Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Retrospective

Ahh, another year of school draws to a close. It's been a very good year for both Ronnie and Ashley.

Ronnie did a 5 month job internship and his employers raved about the quality of his work. His grades this year have been fine, and he is very well liked and respected by his peers. His athletic abilities really make him a standout at school, and both disabled and non-disabled peers love to watch him play basketball. If I could change anything about school it would be to decrease the drama which seems to follow one girl around, a girl that Ronnie has always been convinced he madly loves. One of the many reasons I am looking forward to summer break is that this particular girl won't be as omnipresent in his life.

Ashley, as has always been the case in high school, has made great strides this year. From learning to sign her name, to participating in a vocational activity that she loves (gardening), to mastering a bit more Braille, she has risen to every challenge that has been presented to her. I never thought I would say these words, but every since starting high school, I look forward to the school year and I know Ashley does also. Having a champion (her teacher) has made all the difference for Ash, and she continues to learn and grow.

So what does the summer hold?

Ashley will attend ESY (Extended School Year) as she has in the past. Most years, that has not been a positive experience. I keep hoping that it will turn into doing the things we really need it do, i.e. helping Ashley maintain her skills, but it hasn't happened yet. Last year, she was injured so much during ESY services that I really had to pause and decide if her going again this year was something I wanted. I did agree because we put some more services in place that will bring some of her specialists to the summer setting, and I think that may help.

Ronnie will participate in his usual summer sports activities - a summer basketball league, lacrosse, and maybe softball. Most of those are in the evenings however which leaves his days free. And free days can easily turn into sitting in front of the video game console for hours on end. I really need to come up with something to fill his days, all the while encouraging more independence. He says he really wants to live in an apartment by himself, but unless he starts to manage his activities of daily living a little better, and that includes his health needs, I don't see that ever happening.

We will, of course, take a few short vacations as a family and will do some day trips around the state this summer. We are not a family that stays put for very long!

I hope your school year experiences were not too negative, but if they were, never give up, never stop hoping and believing that things can get better. If I had had the means to pull Ashley out of school when she was in the third grade, and believe me I really wanted to, she would have missed some of the best years of her life in high school. So keep fighting for what your child needs and deserves. It is exhausting, but worth every second!

No comments: