Be careful whom you associate with.It is human to imitate the habits
of those with whom we interact...One of the best ways to elevateyour character is to find worthyrole models to emulate. ~Epictetus
This is the quote from a recent article in 'Disability is Natural' titled, 'Mixed Messages'.
I love this quote, because all along, from the moment I had the first premonition that Emma Sage would be born with Down syndrome till today, I knew that Disability was natural and that there is a normalcy of difference.
We are all different, but we are like the pieces of a huge puzzle.....we all fit in somewhere.
I opted out of Early Intervention, based on a few points, but the main point for me was that I did not want to subject my daughter to a system that was based on identifying her differences and trying to 'fix' them.
We then delayed preschool, trying to enroll her in the little local 'Happy Face Nursery' school, which said that would gladly take her, but that we needed to provide her with an aide [which she clearly does not need her own aide] but that meant that we had to go through the local public school, which refused to provide the aide because at that point they had a 'self-contained' preschool....again exactly what we did not want for our daughter. We did not want her isolated out and made to feel that she was so different that the only place she fit in was with others who were being isolated away from the general population.
The following year, the school offered a fully inclusive preschool program, so we sent Emma Sage. She adored school....she was happy, she had friends, she delighted in the routine of school.
Then we were told because she is five, she needed to be isolated again, to be judged, to have to go through battery of tests, just because she was born with an extra chromosome...just to attend school.
Typical five year olds just bring their birth certificate and required paperwork and they are welcomed and educated. If you are born with a genetic deviation, you must undergo a vast pile of tests...tests that label you, belittle you, isolate you....for what, so you can then be educated?
Rick was the one that said "No" we will not subject our daughter to that. We refused to consent to the IQ test. We did consent to any test that would help identify Emma Sage's strengths and weaknesses, to better decide her learning style, but as for a test that is basically a mute point and one that we believe will only be used negatively against our daughter, we said "NO" and then were slapped with a court appearance.
The school was going to force us to do something we firmly did not want to happen to our daughter. Rick's position was, "When every five year old is required to take an IQ test to enter Kindergarten to be educated, then we will consent"....and you know that is NOT going to happen.
So we pulled Emma Sage out of school. A school that is truly inclusive these days, a school filled with students that are compassionate and embraced my daughter with open arms. A school who has a principal who has fought very hard for inclusion and teachers who team up to co-teach to make our school truly an amazing place. So it is very sad that we were forced to either 'submit' or 'leave'. We don't have the time or money to fight this....so sadly, Emma Sage misses out on all the opportunities that I believe she would have loved at Valley View School.....and SADLY, the students and staff miss out on the essence of Emma Sage.
But there is a very positive point to this story. Emma Sage is going to be home schooled and will be completely involved in our local Home Schooling Group [which is large and amazing] and will participate in community activities and sports, so she will be able to maintain her friendships with her friends from preschool and will continue to make new friends as the years roll forward.
She will not be sent 'Mixed Message's by being pulled out of class [which by-the-way, we never have asked for ONE SERVICE from our school district,,,we have only asked for our daughter to be educated, so I don't understand why we were forced to submit our daughter to testing, when we haven't asked for one single service].....she will not be sent 'Mixed Messages' and for that we are so thankful this happened now.
We have a blog set-up to record our educational journey. You can find it here.