This has been another tough post to write, which is why I put off writing it. We lost a second beloved family dog on November 17th, this time to cancer. Sascha, our Australian shepherd, was diagnosed at the beginning of November. By the time she began showing symptoms the cancer had already spread throughout her body. The oncologist told me that chemo and radiation might prolong her life for a couple of weeks or months, but it would not cause her cancer to go into remission. Because she had been so loyal to me, I wanted to be loyal to her and not put her through that.
Instead, our vet prescribed medicines to help ease Sascha’s suffering. She died at home, with me sitting next to her and stroking her fur. I miss her so much and hope that she has reunited with Daisy 🙂
Tomorrow I give the first of two presentations that I have to give in order to graduate: tomorrow’s presentation is on Managing Multiple Generations in the Workplace, and Mondays’ presentation is convincing a small ballet company to implement a volunteer orientation and create a volunteer handbook. I am actually looking forward to both. Weird, I know, but I love public speaking. Especially when I know what I am talking about! If all goes well, I will end my academic career with a 3.9 GPA and a master’s degree in Administration…wish me luck!
Getting back to Little A…she is doing so well in therapy according to her therapists! She says words in their company that she never says in ours, and she is making great strides in her gross and fine motor skills. Her Dad and I are so very proud of her, and are hopeful that she’ll become more verbal at home. I do as her speech therapist suggests and attempt to make her use words for what she wants…but she is apparently more stubborn than we are, because we give in long before she even attempts to speak. God give us patience and strength to deal with this willful child~
At school, Little A’s teacher says that she is very social and loves to sing and dance. Sing? Our daughter? We’ve never heard her sing. Scream, yes. Sing? No. But I hope to, maybe during the Christmas holiday:-)
Some of you reading this might not know this, but it is recommended that children with Down Syndrome see a geneticist. Little A has seen one every year since her birth, except for this year. She was supposed to see her on December 10th, but I cancelled the appointment. I don’t mind taking her when she has other appointments in Fort Worth, but I didn’t want to drive the hour and ten minutes there for no other reason than for a geneticist and student researcher to take measurements of my child, play with her to evaluate her motor skills, and talk about how she compares to her DS peers. Honestly, I don’t really care.
I have been thinking a lot about her being in a classroom with only other special needs kids as classmates, and I’m thinking that I don’t want that for her next year. There are a couple of schools that I have been researching–one in Frisco and one in Dallas–that are inclusive. The Ashford Rise School of Dallas is located inside the Moody Family YMCA in Dallas and is approximately 40 minutes away from where we live. The school is for children with Down Syndrome, with 30% of the student body composed of “typical” kids. It is quite pricey at $1200 a month (and you pay for all 12 months, even though children don’t attend in June or July), and children of every age are required to attend full-time (Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 3pm). Pediatrics Plus, located in Frisco and where she currently receives OT and PT, offers a few options (full time, part-time, and half-time) with multiple price ranges. It is also less than fifteen minutes away, but has only been open since August and currently only has 35 students in the entire school.
For those of you have your children in something other than public school, how did you make that choice? How did you decide on which program to choose? I want Little A to be in the very best place for her, with teachers that will work with her and nurture her and not simply do the barest minimum to meet the special education standards of the public school system. If you are a special education teacher and are reading this right now, please comment your thoughts below. What should I be thinking of when considering schools for Little A? What questions should I ask? Thank you in advance for your insight, and as always thank you all for reading this post and following along on my Down syndrome journey~