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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I Have A Dream...


I have dreams for my children.  Big dreams.  I think all parents do.  One of my biggest dreams has been finding Luke a school.  A school that can meet Luke exactly where he is at, instead of him having to adapt and conform.  While I agree that learning to adapt and be flexible are important life skills, I have desired and educational opportunity for my son that would embrace his learning differences and give him skills to succeed in the world. 

I think I have been looking for "that" school since Luke was exiting special education preschool.  The special education preschool was the last school setting that I felt really met Luke where he was and helped him.  Each and EVERY summer, I examine every different kind of school opportunity there is for Luke and hope and believe I make the right choice.  Because they never really "fit" him.  Some school situations have come close; however he is always the square peg trying to fit into the circle slot.  He isn't built for the "traditional" classroom, and school presents numerous challenges. 

Maybe by chance, or luck, or divine meeting I saw and ad for Bridges Middle School.  It was a Sunday in June, and I had packed up all 4 kids and drove to urgent care so Bella could be seen.  She had a cough that had lingered too long.  We were ALL sitting in the waiting room and Luke picked up a magazine to read.  He noticed a friend from his baseball team on the front.  While he was reading the front, I was reading the back.  It was an advertisement for Bridges Middle School.  I had never heard of this middle school before, and I made a mental note of the website.  www.bridgesms.org 

It must have been later in the week when I was able to have a brief quiet moment.  I looked up the school online, and what I found was the school setting I have dreamed of for Luke.  I read every word of that website more than once.  I cried as I read about the teachers, and programs and kids and where they had come from.  I sniffled as I read about their homework policy, plans to help teach these kiddos organizational skills.  I wiped my eyes as I recounted how they spent their days learning social skills and academic skills equally.  I saw how they used animals in their curriculum and classroom, and how they cared about and spent time with kiddos like Luke.  I was sold. 

AND... then I saw the price tag.  And.I.Sobbed.  $22,000 per year.  Why is everything good and wonderful and helpful so expensive?  How come it is out of touch for us?  I felt like a fool for even considering how we could pay for this experience.  But, I decided to apply for financial aid through the school.  They offer some tuition assistance.  I figured it was worth a try.  I have yet to hear back.  I knew I would always wonder what if?  I am choosing to not live life with regrets.  So I have stepped out in faith. 

Most people who I have told about Bridges Middle School think it is great school and wonderful idea, but too much money.  It is difficult to describe to them why it would be worth it.  As a special needs mama, you go through so many emotions (sometimes simultaneously).  You spend a lot of time trying to find the very best for your kiddos.  You know what is worth it and what is not.  You know what helps and what doesn't.  You know how the impact of exceptional help and therapy can transform you child.  How it can build confidence and provide help.  Bridges Middle School, could totally change Luke's life.  And I find myself hoping, and praying and pleading that somehow this school would be an option for Luke. I am hoping for a miracle. 

After seven years of searching, I have found a school that would embrace Luke and all his learning struggles and ADHD and glaucoma and Tourettes, and meet him where he is at.  I am daring to dream big for my son. 

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