Some events happened this week that really affected me deeply.  Changes are happening that I can’t just sit back and watch. I can’t help voicing how I feel and advocating for kids like my Ellie. There are no private schools or preschools for kids like Ellie. We have such a shortage of places within our community that will welcome them with open arms and teach them within a group of their peers.  I am just extremely angry about the lack of choices for our children. In our community, if your child is typically developing there are decent choices of schools/preschools.  If your child has medical needs or they fit into one of their 13 categories there is a place for them within the public school system. But the problem is that there is a HUGE group of kids that falls within this gap.  These children have nowhere to go. If they can’t make it in a typical classroom, but are not severe enough to require full time services, then you are just plain out of luck.  We are in this position with Ellie right now.  She is technically old enough for kindergarten but is nowhere near ready academically or socially.  We are stuck in the gap.  There are so many people in this same boat. Let me tell you from personal experience, it is gut-wrenching when no school seems to want your child as a student. Your beautiful, amazing, bright and strong little girl is too much for them. That fact that my child is facing rejection from a school at the age of 4 is ridiculous. Are we just supposed to wait until the child goes to kindergarten for intervention?  Are we supposed to wait until they fail miserably before we help them? This just seems so backwards. It just makes my heart ache for these children and their families.  These kids NEED to be in the classroom full of typically developing kids. It is so disappointing that our community, like most in the U.S., is lacking diversity and inclusion programs, especially in preschools.

Diversity and inclusion are more than just boxes you check for your school. They are a place of learning for all involved. Inclusion teaches kindness, empathy and social skills in all children. A school in our community needs to step up and help.  There has to be a preschool willing to work with these kids and their families. I understand the financial aspect of inclusion.  It requires more staff and that means more money.  But, to this I say “so what?”  There are hundreds of grants available for educational institutions willing to work with children with special needs.  But first you have to be willing to try.  You have to be willing to take these kids because your love for them and their education out-weighs the work involved.

So as we begin a new week, I will begin my fight for Ellie to get into a program in our public schools.  This is an uphill battle, but I will never stop fighting for my child.  It just shouldn’t be this hard.


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