Ok momma bears…..let’s just throw it all out there. I want this to be a resource and jumping off point to share about what works for our kids. You know the ones…the ones with special needs. ❤
I know that each of us feel differently and very STRONGLY about what this should look like in our child’s world today. My own opinions vary depending on the circumstance.
I can’t say that I have a definitive stance that I can stand on without wavering. Each part of our lives looks different.
Can I give you a few examples?
First, up sports.
Some moms want their child to participate in the regular local sports activities, whether through the city or the school system. Moms want these organizations to be inclusive and accepting of their child and for their child to have the same opportunities as typical children.
Some moms want their child to participate in a special needs program of sorts…maybe something like Special Olympics or a separate program/sport just for children with special needs. In this type of program, our children could get specialized training and have a chance to shine.
Maybe both of those sound good to you. Maybe you want your child to participate with his peers but then also have access to something like Special Olympics.
In our lives, sports equals ballet right now for my little girls (both have Down syndrome).
We have an amazing local classical ballet program. The thought never entered my mind that my girls would not attend classes there. I don’t expect them to create a special needs class. I want to see my girls participate with their peers.
But I also know how this will need to play out. Physically, it will take them longer to achieve the objectives. We have decided that they will spend an extended time in each class. So this was their first year. Next year they will attend the same exact class instead of moving up with their typical peers.
Am I ok with this as a momma? Yep. I want to see them be successful. I think it could take them two, possibly three years to accomplish the goals for that particular level class.
What if a special needs class was offered? Hmmmmm…..I’m not sure. I’ve seen friends whose little ones attend a self-contained ballet class and absolutely love it.
I can see how both ways would have merit. In this case, we feel good about the decision we have made for our girls.
So how do you make sports work best for your family? What frustrates you? What positive experiences have you had? Is sports not an option for you at this point with your child who has special needs?
What about school?
My brother, who happens to have cerebral palsy, grew up in a self contained classroom in the local public school system.
Today many parents fight for inclusion and do not support a self-contained classroom. I can see the benefits of both.
In some locations, there are entire school dedicated to serving children with special needs.
We homeschool so I don’t feel like I can speak strongly either way on this topic. I do know we have to fight for what is best for our child on a case by case basis.
Many kids today, with the help of an aide or other accommodations, are thriving with their peers in a typical classroom setting.
What about you? Do you want your children in class with their peers or a more self-contained environment based on their needs? What frustrates you? What positive experiences have you had?
How about church?
Do you want your children to stay with their peers as they grow or do you want them to stay in a classroom more suited to their actual abilities?
Do you want your children to be included in all activities with their peers or do you want ministries to be labeled as “special needs” and serve our children in that manner?
In the beginning, with our youngest, I wanted her to be where she was safest. For us, this meant that she stayed in the nursery class longer than her peers. When they started sitting up, walking, running…I didn’t want her to get trampled.
At some point, I think around age two, it became important to me for her and her newly adopted sister, to be in a classroom with her peers. They struggled. They could not do all the things their classmates could do and it was beginning to show.
My desire for them at that point was to have a one-on-one aide (maybe two-on-one in our case) for their church classes. Someone to help them navigate the activities, change their diapers (most of their friends were learning to potty train) and help ensure their safety in the class environment.
What are your thoughts about navigating the church environment with your child with special needs? Do you want special programs just for them? Do you want them to instead be included consistently with their peers? Is church not an option for you because of your child with special needs? What frustrates you? What positive experiences have you had?
Navigating in the world as a parent is difficult. Having a child with special needs, adds to the number of decisions we make on a daily basis, doesn’t it? Who would have thought there would be so many decisions! Everyone has a different perspective and I can’t wait to hear from you! Please check for comment block below or scroll up top to leave a comment on this post!