Thursday, October 11, 2012

Inclusion and the Dignity of Risk, Summer Lovin,' Part 2

Over the summer I put the 5” binder in the closet.  We celebrated Sophie’s 5th birthday on the 4th of July with our 2nd annual parade watching party.  (see 2011 party HERE) Friends joined us on a sweltering morning to enjoy a sangria fountain, a punch fountain for the kids, good old fashioned American patriotism, and enormous rented bounce house.  That afternoon Mark left on British Airways with a layover in London, (a treasonous way to celebrate Independence Day) on his way to teach a summer abroad course in Prague.  I joined him for 10 days where we also visited Budapest and found a diamond ring on the ground, seriously.  I arrived on our 11th wedding anniversary (Bastille Day) with a layover in Paris, which I thought was quite fitting.  The kids stayed home with Grandma Paula and soaked up her love. 
This summer we camped in the back yard, went to the beach, worked on potty training and slowly began prepping for the big K.  Sophie would ride the same bus to and from school as her big brother and all of the other kids in the neighborhood.  She would have a seat similar to a car seat but designed for a bus for her safety, but no bus aid would be present.  I talked with Alexander about being a good big brother, sitting with her and keeping her company.  When the Director of Transportation Services called to offer her an alternative bus with all of the other kids with disabilities, I thanked him and gently gave him his first lesson on inclusion.  I bought school supplies, including an enormous wheeled back pack with her initials.  I spoke with the principal a few times and was a reference for the PCA that Sophie had in preschool.  Miss A is an over qualified kind, wonderful gift. Sophie’s new school agreed with me because they hired her.  Knowing that Sophie would have Miss A as she joined the ranks of the big kids in elementary school was a source of strength and relief for us.
Our school year starts after Labor Day and goes through mid-June, which we really enjoy.  Summer stretched on as I tried to prepare my heart for letting go a little more.  The IEP, placement, and staff were lined up and it was time for me to allow her the dignity of taking a risk on inclusion.  This thrilled and scared me at the same time.
to be continued
October Down syndrome
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