I always tell my children, not to worry, things never turn out as bad as it may seem. Well I should take my own advice. As you know I was a bit worried about Mary's IEP meeting today. It went great! I believe I may have been holding my breath as the teacher spoke. Everything was so positive, teachers all say Mary is doing great. She is well liked, happy and works hard. We met with her science teacher, who teaches the "regular" 5th grade class. I was so worried and avoided public school because I was afraid of her being placed with the regular kids. Well, she is doing great, has even made a couple of friends. Needless to say, everyone was so nice and helpful, I did not even have one hint of any tears trying to well up.
How is it, that there are things you say you could never do, then when you do them, you wonder why you were so apprehensive in the first place. That's how I felt today. No I am not beating myself up, but I do wonder why we didn't do this sooner with Mary. Believe me , I know the answer to that question, and it amazes me that one statement made by one person years before, put a fear in me that has guided every decision I have made for the past few years. When Mary was 5, the school psychologist said that putting Mary in a mainstream school would be detrimental to her. Mary knows that she is different, and it would add to her anxiety to try to fit in. Well, I think she may have gotten past that. It was very impressive to have 6 different educators assuring us that Mary was in good hands, how she wont even know when she is being tested, or that being included with the other class is anything but normal. It helps that she has 2 other girls in her class who are 5th graders, so she doesn't go alone. Right now the girls go to PE and Science with the 5th grade class, so I don't think she feels she is different in any way.
Another reason for putting her in public school this year was so we could qualify for the McKay Scholarship, which will fund a private school education should public not be suitable. We are heading to middle school next year, and my first thought was that I do not want her to go to the public middle school that we are zoned for. You know, I think I will give them a chance, and not let my fear guide me. I believe the public school system is probably the best suited for special education. To know that a child with Mary's needs is taken seriously, and that teachers are put in place specifically for her is a great thing. If Mary can handle it, so can I. Stay tuned for next weeks Social Bridges meeting!