1-12 times tables my 3rd grade teacher had on her black board for the 12 days we learned the times tables....I use that vision daily. I won the 5th grade state capital bee...granted, geography has fascinated me since my parents put me on a plane for the first time in 1970...and it's my thing even today.
My kids struggle to learn letters. numbers, phonics, social know, it's just not fair. I hate it sometimes.
Can you tell I've taken this week to review their IEPs (Individual Education Plan)? To review their goals and make sure all the details are correct.
Ben's reads like a's all about inclusion ("based upon parent input / request" - so that the district is off the hook should he fail) and goals are designed to make him successful in the mainstream..sitting him upfront, near natural light and away from distraction, prompting when needed, modifying his seat work....sensory input as needed....frequent breaks...
and then there's Matty's IEP....Matty who is going to private school...where there is no inclusion...all the children are special needs.
His IEP needs so much work...making eye contact is still a goal :-( FX kid does NOT need to make eye contact with YOU...he'll do it when he's comfortable. He's not working towards that....his syndrome make that impossible, i.e., you'll write that his ability to make eye contact impedes his learning at our first progress report meeting. He looks at me...that's all that matters. WHATEVER.
I have sooo much work to do to try to get this fixed or at least documented in the next 2 weeks! I definitely have to call in some favors from the network of experts I've come to rely on over the past 10's going to be a long night!
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