Good News ! This Special Needs Mom has GOOD news!
Starting with biggest news, since April I have been worrying about Zoe's middle school placement and the affect it would have on her health. Specifically, the second story location of her special education contained classroom where she will likely be for the next 3 years. As I first wrote here, I was excited about Zoe staying at her local school for middle school. Until, I learned her classroom was accessible only by elevator. One by one, came a long list of concerns, Zoe's problem with dizziness due to the fact she is missing forty percent of her cerebellum, and using an elevator 4-5 times a day at minimum is problematic, Zoe's low vision issue and driving her power chair on a second story landing, the hard to access room location, Zoe's epilepsy and though rare, gagging issues, and finally in case of fire Zoe would have to wait on the second floor landing and be physically carried down by firefighters. These were the headline issues, there were more...like that fact that preventing physical stress and keeping Zoe healthy will help her live longer.
As my list of my worries grew, I consulted local advocating experts that, based on Zoe's legal rights, encouraged me to formally request the school move the classroom to one of the 5 or more, empty classrooms on the first floor. I had the unexpected opportunity to present this request directly to the school superintendent. The school refused. It got messy. Local advocating experts then suggested we hire an attorney. We did, and the school refused again via their attorneys. We worried and worried some more. I lost a lot of faith and sleep. We were most likely headed in the direction of a federal suit. I didn't talk about it or write about it, instead, I wrote this. Out of the blue, I received an email last week notifying me that the school district has decided to do the right thing, they are moving that classroom to a first floor location.Through this heartache of a process, I learned a lot about advocating, worrying, and emergency preparation plans, that I hope to share in more than a blog post to come.
Recently I blogged about why I write our stories and how powerful connection can be. Last week, I received news that I was chosen as a BlogHer 2013 Voice Of The Year.In essence, it acknowledges my written words have the power to touch many. The winning blog post was the story that started the journey detailed above, about finding the right placement for Zoe's middle school and the lesson I learned again.
For first time ever, I will be attending a blog event, BlogHer 2013 in Chicago this summer, meeting and learning with other bloggers, and attending the Voice Of The Year reception and community keynote. Listening to awesome bloggers reading their inspiring stories and soaking it all in. Dare I mention I haven't been away from the girls and hubby alone since uh.. 2005?
All the way around...feeling very blessed !