Wish me luck

I'm about to embark on something that scares me. Something I feel very ill-equipped to deal with.

School for Nava.

In so many aspects of raising Nava I feel so comforted by the experiences, insight and examples of other DS mamas--on blogs, on facebook forums...there's a ton of us and we've got each other's backs.

But on this, I feel alone (no doubt unnecessarily so but fear is seldom rational right?)

Nava doesn't have an IFSP (or whatever the acronym is for an IEP for under-3s). There is no government option here. Special needs is not a 'thing'; it's not visible. Lao schools don't take kids like Nava. Do preschools for the foreign community accept children with intellectual disabilities?

I'm about to find out.

Actually, I'm cheating a bit. There's one school that I know will take a child with Down syndrome because I know the kid and his parents and they told me. Shouldn't surprise you to hear that school is #1 on my list. It was even on my list when it was a French language school. We visited at an open day and they were lovely and offered to learn to sign so they could communicate. But Nava wasn't a walker and that plus a ton of other things made me think it would be better to wait still.

Because? Because simply, I fear rejection. We face so little prejudice (like none) against Nava. I love my little bubble of existence where I don't deal with jerk comments. Where I don't hear "not allowed". Where we are not rebuked. And I know the bubble has a finite life. It's just I want to have it for as long as I can and I deeply suspect finding a pre-school for Nava will be a gaurunteed way of bursting my bubble.

I'd love her to go to a montessori school. I suspect they'll say no. I roundaboutly inquired about the most well known one with parents, school board members, teachers and pretty much they all agreed they doubted they'd take Nava. Yes, I haven't actually come out and formally asked. Cause I like my bubble.

I started thinking about preschool almost a year ago as it came up in our playgroup. I managed to find reasons to not put her in school since then (many of which were good and valid reasons not excuses but the Bubble fear definitnely contributed to my reluctance.

But I resolved to suck it up now. Nava is walking confidently. She's starting to talk. She is intensely social. She needs to learn to play with others. She craves more experiences outside of our living room playroom. We are so lucky to have a full time nanny option so I've never dealt with daycare. We don't have to put her in school at all of course. But it feels like its time. If she doesn't like it we can drop it but I suspect she'll love it (eventually. I expect tears at first of course).

So this morning I called another Montessori school and asked if they have places. They said yes. I made an appointment to visit with Nava on Monday. I didn't tell them she has Down syndrome. I debated it but I know that it's mcuh better to meet Nava in person. If they meet her and say No then ok. But at least it will be a decision made after actually having met Nava and not a stereotype. 

And now I've gotta run. I'm off to the school I know will take a child with DS to meet the new management and see it's new location. I've been told its English speaking now too so one more reason to like it. We'll see.

I feel like I should see some other schools too and I've told people we will. But part of me wants to chicken out.

I like my bubble damnit.

Wish me luck. 


  1. Ah, not easy. Good luck!! I think school is just so much harder on us parents for so many reasons. And I remember that fear of rejection. We had Samantha in a county-run, public, special education preschool until she was 4, then we wanted to have her part-time in a typical preschool and part time in the SpEd preschool, just to get her ready for the upcoming Kindergarten. We also did not tell all of the typical preschools we made appointments with about Sammi having Ds until we were actually there speaking with them. See what their reaction was, face to face. It went much better than I'd thought it would, and we ended up with an incredible school. Bite the bullet - you've got it in you!! :-) Good luck - can't wait to hear how it goes!

  2. I feel for you, Kelley. We dropped out of EI altogether when Finn was 2, and so when he turned 3 and entered the realm of the school district, we felt very alone on many levels. In the end, we rejected the preschool placement they offered us for Finn, and decided to hold off preschool completely for another year, until he turned 4 - which he just recently did this summer. We found a "typical" preschool that is committed to inclusion and is excited to have him, and he'll be starting next month. But yeah, I totally understand that feeling of existing in a comfortable, safe bubble, and the fears and anxiety associated with stepping out of that bubble.

    Really wish you lots of luck!

  3. How exciting! I'm sure you'll find the perfect fit for her and her amazing abilities. My brother has special needs and inspired me to be a special education teacher. Of course, I chose to be a stay at home mom with student loans but that's another post ;)

    Thanks for your comments and I look forward to following more of your journey!

  4. Anonymous10.8.12

    Just saw this post... (we were away doing our South East UK greatest hits tour). How did it go? As an aside we loved Mosaique on the short time that we were there. The Montessori was good but - genuinely- the one S and G went to was not as good as Mos was. I think...just my two cents worth. I think that N will love school and really which school would not love N! (also we need to skype).


  5. Crossing my fingers, but I'm sure everything will be fine--and if it doesn't start out that way, you'll find a way to make it that way.

  6. Crossing my fingers, but I'm sure everything will be fine--and if it doesn't start out that way, you'll find a way to make it that way.


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