A new journey

When I began this blog in June of 2012 I had no idea where to begin. Bridget was not yet 4 years old and I was struggling trying to express how incredible life she had but not knowing why she struggled.

I began this blog to try to find others like us, those without a diagnosis but who thought they were okay. Because we were. We were undignosed but okay.

Bridget at almost 4

Friends, family and readers have followed her journey over the past 10 years. Without this blog I would not have written, Paging Dr. House and a reader would not have responded with a lead. A Doctor in Georgia who two years later would diagnose Bridget with PACS1.

A diagnosis that gave us everything and also nothing. A new village of support as we continue to look for answers together. I have always said that I would not be where I am today without those who have been in our live since the beginning of Bridget’s journey and those who have come into it since she started charting her own course.

About a year ago, we made the very difficult decision to remove Bridget from our local public school. It seemed to go against everything I had been trying to do: make Bridget a part of our community. I never wanted her to be that person who only was seen in the once a year family photo. I wanted her to have friends, for the locals to “know” her and not find Bridget weird or lacking or not like them.

I thought we had it, then COVID hit. When the public schools reopened it became clear that the dynamic, the gap between Bridget and her same-aged peers had grown too far, too fast. It would have happened anyway, I firmly believe that. A high schooler might be tolerant, might truly enjoy a classmate who is mentally 10 years younger. Bridget had the best peers, and we noticed how much they cared for her.

Without them realizing it, Bridget had become the class pet.

That sounds derogatory, and it is not. I mean my own pup is spoiled more than either daughter (just ask Abby!). They truly care for Bridget, but it became so apparent that Bridget’s needs were more than the local school could provide. They are awesome with the typical IEP, but Bridget’s is more complex. It is hard for peers and teachers to find common interests with a child locked in time.

Like all decisions when it comes to Bridget it doesn’t seem like she gives me easy decisions. She keeps me on my toes for sure. As much as we struggled with the choice to transfer Bridget, it was the best decision we could have made.

Bridget is thriving. She has friends that are her chronological age, or slightly older, but have the same common interests. Hours of swinging on the swings. Sitting without talking. Playing house and with dolls. Being overly excited about cupcakes and pizza.

It was surreal, those first few months. We were enmeshed in our town’s school system. David and his siblings grew up in it. I graduated from it. I served it as a member of the school committee. We are the definitions of “townies”. To send our daughter every day on a van, by herself to a teacher we had never met. To not know her classmates.

I almost became a helicopter mom and drove up there to spy on her!

When she comes home in the afternoon, we get the same report as if she was at our local school: whatever she had for lunch.

What is different is that a Special Ed school has a different matrix. The class sizes are smaller, the funding is different. There is so much we do not know but so much more that we do.

We know Bridget is learning functional academics, they are focusing on her becoming a member of the community but understand that it is not just getting a job. We could get her a job in a restaurant where she would sit you and tell you that you were having pancakes…even if they were not on the menu. But what she has to learn is to stay on task, to learn numbers so she can assign tables. That the W on a door means the same thing as Woman or Girls bathroom room.

We had belief in Bridget when she was at the local school, and now they gave her the foundation to make her thrive at her new school.

Thank you to every therapist, teacher, para-professional who have worked to this moment and understood why we had to make the choice to transfer Bridget.

It gave her one more step towards independence.

And for that we are grateful.

2 thoughts on “A new journey

  1. Barb

    As always my friend, you put our thoughts into such beautiful words! We know that K. would not be were she is without the experiences and friends and teachers she had in the public system. But there comes a time when they just need more. And it is through that ‘more’ that we are giving our kids a chance at an active and successful adulthood.



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