Category Archives: Special education

On the job training

Before you become a parent you do a lot of reading and researching.  You read What to Expect and (the more honest) Girlfriend’s Guide.  You sign up for every blog, baby website and scour the Internet for a small glimpse to your highly anticipated new life.

You give birth to a healthy baby and rejoice.  You ask Jenn before making any rash decisions. Then you quote her when you say, Well Jenn said it was okay to not the wash baby clothes before you put them in the dresser. You choose to breast feed or bottle, whatever is the healthiest choice for your family. Continue reading

The games we play

All parents wonder when their child will accomplish a goal.  Parents whose child has a disability play a vicious game with themselves. The game is called, “Will my child ever….”

Will my child ever roll over?
Will my child ever stand up?
Will my child ever say my name?
Will my child ever speak?
Will my child ever walk?
Will my child ever say she loves me? Continue reading

This is Public Education

Dear US Congress and House of Representatives,

I am writing to you as a concerned parent of two children who currently benefit from public education.  I am very concerned with the vacancy of Education Secretary and the nominee who is seeking to fulfill the post.

I am sure Ms. DeVos is a wonderful woman. I do not believe she is qualified to make important decisions on the public school system. There are positions that you do not need experience in order to succeed, education is not one of those positions. It is imperative that the Education Secretary have a background in education. Although your child may not attend public school, I do not believe you would send them to be educated by a person who has no experience in shaping young minds.  Continue reading

When First Grade is more

I understand it has only been half a year. However I want to go on record (and brag) that the combination of Bridget’s special education teacher and (epic) first grade teacher is more than I could ever had hoped. The first grade teacher not only understands inclusion, she “gets” that Bridget isn’t the class pet there to give hugs but to be a part of her classroom. Though Bridget’s hugs are a hot commodity. Continue reading

For the uninitiated, this is what it looks like

I’m going to feel all lapsed-Catholic guilt for admitting this, but I sometimes despise this life. I hate that I don’t understand my own child. I despair that by my own actions I am the trigger to her crisis. I freaking loathe that this behavior doesn’t happen at school but only at home (see trigger comment).  I despise that I cannot calm her, I cannot reason with her, I cannot even give in to her because if I do this will not be a daily occurrence but an hourly one.

For the uninitiated, this is what a meltdown looks like. Continue reading

Forget the ABC’s

Bridget has been trying to learn her letters for about 3 years. We have struggled with her learning the letters in her name. We jumped with joy when she started saying: B, Bridget. We thought YES!! She is learning her letters.

We were wrong. She only knew the “B” and no matter how we tried we were not successful in her learning her letters. Continue reading

This is SPECIAL education

In September I was terrified of Bridget entering kindergarten and transitioning from the Spinnaker program to a new self-contained special education classroom. Even though I knew the special education teacher for years, leaving the sanctuary of Spinnaker was heart wrenching.

I knew I was over-reacting and worrying for nothing. However loud the brain is shouting, the heart beat of panic is louder. Six months later I am happy to report that not only are we surviving kindergarten, Bridget is thriving.  Continue reading

You have a diagnosis. Now what?

In February 2015 there were 19 confirmed cases of people who have PACS1 Syndrome. As more children have Exome sequencing, we have grown to 32 (known) families. In a year. Thanks to this blog, I am sometimes the first point of contact for the newly diagnosed. It is a role I cherish yet at times feel sad that I cannot provide the answers they may be looking for.

Welcome to the PACS1 family! Now what? Continue reading

When children are denied an education

There are 62 Million girls around the world who are not in school.  Think of that for a moment. In this country we take education as a right, something a lot of us take for granted. We believe that all should have access to preschool through high school.  There are many of us who believe college should be included in that matrix.  Yet world-wide there are 62 million girls who have no access to education. They are illiterate, uneducated and financially dependent on others. Education is a known factor in advancement yet is denied to young woman around the world. Sometimes through circumstance, most often by men who fear the change women challenge the world to undertake.

A girl without access to reading, writing and arithmetic is more likely to end up in an abusive relationship, motherhood before she is emotionally ready and in poverty.  Want to stop terrorism? Educate the poor, the disenfranchised and the children of the world. Let them understand that the world is more what they see out their window. Malala proved that one girl’s education can give voice to a movement of change. Once their minds are awoken, young women’s voices cannot be silenced. They become mothers who will impart the importance of education to their offspring.

With access to education, young women across the globe will affect change. This is not just women in underdeveloped countries, but here at home.  According to PEW Research only 63% of US high school women go on to secondary education. Some of the 37% decide not to go further because they go into trade, the military or for whatever reason decide not to go to college.  I am willing to bet that out of the 37% of high school girls do not go to college due to circumstance. Looking at colleges is not a financial undertaking most of us can afford nor have the credit rating to achieve. If your parent did not go to college, you are less likely to see the value a college education can be to your life.  Children of lower-income single-mothers are less likely to have the opportunities for higher education. A recent study showed that 100% of former welfare recipients that receive a four-year degree and 82% of welfare recipients who received a 2-year degree stopped relying on welfare support.

In 2013 our country had 10.9 million school age children living in poverty.  Unsurprisingly, 40% of US children living in poverty are unprepared for school.  A staggering 31% of US children without a high school diploma will continue to live in poverty. Compared to just 20 years ago, the rate of children living in poverty has increased and the gap of income inequality continues to grow. Their children will repeat the cycle, unless change is made and education becomes a priority.

Education breeds personal power. If we want to see more women CEOs, leaders and Heads of State we need to educate them. Not in our own backyard, but in every back yard. I do not want women to overtake men; I want women to work alongside them. Equal partners effecting real change to leave this world a better place then we found it.  Advances in science, economies, living conditions and education benefit all of society. We need to stand with the United Nation’s stance that education is a human right and a “driving force of human development”.

When our youth are educated homicides are decreased, crime is lessened, reduces infant mortality and teenage pregnancy. Famine and world hunger can be alleviated. Terrorism loses its footing when those being suppressed are educated on how to make their voices resonate across the lands.

The US Peace Corps is collaborating with USAID and the First Lady to work together in educating girls, one girl at a time, through grassroots efforts. Volunteers committed to teaching all children. They understand that with education comes change, and maybe peace.  It’s time to get the facts and be clear: education should be a fundamental right of every child. To learn more about the initiative Let Girls Learn please visit their website at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/letgirlslearn