Graduation Day

I simply couldn’t hold it together. I think I will go down in Midland history as ‘The Mom Who Cried The Most’.

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted, but mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Precipice

Friday is Graduation Day.

Friday, we veer off of a familiar path that we have come to be able to walk in the dark and in our sleep. One foot in front of the other ~ it has been safe, predictable and controlled. It supported us and Ethan in a way that made our lives hum.

14 years.

That is one well-worn road.

We have puzzle pieces to put together, but we don’t have the picture on the front of the box to work from. We need to invent, create and construct whatever it is that is going to build the minutes into hours, and hours into days, and days into meaning and substance.

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“Here goes…..
better throw my hand in………
wish me happy landing…….
all I gotta do is…………
JUMP!!!!”  ~ Aladdin

Picking a Support Coordination Agency

I was given this brochure back in October. I actually followed the suggestions. I wholeheartedly advise diligence with this task.

I also asked every, single person who already had a SCA who they were using and if they were happy with the service being provided. I asked every agency and program that I had contact with that serves people with developmental/intellectual disabilities who they felt was doing a great job. I asked them which agencies they loved, and if they would divulge, who they really did not like. This all went in The Notebook.

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The Prom – Midland Style

There is nothing like the Midland Prom.

Dennis and I visited Midland for the first time on the day of the prom many years ago. We heard the buzz in the hallways about eye shadow and dresses. It was hard to believe we would EVER have a kid going to the prom. I blinked, and….

Ethan LOVES to wear his suit. He loved his rented convertible Mustang. I loved seeing these young adults step out of limos, pose for pictures, pair up, smile and encourage their parents to leave. Go.

The parents.

The parents who were told their child might never walk or talk. The parents who were told their children would never recognize their faces. The parents who decided that they couldn’t NOT be parents and were willing to parent children who others deemed ‘too difficult’. The parents who have endured years of people staring and pointing. The parents who in the dark of night wondered how any of this was ever going to be ok.

Those parents – told to leave – by those kids.

Hallelujah.

It rained all afternoon. It drizzled and it was gray. But as the time came to gather in the parking lot at the restaurant and have their moment in the proverbial sun, that was exactly what they got.

sky

Why shouldn’t they.

DVRS – Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

If securing competitive employment is going to be challenging to someone due to reasons including, but not limited to, being blind or deaf, having an intellectual impairment or have difficulty learning tasks necessary to maintain employment, a person may be eligible for the services offered by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

‘Vocational rehabilitation services’ may include such things as job training and job sampling, education for specific employment situations and ongoing support in the form of job coaches and consultations. This is where DVRS comes in.

Our first contact with a representative with DVRS was at Ethan’s IEP meeting. A rep was contacted and invited by the social worker at Ethan’s school. You can request this or invite them yourself. I have found the office very responsive and helpful, so far.

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Timeline for 2016 Graduates

I opened my email a few days ago from Ethan’s school. It was a modified date for the last day of school.

THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL
THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL
THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL
THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL
THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL
THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL
THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL
THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL

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Comments & Conversations

After my first blog post, three people contacted me via text & phone regarding ‘the system’ and ‘the process’. These friends were not comfortable or ready to post details regarding people to question, who may not know as much as they let on, and warnings about agencies that do not function even closely to how their representatives maintain that they do. But they wanted to inform me.

Phooey. I expected as much.

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The Beginning of the End

We’ve been cruising on auto-pilot. Everything has been under control. I haven’t asked Dennis to come to an IEP meeting in years. This time it was different. This IEP meeting was the first in a long line of meetings that will punctuate Ethan’s last year of educational entitlement. Young adults with disabilities can attend public education through the age of 21. Ethan will turn 21 in June of this year.

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