Monday, May 17, 2010

Mommy Guilt...

I'll apologize right off if this is a rambling post but I have had lots of thoughts floating through my brain and figured writing them all down would help sort them out and if I did it here hopefully some really great blogging friends will weigh in with inspiring and insightful thoughts and all will be well with the world again.

We have been thinking, planning and dreaming about Riley's future in school.  Just in case you haven't picked up on this I'm a planner. I like to have things laid out with a nice plan.  The funny part is that I generally change plans a million times and am OK with that but I do like to have a plan to get started.  So back to planning for Riley.  We have spent the spring planning for next school year and after a lot of talking with teachers and therapists have decided on what we think is best for Riley.  We have decided to keep him in his current preschool class that is a self contained class. All 15 kiddos have some disability of some sort.  At the school he has at the teacher splits the  morning and afternoon and the after class is generally the higher functioned kids. Riley is in the afternoon class so there are good verbal role models only one really wild behavior issue.    In this years class Riley is the only kid with Down syndrome and is by far the youngest.  He started on his 3rd birthday and most of the kids  in his class are 4/5 year olds getting ready for kindergarten.  About 6 will be staying in the class for next year but the rest are moving on to kindergarten.  So as you can imagine Riley has to really work to keep up with the big kids (seriously bigger - he short compared to three year olds so he is really little in this class)  Riley is making amazing progress.  This afternoon when I met with his teacher she had wonderful things to say about Riley.  He is identifying the letters of his name and today sat and spelled his name out loud.  Granted he was quiet and didn't think the teacher could hear him but she is so on to him.  He is starting to do patterns.  When the teacher starts a basic pattern he will complete it.  He has mastered sorting by colors and she is starting to work on sorting by shapes and having the colors not match and that bugs him but he is making good progress with it. 

While I do love bragging about Riley's accomplishments that's not really where I was headed with this post.  I have been feeling this crazy feeling that I guess would be labeled guilt about choosing a self contained class over the integrated class that we had the option to place Riley in.  It seems that every blog that I'm reading and every article you see is all about how our kids should be integrated. Not only should they be but if it isn't an option then parents should be ready to fight for it and ensure that our kids are allowed into typical classes.   Did I really just turn down an opportunity for my kiddo to be in a typical preschool and by doing that did I let down all the other parents of kids with disabilities that have fought for me to be able to even have the choice?  Yikes that's a lot to think about. 

I had a meeting with Riley's teacher, PT and OT this afternoon.  I didn't have to include the speech therapist because we have an amazing speech therapist and are lucky enough that she not only works part time in the school district but we knew her in her real life and were able to get into her private practise.  Riley loves his Marie time!!!  Anyway, it was a great meeting and I was given a ton of positive feedback about Riley and some great ideas to work on this summer.  Riley has been thriving in the routine and structure of her class.  That is  the biggest reasons that we have decided to keep Riley in this class.  He is teacher has very high expectations for him and all of her kids.  She is such a mom to them and really is protective and demanding of her kiddos. So if Riley is thriving in his current environment why would we consider moving him?  Riley thrives with structure and consistent high expectations.  Would having typical role models really be worth it?  The biggest question that comes to me after I have typed all of this out is why in the  world am I doubting my judgement as Riley's mom and the decision that Justin and I have made for him.  Is it bad that Riley is thriving with other kids that need a little extra help too?

I wish there was a magical equation that would let us all know exactly the perfect setting for our kids and also magically fund it.  I hear about all of these children that are in typical classes with one on one aides to help them stay on track and wonder how that is possible with all of the budget cuts.  How do you make it work and get your school district to provide something special for your child in a time of great budget cuts. 

OK I'll stop rambling now and your reward for getting to the end of this is pictures of Riley and Ella on Mother's Day.  Kacey and her family join my mom and family to partake in a yummy Asian themed meal.  Turned out pretty stinkin good if I do say so myself.  The kids were "racing" down the hallway with Ella's Nana.  What a crack up these two love birds are.


  1. You know how I feel about Ella's class, she is in an intergrated class though really she is the only one with special needs. BUT what makes is SO great is her teacher and aide. They have huge expectations for Ella and make her do what the other kids are doing, pushing her every second of the day, and Ella continues to rise to the occation. That being said I think that the teacher is what makes the class. If Riley's teacher pushes him, which I know she does, then I think he is in the right place.

    No one knows your child better than you. And to top that off Riley will have another year after this coming school year, so you can make your descion all over again a year from now : )

    Back to the post before this.....supposedly no school district around here gives a one on one aide, UGH!

  2. This is Joyce, I believe it is what works best for you and your family. I have seen many situations over the years that have worked and not worked, with full inclusion and total segregation. Nothing is perfect. If you have a good situation, I would say stick with it at least for now, especially if you have a good relationship with the adults involved.

  3. You know what is best for your kiddo and who will challenge him. The goal is for him to be successful. I feel that about Elliot too. Why put him in a room where he will not have success just to say he is integrated? I feel I can't really care what other people are doing. Elliot will have his own success. Mommy guilt is a really bad thing. Worse than the catholic guilt!!

  4. Mary, I have been struggling with the same questions. I am thinking of fully integrating Adam into Montessori but am concerned about loosing what could be needed services. As a result I am considering a combined approach where Adam attends Montessori in the morning, bus transfers to Special Ed classroom within district for his more specialized services. But, he also handles transition well. I would not consider it otherwise. Anyway. Just feeling your pain. Would you mind emailing me with Rileys school name and the others you may have been considering. Maybe your research can help Adam. Possibly something I have not considered. I would be happy to share what I know. Take Care.

  5. As long as you are following your gut, it is the right decision. :)

  6. Hi Mary!

    Greetings from Malaysia again! Just want to say thank you for dropping by my blog on my SITS day. You can read the aftermath of my whole day SITting episode

    at this link:

    Thank you again and hope to see you back here sometime! :D

    Warmest Regards,
    Jenny aka I'm a full-time mummy

    Btw, your kids are so beautiful. God's wonderful creation! As for your decision, well, pray for God's will and His directions! Hope everything works out fine for you guys!

  7. Oh btw, thanks for following my blog. I'm here again to return the favor. Looking forward to reading more posts from you! :D


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