Cali has seven months until kindergarten starts. Call us crazy, but we have been looking into different school for about a year. I don’t know if this is normal or not, but nonetheless we have made it a priority to find the school that will be best for Cali.
Last year was easy. I still had a year and a half to get in therapy and prepare her as best as possible. Now that a year as already flown by, it’s not so easy anymore. I wonder if she will be ready. I wonder if the school will be accommodating to her needs. I wonder if she will even be accepted.
We have chosen a private school for Cali. We took a tour of the entire school including the kindergarten classroom she would be learning in, and both her and I fell in love. She still talks about that one hour tour and in fact, she told Krisanne, her OT, about the bunnies in the science room just today. That was her “favorite part!” Taking the tour last year was again an easy step. No pressure of the application or evaluations. Today was a different story.
Today I started the application process. The first part was yet again easy. Names, contact info, applicants age and primary info. But as I scrolled down I started to get nervous. We live with autism every single day, so you tend to forget about the diagnosis day or the why’s and how’s of her therapy. We wake up and go about our day just like everyone else. Yes, maybe our days are filled with therapy, but that is our normal. So when I scrolled down to find specific questions like, has your child been involved with special education or does your child have a medical history with a psychologist, and so on and so forth, I started to get really nervous. I was worried. Worried there may be a chance they won’t give her a fair look. It was weird to be honest. Cali has progressed so far and so drastically, that before starting the application process I thought she would be able to go to most any school . Like I mentioned above, the closer it gets, the more I wonder, but never did I think she might not be able to get accepted into the school of our choice.
I’m not sure of other private schools, but this one does not have a special education program. They will provide tutors and extra help if needed, but there is no such thing as an individual education plan (IEP). Technically Cali currently has one of these. Only hers is through Autism Journeys and is called an individual development plan (IDP). This little plan has made ALL the difference. Every single one of her goals is included in this IDP. Without the goals, you can’t measure any success or progression. You may be able to guess, because of better communication or better social interaction, but ultimately you need specific goals in order to measure the degree of success and progression. I wonder, if she is able to get in and participate in this school, will they be accommodating to her IDP?
I told Casey tonight how I became more and more nervous the deeper I got into the application. His response, “It is what it is.” Geeze, if only I had that perspective.
The truth is, I just want the best for Cali. Just like any other parent, I want Cali to receive the best if it is possible. One of the questions in the application was, what do you hope a (the school name) education will provide for your child? I said this…
We want Cali to be given the opportunity to reach her full academic and social potential. We believe your school can provide this opportunity. We also believe your school can rear and sculpt independent and decisive thinkers. We want this for Cali. She will do well in life if she can leave our home confident in her ability to learn. If she can move on to college as a responsible thinker, one who makes choices with reason and logic and based on truth, she will find herself a promising and fruitful future. This is what we hope your school’s education can provide for Cali!
And that’s it. Simply put, we just want Cali to reach her potential and be given great opportunities for growth and learning.
I am scheduling our second tour through the school and I’ll be sure to give an update!! I just need to relax and realize Cali will be just fine and love whatever school she attends throughout grade school.