Yesterday I attended an IPRC meeting for my daughter it was an opportunity for me to discuss my daughters needs & strengths. It is also an opportunity for me to make sure everything is in place for the following school year. I felt like a broken record reviewing my daughters needs again and again as we had many school meetings over the last few months due to a few challanges we faced this year.
Next year I've reluctantly agreed to my daughter attending a special education classroom at her home school for children with developmental delay. I truly hope this is going to be an ideal situtaion for her. She will have a teacher that is dedicated to working with kids with signifigant chanellges. I hope this teacher and support staff will see my daughter like any other child as a communicator and a learner and set high expectations for her. I know she needs the extra support this classroom can offer her but I don't want her to be treated like a baby. She's 8 and needs to be enouraged to be as indepentant as possible.
I found it troubling reading through some of the Ministry of Education Categories and Definitions. My daughters IPRC states that my daughter has a developmental disability which is defined as "a severe learning disorder". Yes I see that and I get that but it is hard to swallow and accept. I see how far she has come and I have so much hope that she will learn to read and communicate effectively in the future.
The definition goes on to state:
a) an inability to profit from a special education program for students with mild intellectual disbabilites because of slow intellectual development.
b)an ability to profit from a special education program that is designed to accomadate slow intellectual develeopment;
This is the part that really bothers me is this really NESSCESSAY?
c) a limited potential for academic learning, independent social adjustment and economic self-support.
OUCH I find that last part very hard to read, accept and feel that last statement is just so negative it hurts this Mom to the core. I worry it sends such a negative message to parents, teachers and support staff about my daughter and all kids in this category that they can't learn, socialize or be indepentant. I feel these statements leaves little room for optimism about my daughter's future. I am always overly optimistic, my glass is always half full, the sun will always come out tomorrow. For my daughter I always knew she would be a walker, and I love that she is a gymnast and a soccer player. I just knew she won't need to carry that oxygen tank into the classroom with her. I was ever hopeful she would learn to eat one day. All these things she accomplished they were big deals. She can crawl, sit on a typical chair to enjoy a meal or a show. Feed herself a meal using her utensils. I continue to hope that one day she will be a better communicator and a reader. I'm certain her future will be meanful and serve a purpose yes she will likely need support in whatever she does but it still be purposeful and meaningful. Not only to Ashley but too many people that she will meet.
I was told that kids with severe learning disabilities can learn to read they just have to work at it a lot more then typical learners. Which means picking up and reading a lot more books. Ashley and I read many leveled readers each day she enjoys this time with me and loves books. I can not tell you if one day she will be a reader. But I can tell you that I will only fail her if I don't try to teach her.
Just believe in my girl and all that she can do.
So I'm just going to continue to think positively about the upcomming school year. I would love the ministry to consider the messages they are sending parents, teachers and our kids.