Where did our baby go? How did she grow up so fast? We can't believe only 2 weeks until Elizabeth starts pre-school. Elizabeth will be attending pre-school 2 mornings a week in September at a center near our home. It has been a lot of work getting this far, integration continues to be challenge in our city and finding a center for Elizabeth was not an easy task. Elizabeth is such an easy going kid and so much fun that I found it quite hard to believe that many centers would not take her because she is not walking. After meeting with the regions supervisors, writing letters to the government, the mayor and the papers we found a spot for her. Elizabeth will be attending a school that has only 6-8 kids in her class, has appropriate acoustics for her hearing, has 45 minutes of gross motor (it is also a dance school). I don't want to get too excited until she has been to school and everything has been worked out but it seems like the perfect place for her.
Here was the letter that was published in the paper.
Two years ago our daughter Elizabeth surprised us by being born 3½ months early weighing only 1 lb 9 oz. As Elizabeth was born too early she has faced many challenges with her development. She has to work very hard to accomplish what comes naturally for other children. Elizabeth is a very happy and social child who loves being around other children, so enrolling her in a nursery school program seemed like the next step in Elizabeth’s development. Because Elizabeth has some developmental challenges she requires an integrated placement which can provide support for both her and her teachers in the school we have chosen.
Our search for a nursery school placement has been an upsetting journey. Visions of dropping off our daughter at a center in our neighborhood have been halted. In the search for a nursery school for our daughter I have been dumbfounded by the fact that in the year 2007 a child with special needs does not have a place in the area which she lives. We have contacted numerous schools and daycare centers to find a placement for our daughter and have been ignored repeatedly, told to call back when our daughter is more “age appropriate” and that she would be welcome but would need to stay in the baby room until she can walk. It is very upsetting to see how hard our daughter works and all that she has had to overcome and for her still not to be accepted by her own community.
We as Elizabeth’s parents are writing to ask all child care centers, child educators, government agencies and the community to accept and advocate for children with special needs. Children with special needs are not the only ones who benefit from integration, the community as a whole can learn from these precious children.