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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Maddie's Education: Big Lesson Learned

It's that time of year.  
Where parents plan to camp out in front of schools and do whatever it takes to get their little one in the best schools and stress over whether they've made the right decision or done all they could. 

Luckily, we don't have to camp out.
Maddie has a spot with her name on it in the developmentally delayed preschool class at public schools.  
To mainstream or not to mainstream? That is our question. 
Could she handle a normal classroom environment and keep up, or is she best served in a class where everyone needs some extra help?

It's a tough question.
You don't want to hold them back in any way, but you also want to be realistic and assess her current abilities and her future potential.  

A month ago the decision would have been simple...keep her with qualified professionals trained to meet her needs. 

But then the results from her IEP (individualized education plan) came home and she hasn't made hardly any progress towards her education goals.  

Now we have to discern whether this environment is setting high enough expectations for her.
And if it's not, what do we do?  
Jump ship?
Demand change?
Cross our fingers and have faith?   

I've been in research mode the last week or so. 
I've brushed up on reading the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
(a riveting piece, let me tell ya)
I've checked into our options at private schools.  
I've been to her class to observe.  

And I've come to a conclusion...

I have been so foolish to hand over the reigns of Maddie's education.  
It's ultimately up to me, her first teacher in life, to teach what the schools are not.  
It's still important to collaborate with Maddie's teachers and expect they will raise their standards for her potential; but if I want Maddie to reach these goals (which I KNOW she can), I'm going to have to do whatever it takes. 

One of her goals is lacing 5 beads on a string.  
We began working on this Thursday and I have to admit, it didn't go very well.
I really thought she could already do this.  
But she couldn't, and I had to walk her through each and every step.  
We would work on it for awhile, and she may have a little success, but her attention span was gone.  
We'd take a break and try again later...
and it was back to step one!!
I was sad and dejected.  

Maddie won't get things on the first try, or the second, or the third.

But guess what?  

Today, she laced not 4, not 5, but SIX beads in one sitting...ALL BY HERSELF!!

She's smart and bright and has vast amounts of potential.  
Without effort to bring it out though, it will remain hidden.

I am a
 Dream Maker.
and best of all...
 Potential Finder. 

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