Tuesday, April 23, 2013

when the mainstream classroom wasn't appropriate for my daughter {An update on Cami}

This time last year we were knee-deep in the trenches with a variety of struggles Cami was facing in almost every area of her life. Throughout her entire school year Cami struggled academically, socially, and emotionally (just to name a few!).    

We waded through each situation of each day with a feeling of helplessness. At night, we pillowed our heads in exhaustion from the amount of energy required in addressing and dealing with each struggle, not to mention the toll it was taking on our entire family.

Between her struggles, our research, extra appointments, and repeated, extended phone calls from her teachers it seemed to us that no end was in sight. We bathed each day in prayer, pleading for answers.
We were desperate for help.

Desperate for hope. 
Because at that time it seemed there were neither. 

One of our main concerns driving us to seek further answers was how far she was falling behind her fellow peers in school. We’d been under the impression that the gap between her and her schoolmates would begin to close more with each passing year, hopeful that it would.
Instead, that gap was widening.

She wasn’t making progress in any area.  She was at a standstill in her overall development, a fact further exacerbated by some new, emerging emotional and behavioral tendencies.  As a result, she had begun to take some steps backward.
It was clear to us that it wasn’t from lack of supports in place.  With the amount of her therapies totaling 21-22 hours of extra support, in addition to her having a one-to-one aide, there was no question in our minds that Cami was receiving excellent help.

We were puzzled.
The more frequently she displayed signs of exhaustion and anxiety, the more we realized that something needed to change.

But what?

Cami’s recent diagnosis provided another piece to the puzzle.  A puzzle we were desperately trying to piece together in order to understand the best method and approach through which to meet her unique needs. 

After spending an extended time voicing our concerns to the specialist and discussing Cami’s needs and strengths in detail, we finally felt that we had begun to receive an explanation behind much of her tendencies. This information helped us to better understand the importance of focusing on her strengths, confirming to us that Cami needed to be in a different educational setting.
We were certain that Cami would thrive in a more focused educational environment, one that could be tailored to her specific needs. It would need to be an environment that would enable her to learn necessary academic and social skills, but through instruction appropriate for her. It would need to be a place where she would be challenged to succeed and master skills, but not pushed or forced beyond her capabilities.  We took a step back to determine what environment would be the least restrictive for her learning needs.

It would have to be outside of the mainstream classroom.
At the beginning of this school year, Cami was placed in a Special Education Resource Room. She spends the majority of her school days in this room, but still participates with a general education third grade-level class, for non-academic subjects such as Music, Art, lunch, and (adapted) P.E.

The results have been incredible. 
Overall, Cami has made some significant strides in almost every area (many of which I plan to share in upcoming posts since I’d like to highlight each one individually, as well as the fact I don’t want to make this post too long!).

Did this magically fix every struggle she faces?
As much as I wish it did, it doesn’t.

There are still some aspects in her educational needs that we are concerned about, and we continue to pray for wisdom regarding those as well.
Does that mean from this point on she’ll accomplish every milestone we desire for her to meet?

As much as I wish it did, it doesn’t.
All we can do is provide the necessary support our daughter needs to take the next step—


And by God's grace we will.








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